High Vis of the Week: Robbie Pitman

You may think you’ve met every Pitman in the solar system – but think again!

If you stroll the corridors of Swan Christian College and see a man with a healthy laugh, healthy smile and healthy beard, you’re probably thinking that its Mike Pitman, Principal of Ellenbrook Christian College, just popping in for a meeting.

However, if his beard isn’t grey, you’ll have stumbled upon his nephew, Robbie Pitman, the Trade Training Centre’s newest staff member.

You may also be familiar with current and former staffers Joel, Josh and Dave Pitman!

Robbie is only in his first fortnight at Swan’s Trade Centre, employed as a Design & Graphics Teacher teaching Year 11 and 12 students.

“It’s about teaching people to creatively problem solve and come up with solutions and ideas that can make life easier and better for others. It’s creative problem solving, really.”

“It’s drawings of design solutions, problem solving, visual literacy; you get the idea …”

With a completed degree in Fine Art from Curtin University and a postgraduate degree in teaching progressing well, some may see Robbie as quite the boffin! However, his relaxed demeanour might lead you to think he is “just another tradie.”

Robbie grew up in Leonora then completed his secondary years at Esperance Senior High School. After completing a carpentry apprenticeship, Robbie and his wife Tammy moved to Kununurra and worked for a non-government organisation (NGO) called ‘Life Without Barriers’.

Their job was not for the faint-hearted, taking care of young people (aged 10 to 17) who were in trouble with the law but didn’t have adults to keep them accountable with curfews and bail conditions. Their place of work was nicknamed “The Bail House.”

“I wanted a change from carpentry; we’d just gotten married, we wanted to do something different as a couple and go on an adventure.”

Returning to Perth, Robbie and Tammy have been attending Providence Church Midland, which meets in Maali Mia Theatre at Swan Christian College.

With three kids under three years old (1.5 months, 1.5 years, 2.5 years), Robbie and Tammy have plenty keeping them busy.

What makes a ‘tradie’ artistic?

“The art and design probably came from mum, always making things – curtains, sewing and such. Dad was a social worker.”

“As a tradesman, I always enjoyed working with the apprentices; watching them go from novices to peers was very rewarding. Being able to build their confidence and skills, I always enjoyed the teaching side of things.”

“Now I’m loving working in the Trade Training Centre. Being able to teach skills and build confidence, improve how the students treat people and how they deal with life and challenges.”

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