Highlights from the VISTA Youth in VET Conference

CRLLEN attended VISTA’s Youth in VET Conference in Melbourne on Friday 21 March. VISTA is a not-for-profit association for VET professionals that aims to provide a forum for professional discussion on a range of policy, funding, pedagogical and research issues affecting the VET sector. This one-day conference focused on government strategies and academic research about keeping young people engaged in education and training. Speakers from government, not-for-profit and private sectors came together to discuss the complexities associated with youth engagement in VET and policy implications. Although the presentations focused on policy and research specific to Victoria, much of the discussion had national relevance. Here are some of the highlights from the conference.

The first speaker for the day was Daryl Sutton from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). Daryl presented issues related to VET policy for secondary schools, particularly for VET in Schools and School-Based Apprenticeships programs. VET in Schools is impacted by changes to stipulations around volume of learning requirements under the Australian Qualifications Framework. Students are allocated a certain amount of time during the school week to attend VET programs, and are required to attend classes for their VCE subjects throughout the rest of the week. Changes to volume of learning requirements will impact many students by altering their timetables and, in some instances, requiring them to attend VET courses outside of normal school hours in order to meet volume of learning requirements for their VET qualification.

VET in Schools is also impacted by the inclusion of ‘assessor conditions’ in the new training package design model. Wherever assessor conditions are stipulated in the Assessment Requirements document, this is auditable by the VET regulators. Many VET in Schools teachers delivering competency-based training lack industry currency because they spend the majority (if not all) of their time in teaching roles. Where the assessor conditions state that an assessor must have a given number of years of current industry experience, this will greatly impact secondary schools in relation to compliance. Potential solutions were discussed, such as releasing teachers from teaching duties into the industries they train in for a specified amount of time so that they can maintain the required amount of industry currency.

The second speaker for the day was David Murray from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. David presented on the Victorian Government’s Youth Engagement Strategy. Recent government research has found that, every year, approximately 25,000 students leave school before completing Year 12. Sadly, 10,000 of these students disengage from education completely. 7,000 move to the VET system; however, 6,000 of these students disengage from VET within 12 months. Recent school inclusion policies have failed to adequately re-engage students who have disengaged from the school system.

David discussed a new reform agenda that entails greater state accountability for keeping young people engaged in schooling. The agenda includes a School Performance Framework, Principal Performance and more stringent reporting to government on student attendance, retention, suspension, expulsion and academic progress. Part of this new reform agenda is a Services Connect program, which aims to connect schools with local community services to provide additional support to students at risk of disengagement. More about the new reform agenda will be announced shortly in a Victorian Government policy statement.

After morning tea, the discussion shifted from policy to research. The third speaker for the day was Louisa Ellum from BGK LLEN, a local learning and employment network specifically targeting the needs of children and young adults between 10 and 19 years of age. Louisa spoke about a research project undertaken by BGK LLEN on issues of connecting youth with schools, Learn Local services and RTOs. The project was conducted in two phases, with the first outlined in a report entitled A Different Journey. The findings of the second phase of the research have been encapsulated in a subsequent report, entitled The Next Journey.

The first report, A Different Journey, provides a comprehensive picture of the young people who are accessing education at Learn Local organisations across Southern Melbourne, as well as the variety of arrangements used to facilitate program delivery for these young people. The report found that there are systemic issues relating to youth disengagement from education and training, including:

  • disability and learning difficulties
  • mental health issues
  • alcohol and other drug dependency and substance abuse
  • family background – many disengaged young people are carers providing care to a parent with a disability, and/or they may be experiencing homelessness or violence at home.

The report also found three common levels of disengagement among young people, including:

  • behavioural – poor participation and attendance at school
  • emotional – poor sense of belonging and connectedness with the school community
  • cognitive – lack of student investment in their own learning, often due to not being able to find education purposeful.

