**IN THE NEWS** Youth Unemployment Crisis

Page 3, April 7

Wallan Secondary College connecting employers and and schools.

Mitchell Shire has been identified in the Hume region as one of 10 hot spots across Australia in need of urgent attention with a youth unemployment rate of 17.5%. Click on the link for more information.

** IN THE NEWS ** Our Kitchen Rules

Our Kitchen Rules ASSUMPTION College has taken vocational training in hospitality to another level for its students with the Marlhes Restaurant.

Hospitality students are trained in all facets of restaurant functions and by obtaining the relevant work authority certification during the course, such as Responsible Service of Alcohol and Food Handlers Certificate, are able to find work immediately at a variety of venues.
The student staff are courteous professional and more than capable of handling their roles thanks to their expert tutelage from Head Chef Nigel Engel, once of Australia’s most highly decorated chefs and local restaurant manager Peiter Siebel.

Chef Engel is a life member of the Australian Federation of Chefs, a life member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, an international association of professionals in Gastronomy from over 80 countries dedicated to fine dining and a member of Les Toques Blanches, a worldwide recognised association of executive chefs.

While the Marlhes Restaurant is at Assumption College, with 19 ACK Year 10, 11 and 12 students undertaking study, both tutors are enthusiastic in ensuring all students within the district are given the opportunity to undertake training there.

Wallan Secondary College also has five students participating in the program and both Chef Engel and Mr Siebel are hopeful other schools will also take advantage of the exceptional facilities avaiable for students interested in a career in hospitality.

“It has always been the outlook that the Marlhes would be a local hub for hospitality training and expand to include other schools in the district,” Mr Siebel said.
“Video conferencing facilities are in the works so that students can attend classes via remote access and this is hoped to be operational from next year.”
“We aim to give all students a broad range of knowledge in service, from fine dining service, to café service to buffets. We aim to prepare all the students for what the industry is really like,” Chef Engel said.
“It is not just for those students who wish to enter this profession , it is also trains students in skills they can use and be employed in during their further study of choice.
“Hospitality also teaches people to work sequentially, how to study, how to work as a team and handle pressure and deal with difficult customers and errors, all skills valuable in any workplace.”
All students work under strictly regulated conditions. Wear full chef uniforms in the kitchen, smart and precise front of house uniforms, follow food safety guidelines, including the storage of food and cleanliness of workspaces.
“I am also very strict on their work ethic. On a day the restaurant is open, work begins at 1pm. That means they must be here, dressed and ready to start work at 1pm, not here, but still to get dressed and having a chat. That wouldn’t happen in a real workplace and this is “real world teaching” and that is why it is successful. These students learn in a kitchen that is the same as a real commercial kitchen.
They know how to use the equipment, what the rules are and that is why they can start work at any restaurant once their training is complete,” Chef Engel said.
Students in Year 10, 11 and 12 can undertake Vocational Industry based training at the Marlhes Restaurant.

Front of house operations are covered in subjects VET 1 & 2, with an introduction to kitchen operations, and kitchen service and cooking is covered in VET 3 & 4.
Chef Engel and Mr Siebel have nothing but praise for their VET students, with Chef Engel describing his return to cooking after years away from the craft as “a passion that has been reborn thanks to the energy and commitment shown by his students.”

The Marlhes Restaurant is named after the region in France the Christian Brothers originated from. The restaurant is open every fortnight on a Wednesday evening, with bookings available on the Assumption College website via the Trybooking program.
Bookings are full for all evenings of operation in term 2. Keen diners are encouraged to get in early for Term 3 openings.

Article source: Newspaper House Tuesday 24th March 2015 

LGA Youth Service Forum (Wallan)

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On Tuesday March 24, 2015 Mitchell Shire Council’s Youth Services team hosted the first of YACVic’s four rural and regional Local Government Youth Services Forums in Wallan. The event was held at the Wallan Multi-Purpose Community Centre. The forum was facilitated by YACVic’s Victorian Rural Youth Service Initiative (VRYS) and featured:

  • Guest speaker John Kouvelas (Department of Health and Human Services) speaking on successful grant seeking in the Youth Sector and upcoming Youth grants.
  • Workshop: Local youth sector issues and partnership opportunities
  • Q&A panel: Showcasing local examples of best practice in youth engagement
    Networking opportunities.

