More than 20 years ago, Adrian Gotts finished high school in Australia and started on his welding career path by taking an apprenticeship.
Then, his training was interrupted when he started caring for a relative who had dementia. And that led him down a very different career path in disability and senior care, in which he has been employed for the last 15 years. He has cared for people with dementia, autism, and schizophrenia, and worked in a hospice care unit.
When the mother of Adrian’s daughter decided to move back to Wisconsin from Australia, Adrian followed in order to be part of his daughter’s life as she grew up. And, he was in fact, a stay-at-home dad before his daughter started school.
After that, Adrian began working in Wisconsin in a facility serving people with disabilities. An outgoing and compassionate person, Adrian has found his career as a caregiver to be rewarding in that he knows he is making a positive difference in people’s lives by helping to alleviate their challenges and suffering.
Nonetheless, over the years, Adrian has missed building things. He had a workshop and tool shed at home in Australia, which he had to leave behind. So when he learned recently that there is a high demand for welders in Wisconsin for jobs that pay well, he decided to take the opportunity.
The first step for Adrian was going back to school, starting in December 2013. He lives in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where Western Technical College is located, so that was a natural choice. Adrian took advantage of the opportunity to earn credit for previous work/life learning. He was awarded credit for several classes when he demonstrated that he had already mastered the required skills. This allowed him to save time and resources while moving his career forward in the welding field. “They really go the extra step for their students,” Adrian said of the faculty and staff at Western, whose flexibility he has really appreciated. They have also allowed him to use their facilities outside of class meetings to practice his welding skills.
Adrian has continued his full-time job as a caregiver while taking classes at Western. He attended school part time during the evening to obtain the Basic Welding short term technical diploma. The Basic Welding pathway is fully embedded in the Welding program and the Manufacturing Systems Maintenance Technician (MSMT) program. Adrian choose to return to Western full-time from January through March 2015, in order to complete the Welding Technical Diploma program in the spring, and be able to start a new career that much sooner.
Looking at that next step, Adrian said he thrives on variety and hopes to find a position that offers him diverse projects on which he can use his problem-solving skills.