Matt Purdie

For Matt Purdie, 2019 was the year his world was changed forever.

The mature age student from TAFE Gippsland’s Yallourn campus was involved in a bike accident that, tragically, left him a paraplegic.

Matt’s apprenticeship studies were put on hold while he recovered from his ordeal and undertook important rehabilitation.

But a partnership between TAFE Gippsland and local suppliers has reenergised Matt’s life, and his ambitions of using his new found TAFE welding skills are alive and well thanks to a generous donation of equipment to the Drouin local.

Program Manager, Engineering & Electrotechnology, Paul Teychenne, said the community spirit to get Matt motivated after the accident was strong, and he paid tribute to TAFE partners for playing a key role.

“We felt we needed to do something special for Matt, and so our partners in The COG Industrial Supplies, ESAB / CIGWELD, Milwaukee, Elliott Safety, Talarc, Ferntree Gulley Bolts, Speedglas and Longriders CMC, were delighted to donate a High Frequency Welder, a welding helmet and a number of trade consumables for Matt,” Paul said.

“We presented the gear to him in October and he was obviously very emotional and so grateful.”

Paul said the equipment donated to Matt showed an amazing commitment by the local business community assisted by TAFE Gippsland staff.

“We would like to thank The COG Industrial Supplies, ESAB / CIGWELD, Elliott Safety, Talarc, Ferntree Gulley Bolts, Milwaukee, Speedglas and Longriders CMC, for their amazing contribution to Matt’s new life and we are all really pleased we were able to help enrich his life after such a terrible accident,” Paul said.

“It means Matt can get busy fabricating and welding and to be part of the combined team effort in making this happen is just a great outcome for Matt and his family.”