The Central Ranges LLEN was proud to be part of the forum and felt the day was very informative and well received by all who attended.

Seymour Flexible Learning Centre – now taking enrolments!

Enrolments are now being taken for secondary aged students who would benefit from a flexible learning approach.This educational opportunity will support students from year 9 to 12 re-engage with learning in a supported environment with a modified timetable, to suit the individual young person. Join the Tour at 50 Tallarook Street, Seymour, on Tuesday on the 10th February at 5pm. For further details please call Don Gibbons on 0419 481 754.

2014 On Track Survey Results – Now Available

2014 On Track survey results now available

What is On Track?

On Track is a Victorian Government initiative which surveys school leavers who have left school in the last six months to find out if they are on track to a bright future.

On Track ensures school leavers are contacted within six months of leaving school to see if they are on a path to further education, training or employment. It also enables young people to seek further advice and assistance via a referral service if required to get back on track.

A range of reports are produced annually from On Track survey data. These include: Statewide reports Destinations of School Leavers – comprehensive analysis of destinations of Victorian students six months after they leave school. The 2014 report will be published in September. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/research/Pages/ontrackstatewide.aspx

Local level reports Year 12 Completers – destination results and VTAC (Victorian Tertiary Admis-sions Centre) tertiary applications and enrolments data for Year 12 completers in each Victorian school. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/research/Pages/ontrackcompleters.aspx

Local Government Area (LGA) Reports – destination pathways of Year 12 com-pleters and Early school leavers for each LGA in Victoria. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/research/Pages/localgovatoz.aspx

Learning and Employment Network (LLEN) Reports – destination pathways of Year 12 completers and Early School Leavers for each LLEN in Victoria. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/research/Pages/LLEN-Reports.aspx

If you have any queries or would like more information on On Track data, please email: [email protected]

Central Ranges LLEN – welcomes Labor party commitment to 4 years funding


The Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Networks, has welcomed the announcement by the Labor Party that it will continue to provide funding for the next four years, if it wins the state election in November.

The LLENs, which have existed since 2001, have been co-funded by the Victorian and federal governments from 2010 to 2014, but from next year, funding will be the responsibility of the Victorian government alone.

In 2014, the Federal Government funded LLENs $10 million and the Victorian government funded LLENs $2.3 Million, a total budget of $12.3 million.

The Labor party has committed to $32 million over 4 years to continue funding the LLEN network of 31 LLENs across Victoria.

“The Labor party funding announcement is particularly welcome after the latest jobless figures showing the unemployment rate for 15-19 year olds is at a 17 year high of 20 per cent,” said Mr Mike Grogan Chair of the LLEN Chair Network.

“This decision by the state Labor party secures the future of the LLENs in Victoria and will enable the LLENs to continue to assist younger Victorians into employment pathways, if Labor is elected at the upcoming state election” said Acting Chair of the State LLEN Network and Chief Executive Officer of Central Ranges LLEN, Mr Boyd Maplestone.

“The LLEN Network is encouraged by this decision and is also seeking support from the current government to commit to the long term future of LLENs”, Mr Maplestone said.

“Our work has proven vital in improving outcomes for young people by increasing education and job opportunities for young people, particularly those at risk of disengaging, or who have already disengaged from education and training and are not in meaningful employment” said Mr Maplestone.

In the last four years, the LLEN network has assisted more than 250,000 young Victorians who were at risk of disengaging, or who had already disengaged from school, training or work.

Every year, we set up and monitor more than 850 partnerships between schools, training organisations, employers and community agencies. Our ongoing work is so important to our communities.

2013 Australian Vocational Student Prize and Prime Minister’s Award for Skills Excellence in School

Congratulations to Assumption College past student Lauren Parkinson (Alumni 2013) on being awarded:

  1. VCAL School-based Apprentice/Trainee for 2013
  2. 2013 Australian Vocational Student Prize
  3. Prime Minister’s Award for Skills Excellence in School in the Victorian State category

The Australian Vocational Student Prize recognises the achievements of students who completed their senior secondary studies while undertaking vocational education and training in schools or an Australian school-based Apprenticeship.

