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VCAL – Elaya's story

Elaya's story

Literacy and Numeracy Skills
Oral Communication Intermediate/Senior, Reading and Writing Intermediate/Senior, Numeracy Skills Intermediate/Senior

Personal Development Skills
Units 1 and 2 (Intermediate)
Units 1 and 2 (Senior)

Work Related Skills
Units 1 (Foundation)
Units 1 and 2 (Intermediate)
Units 1 and 2 (Senior)

VET Certificate III in Public Safety Unit 1

VCE VET Hospitality Units 1 to 4

Elaya received the 2018 VCAL Outstanding Achievement – Intermediate and 2019 VCAL Outstanding Achievement – Senior awards.

Why was VCAL the right pathway for you?

My goal was always to become a chef, so I chose to do the VCAL because it allowed me to finish my senior secondary studies and attain a certificate while working towards my future employment aspirations at the same time. VCAL also allowed me to study and continue being involved in the life of the college, such as school productions, sporting events and senior formal. I also enjoyed being school vice-captain and being a role model and voice for fellow students. I enjoyed the mix between study, practical hands-on learning and attending TAFE. It is a very supportive program, with the help of teachers, mentors and peers to guide you and give you the practical skills, knowledge and training to become a more confident person in your chosen career. As an apprentice female chef, I felt I needed the education and support in communication and in personal development to be able to cope effectively with the stresses of the hospitality industry.

How did you choose your VCAL studies?

VCAL has a flexible study plan with four subject strands: numeracy and literacy skills, industry specific skills, work related skills and personal development skills. Within these modules I was able to design self-directed projects around my interests in the hospitality industry. This kept me motivated and interested.

How has VCAL prepared you for the future?

VCAL is more than just a school program; it is an opportunity for students to take real steps to achieve their dreams. It teaches you to be a leader and a public speaker. The supportive environment has lifted my self-esteem and built my confidence so that I’m able to explore and take on challenges. VCAL has given me employment skills through the many volunteering and community projects I have been involved in. By working within team projects and through practical experiences, I have been able to gain leadership qualities.

What would you tell future students who are considering a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship?

You quickly master the art of time management when you’re juggling the responsibilities of school, work and TAFE. I really enjoyed the hands-on approach to learning and all the community-based projects we did throughout the year. It gives you direct access to industry, so you can use this time to network and form relationships with future employers and explore all opportunities. I feel I have a better understanding of my industry and my options for the future. It is a rewarding program for students and a great start to building towards a great career.

As a school vice-captain and VCAL Dux you have been recognised for your leadership. Has doing VCAL helped you towards these achievements?

My VCAL teachers at school encouraged me to apply for the role of school vice-captain and I was surprised but honoured to be given the role. To be a leader, your actions need to inspire others to be the best person they can be. Being a part of the VCAL program and working in a team on community projects, I have come to recognise that everyone has a talent, and given the opportunity to be involved and motivated, we can all achieve great things. Teamwork was a way I could demonstrate leadership skills (such as time management, decision-making and communicating with people) that I had gained throughout the program.

What are your top study tips?

Juggling work, TAFE and school studies requires a great deal of motivation and commitment to keep on top of it all. It’s also important to balance work and study with some free time. These are my study tips:

  • Prioritise your assignments to due dates.
  • Organise your study notes/assignments. I used a different folder for each assignment I was working on.
  • Set achievable goals each week and don’t leave things to the last minute.
  • Utilise all available resources: teachers, peers and work colleagues for their knowledge and experience.
  • Balance life, study and work to keep fresh and focused.
  • Choose assignments you love.
  • Practise at home or work. The more you practise the better you become.
  • Be positive and use your individual strengths. Your attitude has a real impact on how well you do. Don’t compare yourself to others, just keep improving on your best and believe in yourself.