Staff Profile

March 3, 2023  
Mr Phil McIlwraith - Head of TAS

Head of Technological and Applied Studies – Mr Phil McIlwraith


Tell us a little about your job?

I am a Design and Computing teacher. You can find me hanging out with other Design teachers in the TAS (Technological and Applied Studies) Department. Our building is located right next to the School tennis courts. Every year I teach students from Year 7 through to Year 12. Essentially we try to solve a problem by designing and making a product, system or environment.


How long have you worked at TIGS?

I have been at TIGS for 20 fun years. In that time all three of my daughters have either attended or still attend TIGS. For 10 years I was a Dean for students in Year 8 to Year 12. I now find students coming back to the School as parents with their own kids (luckily I am not that old where I have had to teach them yet! It is nice though catching up and saying hello to my past students).

In my time at the School I have been involved with the swim team and triathletes. There was a period of my career that I consider a blessing, when I was part of the School swim team which consisted of three Olympians (Jarrod Poort, David and Emma McKeon).


What is the best part of your day?

Designing and making things in the workshops is the best part of my days. It is a great feeling seeing students complete a project that they are proud of and take it home.


What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

The best advice I was given came from my high school principal and I am pretty sure my parents have also told me the same advice;  “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all”.

What’s your favorite book?

I am currently reading a manual on how to build and use a dovetail jig for the workshop. My favourite book … well I have two:

  1. My first book is an autobiography, Slaying the dragon by Michael Johnson. In this book Michael talks about how he overcome challenges to become an Olympic Champion for the 200m and 400m track events in athletics. The book is an easy read and I found I could relate to some of the stories in his journey to being the best in the world.


  1. Legacy by James Kerr is my other favourite book. I enjoyed reading how the All Blacks got together and made a plan to become better as a rugby team. From this book I have gathered strategies to help change the culture with the swim team that I coach and classes I teach.



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