John Davies has had a remarkable career in mechanics and electronics engineering that’s taken him all over the world. Here, he shares his story.

As a 15-year-old starting out as a mechanic, John Davies could have never imagined just how exciting his career would be.

After finishing his apprenticeship with a Mercedes Benz dealership, he moved around to other dealerships and workshops to gain experience, then started his own business.

Five years later he studied electronic engineering at RMIT, then took a job designing warning systems for the Mitsubishi Magna.

From there, it was on to Mercedes-Benz Australia, where John became the technical trainer for Mercedes-Benz nationally.

“It was a great job,” says John. “I travelled the world with Mercedes-Benz learning about their products and teaching others about them, which was really interesting.”

After a stint with Ford as a powertrain control systems engineer on the Ford Ranger, John took a job with Moog, the organisation responsible for the components and systems used in launch vehicles and spacecraft, paving the way for space exploration.

There, he worked as a sales and applications engineer selling hydraulic motion control solutions to government agencies and the education sector. “They’re really high-tech and cutting edge, so it was very interesting work,” says John.

With such rich experience under his belt, John decided he wanted to become a teacher and joined the Chisholm team.

Nowadays he teaches Royal Australian Navy students about propulsion of ships and submarines, explaining how the ship’s engines and control systems work.

John’s classes usually consist of about 15 students ranging from 18 to 50 years of age. The students are from HMAS Cerberus and spend about six months with Chisholm learning about the mechanical aspects of their ship as part of their navy training program.

“I love the human interaction of teaching,” says John. “I like talking about the technical detail and I am thrilled when students are excited about what I’ve done and about where they can take the information I’ve given them into the future.”

What makes John such a great teacher is that he tries to simplify things for his students by building models to explain their application.

As an example, he recently made a crane for the propulsion course, integrating electronics and hydraulics into the machine. He’s also designing a ship steering system simulator for students to use as part of their training.

John’s students affectionately call him “Professor”, based on his extensive knowledge and ability to communicate complex technology to students in a way that is easy to understand.

“We pull models apart, we put them back together and we talk about where they’d most likely find these problems on their ships,” says John. “It’s about demonstrating the aspects of hydraulics in a real simulator-type fashion. These little tools/models really help get complicated concepts into the students’ heads at a simple level.”

John was nominated as Educator of the Year at the 2022 Chisholm Education Awards. His passion for his work is evident to all who know him.

“I like the fact that at Chisholm, I can be me,” says John. “That’s not often the case in a lot of workplaces – you have to conform to other people’s beliefs and styles. At Chisholm, you’re free just to be you – that’s really refreshing.”