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Partner Achievement Award Winners

VCAL Partnerships

Warrnambool City Council and South West Institute of TAFE

Sharna Westley

Sharna Westley, from
South West Institute of TAFE

Katie McKean

Katie McKean,
of Warrnambool City Council

Partnering with Warrnambool City Council, South West TAFE’s Young Parents VCAL (YPVCAL) class has successfully built an ongoing school holiday event called UnBOOLievable, which has grown significantly since its inception three years ago.

The event stemmed from an idea by the YPVCAL students to gain support and encourage involvement from other young parents in the region. The students approached a former South West TAFE staff member working as a Youth Development Planner at Warrnambool City Council to discuss working together. The planner assisted the students to create an application for National Youth Week funding to support the project. After many meetings where a range of ideas were thrown around between the students and Warrnambool City Council, the first UnBOOLievable event was conceived.

The annual event takes months of planning and features input from local businesses, marketing professionals, early childhood education teachers and a huge amount of direction and support from the YPVCAL partnership with the Warrnambool City Council.

This partnership continues to develop each year as the students build relationships with council staff. This relationship requires continued communication to facilitate pathways into local businesses and potential roles within local councils.

By promoting democratic and community values throughout the South West region, the partnership ensures YPVCAL students are committed to VCAL principles. Thestudents have expanded their reach and awareness of the program through many local services and council-owned businesses.

The three-day UnBOOLievable event runs across a variety of venues, providing a diverse range of activities. The Warrnambool City Council staff work closely with the YPVCAL students via regular meetings, delegating jobs and responsibilities, and supporting them through countless communications and by acting as a ‘runner’ during the week of the event. The event has grown from from 300 participants in 2017 to over 700 participants in April 2019.

This event would not be the success it is today without the steadfast partnership and relationship between the South West TAFE YPVCAL students and the staff at Warrnambool City Council. Multiple people have remarked on the extraordinary efforts it takes to pull together an event like this and how effortless this team of people make it look. The students have shown that, with a little encouragement and an exceptional partnership with the local council, they can achieve great things.

Workplace Learning

atEAST and Eastern Ranges School

Loretta Goldsmith

Loretta Goldsmith, from atEast

Karen Gieschen

Karen Gieschen,
from the Eastern Ranges School

The atEAST School Based Apprenticeship and Traineeship (SBAT) Program is a schoolbased program in Victoria offered to senior VCAL students. The vision is to provide a pathway where schools and industry work together to develop a skilled workforce and meet future industry employment needs.

The atEAST SBAT Program involves a successful partnership between a consortium of 11 secondary schools in the Eastern Region of Melbourne with registered training organisations, employers and the many students who participate in the program. A broad range of curriculum options are needed to meet the diverse needs of students, along with multiple pathways – something best achieved by like-minded organisations cooperating together.

Eastern Ranges School has had a very successful collaboration with atEAST and, in 2019, nine students with autism and intellectual disabilities completed SBATs in a wide range of industries including Food Processing, Warehousing, Individual Support – Disability and Retail.

The ways in which atEAST has supported the students and teachers are many and varied. The field officers are always available on the end of the phone or by email to answer questions. They organise and present information nights for parents and students interested in doing an SBAT and arrange interviews for incoming SBATs. Orientation days are then run for students, which enable the field officers to get to know the strengths and requirements of the students with additional needs. All of Eastern Ranges’ VCAL teachers also receive support from atEAST in the form of regular professional development and curriculum updates.

Once students begin their SBAT they receive a weekly visit from field officers at the school and each student is able to chat about their TAFE studies and work life, and discuss any issues affecting them. atEAST field officers also visit students at TAFE and in their workplace, and provide reports to the school on a regular bases.

With the support of atEAST, students at Eastern Ranges School have been able to achieve wonderful outcomes, completing Certificate II and III courses and successful work placements. Some students have also received offers of ongoing employment.