The Prime Minister’s Award recognises the student’s determination and commitment in achieving outstanding outcomes while completing their qualification, along with their involvement in the community and their leadership qualities. These awards promote the benefits of vocational education and reflect the commitment of schools to making vocational learning a valuable and rewarding experience for students. The PM’s Award has been awarded to no more than 20 students annually since 2005. This really is a wonderful achievement for both the student and the school.


Picture: Mr Michael Kenny, Principal – Assumption College Kilmore, The Hon. Martin Dixon MP, Minister for Education and Miss Lauren Parkinson.

Lauren Parkinson is someone with a lot of experience providing care to others. She used the illness of a family member to inspire her – to undertake nursing and, in her words, to “bring dignity and respect to people” needing nursing. She trained in care and assistance for the elderly at the Seymour Memorial Hospital in Seymour, and later at BlueCross Willowmeade. “Lauren is a very empathetic carer who is passionate about delivering person-centered care to our residents” boasts BlueCross Willowmeade. It was there she picked up a Top 4 Trainee in Aged Care award at the industry annual awards ceremony in 2013. As she studied for her School Based Apprenticeship in Aged Care, Lauren was equally active on the sports field. She not only completed a Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance and a Certificate III in Aged Care, she also undertook a Certificate II in Sport and Recreation.Her teachers and nominator agree – Lauren is a remarkable young woman. As she starts out on her Bachelor of Nursing at RMIT in 2014, she will no doubt continue to inspire with the sensitivity and compassion she brings to those needing care.

2013 Australian Vocational Student Prize

Congratulations to Mikeala Bennetts (Alumni 2013) Assumption College for also being awarded an Australian Vocational Student Prize for 2013.  This award recognises the achievements of students who completed their senior secondary studies while undertaking vocational education and training in schools or an Australian school-based Apprenticeship.

NB: Original content of this article taken form Assumption College website

Local Government calls on Premier to sufficiently fund Local Learning and Employment Networks


Local governments across Victoria voted for the Municipal Association of Victoria “to call on the Premier of Victoria to commit sufficient funding for the 31 LLENs across Victoria to secure their programs into the future.”

Mayor, Cr Roger Jukes said that Macedon Ranges Shire Council worked closely with the Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Network to assist young people in the shire.

“Council has had a long-standing relationship with this network. It has been instrumental in helping us and local schools support young people in our shire into employment and training,” he said.

Murrindindi Shire Council Mayor Margaret Rae said “the Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Network (CRLLEN) is an established organisation and long term achiever in supporting young people in this region.

CRLLEN provides a critical link between the broader community, industry and young people, which is vital to assisting overall improvements of economic growth for the region and tackling the increasing youth unemployment rate.

LLEN’s are trusted local organisations across Victoria that provide transition and employment outcomes for young people. No other organisations are as uniquely positioned to undertake this work.”

  • LLENs use their knowledge of the region to influence strategic planning and broker partnerships among key stakeholders to support young people to remain engaged, or re-engage, in education or training as well as pathways to employment.  LLENs create and develop sustainable relationships, partnerships and broker initiatives with and across local education providers, industry and community.
  • LLENs make a difference in communities by enabling individuals and organisations to collaborate their ideas and strategies into beneficial partnerships. LLENs create strategic, sustainable partnerships that improve education and transition outcomes for young people, including increasing Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates.
  • LLENs have been in operation for over 13 years across the state, working with young people at risk of disengaging, or who have already disengaged, from education and training and are not in meaningful employment by focusing on increased participation, improving educational attainment and transitional outcomes as well as increasing career aspirations to build a generation of work ready young people.
  • LLENs also facilitate and support a range of initiatives, through partnerships and collaboration with and across stakeholders as well as providing local advice on statewide policy and program issues and serving as an active platform for joining government initiatives with local education and training systems.

Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Chair Doreen Power said “We thank the Councils for their support of the important work we do. Since the last state election the LLEN network across Victoria has assisted approximately 250,000 young people. Every year the LLEN network facilitates over 850 partnerships.

