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Business knowledge driving student success

14 October 2020

David Baird was heading towards a career as an accountant before a change of focus took him back to university and on track for a lifetime in education.

Canning College’s Dean of Unidirect and Head of Business has now been teaching for more than 35 years, coupling his business and finance knowledge with a passion for improving student academic outcomes.

“I love the fact that we have such a wide range of students from many different backgrounds here at Canning College,” he said. “They’re good young people who are looking to get into universities and we provide an environment that helps them achieve their goals.”

2020_David BairdPictured above: David Baird with students in the Computing Centre. Photo: Canning College News

Mr Baird, who was born in Northern Ireland and moved to Australia as a child, completed a Bachelor of Commerce at Curtin University (then known as the Western Australian Institute of Technology) with the intention of becoming an accountant.

Mr Baird returned to university to complete a Diploma in Education and attended Nedlands’ Teachers College.

“I have enjoyed teaching ever since,” he said.

Mr Baird started his teaching career in Esperance, a town on the south coast of WA about 700km from Perth, and later taught at Hampton Senior High School before joining Canning College.

After assisting the head of the business department for many years, Mr Baird was appointed Dean of Unidirect in 2016.

As well as coordinating and overseeing Unidirect, which encompasses the Certificate IV in University Access Program and the Diploma of Commerce, Mr Baird continues to teach a number of subjects.


“It’s great for us that parents had such a good experience that they want their own children to come to us and to start their overseas study at the College." - David Baird

“The good thing about this area is that business offers you a wide variety of subject choices,” he said. “I teach Accounting, Business Law and Economics.”

Many of the students who successfully complete the Certificate IV in University Access Program remain with Canning to complete the Diploma of Commerce. This program leads students directly into year two of the Bachelor of Commerce degrees at either the University of Western Australia or Curtin University.

The successful completion of the Certificate IV, which is a 20-week program, can also take students directly into a range of undergraduate degrees at Western Australian universities.

Mr Baird said Canning had built a strong reputation for helping international students reach their chosen university destinations through the College’s various programs and with an emphasis on student support.

“We’re now teaching the children of students who studied with us many years ago, which is nice to see,” Mr Baird said.

“It’s great for us that parents had such a good experience that they want their own children to come to us and to start their overseas study at the College.

“It’s so important that children make the most of the experience to study in another country and to embrace the opportunity.”

As an avid sports fan, with a particular interest in cricket and Australian Rules Football, Mr Baird also appreciates the importance of encouraging students to balance study with recreation.

Canning College students have access to a range of additional services and facilities including a learning centre, library, recreation centre for badminton, basketball, table tennis and soccer, a gymnasium with weights and exercise machines, student lounge and cafeteria.