The second phase of the research project was completed in early 2014. The Next Journey report reviews how student pathways and transition planning is managed in alternative and flexible learning organisations (such as Learn Locals, TAFEs and RTOs) across the Southern Melbourne Region. Such organisations deliver a diverse range of programs to hard-to-reach learners and play a critical role in supporting disengaged young people to re-engage with learning in a non-mainstream environment, positively impacting on their future pathways.

This report found that, although organisations track student progress throughout enrolment, there is a lack of follow-up with students once they complete their training to find out how what they are doing and whether they need further support and/or training. The report also found that there are a range of partnerships between training organisations and other support services such as Job Services Australia, Youth Connections and Disability Employment Services to provide integrated support to keep students engaged in learning. There was a discussion about a need for more funding in the sector to provide comprehensive follow-up and integrate support services.

The fourth speaker for the day was Joann Fildes from Mission Australia. Joann presented the findings of Mission Australia’s National Youth Survey 2013. The National Youth Survey investigates young people’s career and employment aspirations and the values and concerns that young people aged 15–19 have about their lives and futures.

The survey asks students what they plan to do after they finish schooling. The majority indicated that they want to go to university. The second most common response was to get a job, while the third was to travel or have a gap year. The fourth most common response was to go to TAFE, while the fifth most common response was to get an apprenticeship. The least common response was that students felt they had none of the aforementioned options available to them. The findings suggest that TAFE and apprenticeships may not be as highly valued by young people as other post-school destination options.

Some other interesting findings from the survey were that the most desired industry for future employment by young people was the medical and healthcare industry. More than half of the respondents stated that they had been involved in some form of volunteer work in the past 12 months, indicating that there is strong representation of young people in volunteering roles. Of the young people who are in current employment, 42% of respondents said they worked in retail, followed by 40% who stated that they worked in hospitality. Young people are, therefore, very well represented in these sectors, although they tend to work part-time in conjunction with studying.

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion led by practitioners from youth and indigenous services, focusing on practitioner experiences of implementing youth engagement strategies and government policies. There was plenty of healthy debate throughout the day on how the VET system can better engage young people and support their transition from school to work and university. A fantastic day for all!

Marlhes Restaurant at Assumption College – Open for bookings

Assumption College Kilmore LOGO

The Marlhes Restaurant at Assumption College is fully licensed training facility, run by VETis Hospitality students and overseen by renowned chef and trainer Mr Nigel Engel.

Open to the public, this provides students the experience of cooking and serving within an operational facility with ‘real’ customers and underpinning theory learnt in the classroom.

The restaurant is now open Wednesday fortnightly begining 5th March 2014 during Terms 1 & 2. Bookings close by 5pm on the Monday before the restaurant is opens.

To secure your booking please click here

Careers in the Racing & Breeding Industry – Racing Victoria & Darley promote opportunities

On Wednesday 27th November, thirteen people from local agencies and secondary schools came together for a whole day at Darley’s stud at Northwood Park to learn about the many varied career paths within the Racing and Breeding Industry.

Racing Victoria spoke about the great opportunities within the racing and breeding industry and the career promotional department within Racing Victoria who offer many different programs to schools along with providing their own work experience and apprentice jockey program.

Natalie Welsh – Victoria’s Learning & Development Manager for Darley said “As an organisation we have a vital role to play in raising awareness and lifting the profile of careers within the sport and associated industries”.”Racing is full of highly skilled workers are there are many opportunities for people and we want to get that message out to potential employees”.

People were given a presentation on the variety of roles in racing, heard first hand from industry local industry guest speaker Penny Reeve from Seymour Racing Club, listened to training provider NCEE – National Centre for Equine Education regarding pathways of courses and opportunities for training. They then had the chance to watch a full Darley stallion parade, tour of the facilities, a demonstration from the equine dentist and enjoy a delicious lunch in the Darley Homestead.

A highlight of the day was a visit with the 2000 Melbourne Cup winning horse, Brew where people had an opportunity to meet him and have a photo taken whilst enjoying the beautiful lawn garden and sunshine.