We call on Government to continue ongoing sustainable funding to the LLEN network across Victoria, $13 million annually index linked so we can continue this vital work. For every $1 invested by the State Government an additional $2 is leveraged by LLEN’s in the community.*”

The work of Central Ranges LLEN is fundamental in ensuring that our young people in Victorian regional and rural areas are not left behind and young people are building strong links with educational providers and local employers.

  • CRLLEN facilitated the $11.3 million Trade Training Centre partnership providing industry standard training opportunities to approximately 3,000 young people previously unavailable to local students.
  • CRLLEN facilitated the Lower Hume VET Cluster partnership for the past four years, increasing the Vocational Education and Training in school enrolments by 94% within the three year period 2009 to 2012.
  • CRLLEN facilitated the Murrindindi Training Needs Analysis reports in 2005 and 2013 providing detailed understanding of local industry training needs and trends across the Shire.
  • CRLLEN was a key partner in creating the Murrindindi Training Institute, a local partnership delivering post-school Vocational Training which is industry driven and supported.  This partnership is very important in light of 0% TAFE delivery in Murrindindi Shire, with no post-school TAFE options in the area (DEECD ACFE Data Pack 2011).
  • CRLLEN facilitated the Macedon Ranges Satellite VCAL program (alternative education) ten years ago in 2003, creating a partnership between schools and community organisations. This program has engaged 217 young people in a Senior Secondary Certificate over ten years, who were not engaged in school.
  • CRLLEN facilitated the Macedon Ranges Training Needs Analysis reports in 2014 providing detailed understanding of local industry training needs and trends across the Shire.  This project also included building the capacity of all six Neighbourhood Houses to provide coordinated local industry training opportunities.
  • CRLLEN facilitated a new Flexible Learning Options (alternative education) program at Kyneton Community Learning Centre, in partnership with local schools and community organisations, to engage the most vulnerable young people in community back into education and training and pathway into Satellite VCAL program.  In 2013, 40 young people enrolled in the program.
  • CRLLEN facilitated the Koorie Pathways Program from 2010-2013 engaging over 100 Indigenous students and families in careers, industry and cultural activities raising the aspiration and attainment of local Indigenous students.

For more information on Central Ranges LLEN initiatives look at our recent Annual Report.

*Victorian LLEN Network survey of LLENs (2014).

Central Ranges LLEN – Annual General Meeting 2014

The Central Ranges LLEN Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday 20th May at the Kilmore Racing Club, Kilmore.

The Central Ranges LLEN Chair, Doreen Power, presented a summation of activities throughout 2013 which Executive Officer, Boyd Maplestone elaborated on in his Annual Report.

Copies of the Annual Report and presentation can be found at Central Ranges LLEN Annual General Meeting 2014 page.

Kylie Lethbridge, Manager of Economic Development and Tourism with the Macedon Ranges Shire Council, gave a very informative overview on how she and her Team have established strategies to work collaboratively with the local community to develop, grow and sustain initiatives thus enabling opportunities for vibrant growth within the Shire.

The Annual Christine Cox Trailblazer Award was presented to Pauline Neil, Coordinator of Youth Development with the Macedon Ranges Shire for her outstanding leadership in analysing key local issues, specifically in the field of mental health prevention.

Acknowledgement was also given to fellow Award Nominees:

  • Jim Alsop Principal Broadford Secondary College (Educational Leadership),
  • Barry Van Weeghel Coordinator Satellite VCAL Kyneton Secondary College (promotion of Flexible Learning Options Programs) and
  • Greg Sharp Trainer in Building & Construction, Broadford Secondary College (support of Vocational & Educational Training)

Joe Anka, General Manager Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and Doreen Power, Director Clinical Services, Tweddle Child & Family Health Services were elected to the Central Ranges LLEN Board of Management for a two year term. For information on the Board click on our Central Ranges LLEN Board of Management page.

Proceedings finished with a light lunch.

Thank you to all the Central Ranges LLEN members and guests who attended the Meeting.  We also look forward to continued support from our Membership base in 2014.

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!