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Partner Achievement Award Winners 2015

VCAL Partnerships

Vietnam Veterans Association of Victoria, Education Team and Alkira Secondary College

L-R: Alkira Secondary College VCAL teacher Nicole Scott,
Vietnam Veteran ‘s Association,
Education Team representative Brendan Kincade,
VCAA Chair Chris Wardlaw
and Alkira Secondary College VCAL teacher Leanne Venables

In 2015, Alkira Secondary College Senior VCAL students worked extensively with the Vietnam Veterans Association of Victoria, Education Team as a part of an integrated Literacy, Work Related Skills and Personal Development Skills program. This VCAL partnership built a Memorial Garden, organised excursions to the Shrine of Remembrance and Phillip Island, and created scripts to record films of the Vietnam veterans in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

Students planned, budgeted for and organised the building of the Memorial Garden. They selected building materials, devoted time to the building of the garden and invited the veterans to the opening. Students also organised, designed and rehearsed the program for the opening ceremony.

The ‘When We Remember’ film project involved making films that record the lives of the Vietnam veterans who worked with the VCAL students, and that honour the veteran’s contribution in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. The project depicted a history of each veteran, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations. It also served to create ongoing relationships between the older and younger generations, a highlight for many of the Senior VCAL students.

The making of the films encompassed all VCAL strands, including preparing questions and a storyboard, and organising excursions to the Shrine of Remembrance and the National Vietnam Veterans Museum in Phillip Island, where the veterans were filmed. Students organised the budget, booked the bus, arranged morning tea, luncheon and activities, and completed all the required paperwork.

Students edited the films, which were enhanced with sub-titles, music and photographs of artefacts brought in by veterans. Later, students organised film viewings for the veterans, who each received a copy of their own film and a thank-you card.

The making and presenting of the films and the opening of the Memorial Garden are a testament to the magnitude of the relationship between the Senior VCAL students at Alkira Secondary College and the Vietnam veterans who worked with, supported and encouraged them on this productive and highly successful journey.


VCAL Promotion

Samaritan House, Geelong and Sacred Heart College, Geelong

L-R: Sacred Heart College Geelong VCAL Coordinator Richie McCann,
Samaritan House Coordinator Josephine Barnes,
VCAA Chair Chris Wardlaw
and Sacred Heart College Geelong VCAL teacher Stephanie Ellis

The Program Coordinator of Samaritan House in Geelong, which provides accommodation for homeless men, was approached by Sacred Heart College to do a presentation to the Senior VCAL students. Inspired by this talk, the students sought ways to assist. Over time, they worked on a number of projects to support Samaritan House.

The first project was a fundraising dinner organised by the students. A keynote speaker from Samaritan House presented in front of 70 guests from the broader Sacred Heart Community to help raise awareness about homelessness and support the students in their project goals.

The second project was a homelessness awareness sleep-out at Sacred Heart College, inspiring students to help even more. From this the students did a fundraising car wash and a men’s toiletry drive, with all proceeds going towards Samaritan House.

Although the Senior VCAL students had by then achieved all Personal Development Skills outcomes, they wanted to do more to support the cause. They did baking sessions to stock the Samaritan House freezers and help with dinners for the men. Some students volunteered to take the food out to Samaritan House. The Geelong Advertiser  was there to interview them, take photos and publicly recognise the hard work the students had done and the value of the VCAL program.

A lasting bond has formed between the VCAL students and staff at Sacred Heart College and Samaritan House. The students were inspired to meet and exceed their VCAL goals. The current Intermediate students are very keen to keep this partnership going and strengthen it further.


VCAL Workplace Learning

Café the PreVue, The Centre for Continuing Education and Wangaratta District Specialist School

L-R: Centre for Continuing Education representative Shane Crispin,
Café the PreVue manager Alison Alexander,
VCAA Chair Chris Wardlaw
and Wangaratta District Specialist School
VCAL teacher Rosemarie O’Brien

The James’ Place pop-up restaurant program is an innovative training and skills transfer program developed in partnership between Café the PreVue, The Centre for Continuing Education in Wangaratta, and the VCAL teaching team at Wangaratta District Specialist School.

The partnership enabled VCAL students to design, prepare and deliver a unique restaurant experience, James’ Place, for the local community at a reasonable price. While the program aims to be self-funding, it has attracted the support of numerous organisations and businesses that see it as an opportunity for vulnerable students to enter the mainstream workforce.

Students involved in this program have been able to log more than 60 hours of Structured Workplace Learning. The workplace learning includes industry guest speakers and visits to a variety of kitchens and restaurants. During the industry visits, students engaged with hospitality experts in the Wangaratta region. Students were also treated to a four-star dining experience to broaden their understanding and knowledge of fine dining.

Benefits to student learning include:

  • teamwork and cooperation, where everyone is listened to and all input is valued for the good of the team
  • work-related skills and hospitality experience, where students (mentored by industry members) have interacted with various stakeholders during the year to ensure that everything is ready for the five restaurant events
  • communication skills, both written and oral, in the development of Vision Statement, Code of Conduct, a James’ Place marketing package, and ongoing interaction with the patrons
  • digital communication including photos and the use of social media contacts for two Facebook pages
  • personal development skills, where students develop an understanding of how committing to a project, and following it through, dramatically increases their sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

It would be impossible to develop and run a program of this magnitude without the vision, generosity, enthusiasm and commitment of such a strong three-way partnership.