Seymour Telegraph – Darley Dec4 2013

Australian Vocational Student Prize – Nominations Open


The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Assistant Minister for Education announced the opening of the nomination period on 18 October 2013 and encouraged schools across Australia to nominate students for the Prize.

Schools are invited to nominate outstanding Year 12 students who have undertaken a Vocational Education and Training in Schools programme or an Australian School-based Apprenticeship as part of their senior secondary certificate. Students can be nominated by their school principal, teacher or a Vocational Education and Training Coordinator.

These prizes recognise the importance of Vocational Education and Training and School-Based Apprenticeships in helping young Australians build great careers in industries which are looking for highly-skilled employees.

Up to 500 students will be awarded $2000 and a certificate. The highest achieving AVSP winners are also eligible for the Prime Minister’s Award for Skills Excellence in School, with an additional $2000 for the winners.

Schools are invited to nominate up to two students if the school has fewer than 25 VET enrolments or up to four students if the school has 25 or more VET enrolments.More information on the eligibility criteria is available at www.education.gov.au/australian-vocational-student-prize.

Nominations are required to be submitted by 8:00 pm (AEDT) on 29 November 2013.

2012 Australian Vocational Student Prize – Recipients

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The Australian Vocational Student Prize (AVSP) recognises students who have demonstrated outstanding skills while completing vocational training in senior secondary years.

The Australian Vocational Student Prize gives national recognition to achievements in vocational training completed in secondary education, particularly those in senior secondary years.

The Australian Vocational Student Prize promotes the value of gaining vocational skills while at school. It acknowledges that vocational education prepares students for further training and employment.Five hundred prizes, of a certificate and $2000, are available nationally each year. The best of these  students will win the Prime Minister’s Award for Skills Excellence in School which carries a prize of an additional $2000.Each year schools are invited to nominate students who have chosen to do practical, vocational training while completing their senior secondary studies.Winning students from Central Ranges LLEN region are:

    • Brayden Harris – Assumption College Kilmore, KILMORE
    • Ellie Griffin – Assumption College Kilmore, KILMORE
    • Emily Martin – Assumption College Kilmore, KILMORE
    • Jessica Pendlebury – Assumption College Kilmore, KILMORE

Jessica Pendlebury – Assumption College Kilmore was also awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for 2012.

Well done to those who were awarded



A Day In My Shoes (ADIMS) – Work Experience Program


On Thursday 8th August, 18 students from Mitchell Shire with varying degrees of intellectual and physical disabilities participated in a one day quality work experience day in their chosen profession.

The work experience program “A Day In My Shoes” was organised by local Workplace Learning Coordinator – Jana Ash along with a working party to support the program and the Employers involved with providing the work experience for the day. A booklet was given to the students to write all their employers details in, log their activities for the day and also to provide them with some general information regarding employer expectations etc.

Each employer who hosted a work experience placement was given lots of information and support prior to the student arriving and was visited on the day by a member of the working party. Each student was given a information pack containing Disability Employment Service (DES) contact information in order for families to make contact to arrange future meetings. ALL students were provided with a certificate of attendance for their placement.

Special mention to the following businesses involved in the day:

Betta Electrical Seymour

CVGT Australia

Kilmore Trackside

Kilmore Travel & Cruise Centre

OKR 98.3FM

Mitchell Shire Council – Local Laws/ Library

Target Country Seymour

Kilmore Vet Clinic

Hotondo Homes

Kilmore Equine Clinic

McIvor Farm Foods

Kilmore Hospital – Caladenia Nursing Home

Video Busters

Coles Wallan

Seymour Telegraph

Araminta’s Tea Rooms

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GOTAFE Seymour VETis Taster Day 2013

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GOTAFE are pleased to announce a VETis Taster Day on Friday 23rd August 2013 from 9.30am – 12pm at the Seymour Campus in Wallis St, Seymour.

