Navigating a pathway from school into employment can take many turns. This was very much the case for Horsham College student, Grace Christian.
Grace studied Cert II VET (Vocational Education and Training) Hairdressing at Federation University one day per week. She also undertook one day per week of on-the-job structured workplace learning (SWL) in a salon. After wondering if hairdressing was the career path she truly wanted, she tried another work placement in Community Services. At the end of year 11 Grace decided hairdressing was what she really wanted and enrolled in Certificate II Salon Assistant for her second year VET course.
Many young people do not have a set career path and change their mind many times before they eventually settle into a career. Some students aspire to complete year 12 and head to Uni to further study, some take a GAP year and work to save money or travel and some participate in a VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) course during their VCE years and do on the job training and gain industry experience to find their passion. This can then lead to apprenticeships, traineeships or employment.
In year 12 Grace commenced a work placement at Sirs and Hers Hair studio, which has now had a revamp and name change to George and Co. After only two weeks into her placement, an apprenticeship became available and Grace threw her hat in the ring. “I wanted to finish year 12 but I was really enjoying my time in the salon and my dad was really supportive of me leaving school for an apprenticeship”.
Owner of George and Co, Michelle Shanks, offered Grace a two-week full-time trial to ensure leaving school was the right decisions. “I didn’t want to stop Grace from completing year 12, I wanted her to make sure this was what she truly wanted”. “Grace is so mature for her age and she reminds me of myself. She has great work ethic and fits in with the team here at George and Co”. Grace was offered the position and is now employed full time as a first-year apprentice.
Reception duties, smiling and greeting the clients that come into the salon, learning the product range, washing hair, general cleaning duties and helping assist other stylists apply colour are all tasks Grace is learning while on the job. “I have a passion for creative colour, I would like to specialise in colour when I qualify. I really enjoy working with the staff here. They are so friendly and willing to share their knowledge with me”.
Grace will be required to attended trade school as part of her apprenticeship. There is still some discussion as to where that will be but Geelong is looking promising. When asked if there were any things she found challenging, Grace replied, “Being independent and doing it on my own. I’ve never had to stay away from home before, but it will be a great learning curve for me”.
What a great outcome for Grace, exploring opportunities offered through her VCAL Program at Horsham College to help shape a positive career path locally.