Tag Archives: Horsham

Head-start to a Career

Getting a head-start into a career is one of the benefits for students who undertake a Vocational Education and Training (VET) course while completing their secondary studies. VET courses are available to students in years 10–12 and can contribute to the student’s VCAL Certificate or VET Certificate.  Some courses also contribute to a VCE ATAR score. This means that students can complete their secondary schooling with a Certificate 1,2 or (sometimes 3) qualification and this is a great head-start into a career.

Students then have options to take on apprenticeships, traineeships, further study or go into the workforce, and in many cases, this qualification gives a student an advantage in securing a position in their chosen career.

Mackenzie Marra, from Horsham College, is a set on becoming a chef when he leaves school and is one of many young people wanting a career in the kitchen.  He is certainly giving himself the best possible start by completing VET Kitchen Operations as part of his senior schooling.  In this course, Mackenzie is learning skills that will be a valuable asset to any business in the hospitality industry.  With safe food-handling skills, and experience cooking in an industry-standard kitchen for large groups and organisations, Mackenzie will finish his course already having worked in a fast-paced, work environment.

Sarah Kennedy from Edenhope College knew before she started her VET Kitchen Operations course that she liked cooking.  Completing this course has just confirmed her love of it.  She always thought music would be her destiny, but has decided hospitality might be her career pathway with music on the side. Kitchen Operations teaches students a wide variety of skills and techniques.  Learning to cook all sorts of styles and to different dietary requirements is all part of the fun.  These life skills will not be wasted on anyone who decides to complete the course, in fact, Sarah would highly recommend completing VET Kitchen Operations regardless of your chosen vocation.  These skills will be useful in all aspects of your life.

Pictured: Sarah Kennedy, Edenhope College

Volunteering is Good for Your Health

A quick Google search can find numerous articles and scientific studies that indicate that volunteering is good for our health. This is more particularly so for people over the age of 50.

Some of the health benefits of volunteering include:

Lower Blood Pressure
A study from Carnegie Mellon University in the USA found that adults over 50 who volunteered regularly were less likely to have problems with high blood pressure than non-volunteers. One of the researchers concluded that volunteering might increase the physical activity in people who would otherwise be inactive and this, in turn, could reduce stress and improve heart health. 

Better Sleep
The Stony Brook University School of Medicine surveyed more than 4,500 Americans and found that volunteering had an impact on sleep. The survey indicated that volunteers have less trouble sleeping, less anxiety and better friendships and social networks.

Longer life
A study from the University of Michigan looked at the mortality rates of altruistic volunteers and found that those who volunteered regularly had a lower mortality rate than non-volunteers and those who volunteer for self-interest reasons.

Helpers High
Studies have shown that those who volunteer have a similar physical experience to people who exercise vigorously or meditate. This is because the body releases ‘feel-good’ endorphins during positive social contact with others. There was a ‘catch’ associated with achieving this ‘high’. To gain the benefits, the volunteers needed to be involved in direct contact with other people and must be altruistic, without a selfish motivator, like money, being involved.

Numerous articles suggest there are even more benefits to be gained from volunteering which contribute to better health and wellbeing.  Some of these include:

  • Increased levels of physical activity
  • Increased satisfaction and optimism
  • A greater sense of purpose
  • A more positive outlook on life
  • Increased social connection
  • Increased cognitive function
  • Decreased levels of depression and anxiety.

Some of these studies also pointed out that, the health benefits of volunteering were achieved by volunteering for 200 hours per year, (4 hours per week).
Imagine what a difference it would make in our world if everyone over 50 volunteered for 4 hours a week! Not only would our society benefit from the skills and experience being injected into our communities but the volunteers themselves would experience improved health, reducing the burden on our medical system.

People who volunteer do so for a number of reasons. The primary reason is often that they want to make a difference or help others, but it is also OK to gain some benefits for ourselves. Sometimes the satisfaction of knowing that we are helping someone provides sufficient benefit in itself. The additional benefits of volunteering then become an added bonus.

At Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN we have volunteering opportunities that have the potential to improve the health of our volunteers:

  • Our Reading Buddies program provides the opportunity for volunteers to listen to children read, on-on-one for an hour a day, one or more mornings a week in a local school.
  • Our MATES Mentoring Program matches adult volunteers with young people in local schools. Mentors catch up with their mentee for one hour a fortnight for a whole year. This small amount of time (just 24 hours over a whole year) can make an enormous difference in the life of a young person.

Whether you are over 50 or under, we would love to hear from you if you would like to make a difference in a young person’s life.

See more on our reading Buddies Page and our MATES Mentoring Page

Literacy Boost

Prize money received by Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN will go towards two literacy programs delivered across the Wimmera.  The LLEN was awarded the Community Group of the Year in the 2018 Regional Achievement and Community Awards.  This state-wide award came with $2000 prizemoney sponsored by the Bank of Melbourne.

The prize money will be targeted to buy more books and resources for the Let’s Read program and the Read to Me program. The Horsham branch of the Bank of Melbourne is also donating a series of children’s books for use in these valuable programs.  This support from the Bank of Melbourne will support the development and education of our region’s children.

Let’s Read is delivered by a partnership in each of the Hindmarsh, Horsham, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack shires.  The program delivers support, books, read-aloud DVDs and resources to families at four different age points.  Families receive the resources and support for their babies at 4 months, 12 months, 18 months and 3½ years from Maternal and Child Health Nurses during the child’s health check.