The following areas will be showcased with “rolling” interactive short workshops and info sessions for interested students:

·         Cabinetry

·         Sport & Recreation

·         Hairdressing

·         Hospitality

·         CISCO – which is now on offer at Seymour in 2014!

For more information please contact:

Jon Lee
Commercial Manager – Technical Education Centres – Shepparton & Wangaratta
School Liaison Coordinator
Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE
(m) 0481 007 889
(t) 03 5833 2903

Healthy Futures Careers Day – Community Services and Allied Health Information day

Recently the Macedon Ranges VET Cluster examined local data around trends for the future in employment within the region.  Macedon Ranges has an increasing ageing population and ageing workforce.  Skills shortages have been noted in both the health and community services areas.  Combined with this there has been decreasing numbers in both Allied Health and Community Services VETis enrolments in recent years.

Recent research has shown that rural secondary students generally have a less awareness of the broad range of health and community service careers available to them. Having contact with health and community services professionals prior to course selection is seen as a major influence on choosing health or community services as a career.  Furthermore establishing relationships between stakeholders has been shown to increase training, work experience, work placement and career opportunities for young people.

Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Network and CVGT Australia have had discussions with the Macedon Ranges Careers and Pathways, VET Cluster, registered training organisations and local health and community services organisations to develop strategies to increase young people awareness of careers across these industries.  The Macedon Ranges VET Cluster is discussing a number of options to promoting Health and Community Services as a great career pathway for students.  This has resulted in the development of an Allied Health and Community Services Information Day to be held on Tuesday 23rd July from 9.30am – 2.30pm at the Kyneton Community Learning Centre.

The day is for any Year’s 10 and 11 students who are interested in working in the health and/or community services industry.  There is a limit of 25 places available as we want to ensure there is good interaction and opportunity for a hands on approach.  The day will involve fun and practical activities, workshops and case studies and an opportunity for young people to interact with other young people interested in working in the area.

For more information or to register please contact Lisa Linton Macedon Ranges Partnership Broker. 

Healthy Futures Flyer 2013

Bendigo Transitions and Pathways – set the scene for the future

On Monday 24th of June 2013, representatives from Central Ranges LLEN and the Macedon Ranges VET Cluster attended the Bendigo Transitions and Pathways Forum at the Bendigo Schools Trade Training Centre.

Ivan Neville from the Labour Market and Research Branch of DEEWR presented on growth areas, the emergence of new jobs, the connection between education attainment  and employment outcomes, focusing on young people in Bendigo, Mount Alexander, Central Goldfields and Macedon Ranges.

David Walker, Project Director for the refurbishment of the Bendigo Hospital, spoke about the many employment opportunities that will be available for young people as part of the development.   The project focuses on increasing local apprenticeships in construction and will be due to be completed by 2016.

Brian Gould Economic Development Manager from City of Greater Bendigo also presented information on the Horizons Project.  The Horizons website through Council strategically links primary, secondary and tertiary institutions with business in the region and aims to address local skills shortages.

Presentations can be downloaded via the links below

Brian Gould – Bendigo Transitions and Pathway presentation

David Walker – Bendigo Transitions and Pathway presentation

Ivan Neville – Bendigo Transitions and Pathways Forum v4

Skills Gateway – Launched

Skills Gateway Launched

A new website has been launched that helps vocational students find the right training. The Victorian Skills Gateway makes it easier to find training that fits, with information about jobs and courses tailored to the needs of different users, including students, adult learners, careers practitioners, employers and parents.

The site features information about different jobs and industries to help users decide what career will most suit them and what training they need to achieve it. There is specific information on areas where there are skills shortages and on specialist occupations. The site focuses on Victorian-specific labour market information, including job prospects, average salaries and regions where specific occupations are typically found.

The Victorian Skills Gateway is easy to use, allowing users to start searching for an occupation, course or a training provider with just a keyword. It is smartphone friendly, and no app downloads are required.

The Victorian Skills Gateway is located at www.education.vic.gov.au/victorianskillsgateway