DVA supports veteran’s award-winning son

At the 2019 Illawarra Schools Excellence in VET Awards night in November, veteran Sean Robinson thought to himself the student who was about to win the School Based Apprentice Award sounded pretty impressive.

‘As they read out their achievements, I thought the winner’s done alright,’ Sean said. ‘Then I thought my son Mathew, the poor bugger, he’s missed out. But then they said his name!

‘My wife Louise and I were so proud to see him win after all of his hard work over the past two years at St Joseph’s Catholic High School in Albion Park.’

Sean joined the Army in 1986 and served 23 years in the infantry, with two deployments — one to Somalia in 1993 and another to East Timor in 1999.

‘When I retired from the military, I found out that my kids were eligible for support under DVA’s Veterans’ Children Education Schemes and we’ve been using it for the past 10 years,’ he said. ‘Because I was no longer working, the Schemes allowed my two kids to participate in everything they needed to, and to purchase equipment like laptops.

‘We’re really proud of the hard work that Mathew’s put into his apprenticeship while he was studying for his HSC. He was balancing work, study at TAFE, and high school, and because of his dedication, his school nominated him for the award.’

Mathew completed Year 12 last year, and is now working full-time as a second-year apprentice fitter and machinist for Prysmian Australia, a cable manufacturing business in Liverpool, Sydney.

‘Living in Wollongong and driving to Sydney every day can be hard, because I have to get up at 3.30am to start work at 6am,’ Mathew said. ‘But, it’s always something that I’ve wanted to do, because I like working with my hands, so I’m really loving it.’

His part-time TAFE studies over the past two years meant that Mathew entered the full-time workforce as a second-year apprentice.

‘I’d really recommend the Education Scheme to other veterans whose children are eligible, because it helped out with all the unexpected costs and the items they need for school,’ Sean said.

The Veterans’ Children Education Schemes support children of eligible veterans with education needs while they’re in primary, secondary and tertiary fulltime study.

To find out more about the eligibility criteria and the type of student support available, you can go to Education Schemes page of this website.

A young man holds up two certificates. He is flanked by an older man and woman.

Louise, Mathew and Sean Robinson.