Let’s Read was developed by the Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and The Smith Family have partnered with Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN and local partners to deliver the program across the Wimmera.

The money will also be used to establish the Read to Me program across the Wimmera.  Read to Me was developed by Raising Literacy Australia and is currently delivered across South Australia.  Read to Me will provide children in out-of-home care with their own start-up library of 10 picture and board books. Children then receive an additional 3 books every 3 months to add to their collection up until they reach 6 years of age.

Investing in the early years has a profound impact on a child’s future and, through the Read to Me project, Raising Literacy Australia and Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN strive to use the power of stories and reading to help children in out-of-home care to reach their full potential.

Let’s Read and Read to Me are early years literacy programs aimed at promoting the importance of reading with young children from birth. Sharing stories, rhymes and songs daily to your children, from birth, establishes a strong language and literacy foundation which ensures that children are ready to learn when they start school.  Research has shown that reading regularly to your children increases their IQ.

We are fortunate to receive such strong support from our business community and local community organisations.  Kids who read succeed and the delivery of these important programs only occurs through the generous support we receive from our partners.

VET and SWL

VET and SWL – Hands-on training for our youth that helps keep our talented young people local. 

VET (Vocational Education and Training), provides accredited training in a range of industries including trades, retail, health, hospitality and services.  Schools in our region run a VET component to their curriculum which enables students to gain accredited training in an area of their interest while still at school.  This training is handson and industry specific.  The skills developed in a VET course can assist young people to find employment when they have completed their schooling.   

As the training is primarily hands-on, VET provides students with an alternative way of learning.  This type of learning is suited to many students and is why there is such success in this model, particularly for students who prefer learning in a practical environment. While there is a written component to VET studies, there is a strong emphasis on hands-on learning.  Students who are unsure of their future career can undergo a VET course in an area of interest with the hope that it will assist them to determine a pathway forward for the rest of their schooling.  

VET courses enable students to attain a certificate II or III in a particular field.  If a student goes on to gain an apprenticeship in the area they studied in VET, their VET certificate will, in most cases, contribute as credit towards some units in the apprenticeship training and therefore reduce the length of the apprenticeship.  

Part of the requirement for many of the VET courses is a Structured Workplace Learning, (SWL), placement to complement the course work.  This enables students to gain experience and develop skills in an actual workplace. Businesses and organisations host a young person within their workforce for a specified time. This can be either one day a week for up to 20 weeks or every day for a one-week block. This valuable experience enhances the students learning and provides them with unique reallife experience in the workforce.  In turn, the employer can use the process to seek prospective new apprentices or trainees and have them work in their team to assess if they are a good fit for their business.  In hosting a student, employers support skill development in their industry and assist a young person with their studies.  SWL is a valuable component of the VET training process and is a fantastic way for businesses to keep talented young people local. 

 

 

Pathways to Employment

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.

For any further information on VET courses offered or Structured Workplace Learning opportunities, contact Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN on 53810122

Talk About Lucky

Lauchlan McKean, Lucky to his mates, has had a cracking start to 2016 securing a full-time apprenticeship with Mick Cramer Smash Repairs.

Lauchlan enrolled in the VET in Schools Cert II Automotive program in 2015 through Skillinvest, as part of his VCAL qualification through Horsham College. During his work placement Lauchlan was able to demonstrate some of the basic skills he had learned in his VET course, a good attitude to work and an ability to follow instructions and work well with others. This resulted in Lauchlan successfully securing a school-based apprenticeship, leading to a full apprenticeship in 2016.

“I never pass up opportunities for work. I just tried to get into the work force a lot quicker because I couldn’t handle school. I found it really stressful, but at least here, we’re all free and get to do our own thing,” Lauchlan said.

“I’d never even thought about being a spray painter. I wanted to do automotive and work on light vehicles, Genni Smith from school said I should suss out my options and see what’s around.” Lauchlan said that within a couple of weeks, he loved it. “It’s hard work, but at the same time it’s part of the job, you’ve got to suck it up and do it and the guys around here make it enjoyable. Mick’s a really good boss, but you’ve got to get the job done right. He’s willing to teach you if you want to learn. You have to listen and take in what he’s saying, if you’re not going to show him that you want to listen then he’s just not going to bother trying to teach you. I’ve learnt a lot from Mick himself, by showing him that I’m listening, I’m dedicated and I want to learn.”

Mick loves having Lauchlan as part of his team “I personally believe youth are the future, therefore they must have a chance to create,’ Mick said. “School based apprenticeships are a great way for the employer to have a good look at the possible future employee and vice versa. It gives the student a chance to have a good look at the trade.”

Lauchlan said he had learnt a variety of skills “Even the way I sweep floors or wash cars, has all changed,” he said. “You surprise yourself with how much you learn. I got to spray paint my first couple of things the other week. I painted Mick’s bird aviary for him and did all the preparation. I painted the door of my first car recently. They’ve taught me how I should be standing, how far away I should be holding everything and the speeds and how loose my body should be. To pull off the perfect job, you have to get all of that perfect.”

“Attention to detail is really important to us, so if your car is wrecked, come to Mick Cramer’s and we’ll fix it for ya!”

Interested in finding out how your business can benefit from hosting a student on work placement? Email the Structured Workplace Learning Coordinator at Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN or call 5381 0122.