TAFE apprentices’ community projects


Combined forces sees conservation win


TAFE students have joined forces with a local environmental group, resulting in multiple benefits, including the removal of thousands of invasive weeds and the development of positive, ongoing relationships.

Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR) united with Gordon Conservation and Land Management students recently to remove Sallow Wattle and Boneseed from Anglesea’s outskirts.

The day saw strong relationships formed between the two groups, leading many students to continue to volunteer their time with ANGAIR outside of their studies.

The students, inspired by their experience, have been participating in local working bees and assisting with the propagation of indigenous plants.

ANGAIR Membership Secretary Janet Stephens said students developed a great rapport with the volunteers, proving age is no barrier when it comes to conservation.

“They were terrific – not only were we able to get a lot of weeding done, but we were also able to pass on our knowledge and experience for the younger generation to take on board,” she said.

Gordon Course Coordinator Amanda May said the day was a huge success, with both parties enjoying the benefits of the partnership.

“ANGAIR has benefited from the injection of youthful energy, enthusiasm and muscle.

“In turn, students have learnt a great deal about weed control, working with volunteers, and planning and running a community event,” Ms May said.

In an additional project, Gordon students have also targeted a Bluebell Creeper weed infestation on private properties within Aireys Inlet.

Gordon students Kate Skinner and Rachael Beecham prepared site assessment reports for two Anglesea sites and will now develop a management plan for these selected sites.

“Large amounts of the creeper were removed in June, hopefully protecting rare Orchid plants in the future.

“The beautiful orchids were almost completely covered by the Creeper when we first arrived and we were able to make a positive impact, although there is definitely more to be done,” she said.

Building skills for their future and a house for the community

By Robert Virtue, 1 September, 2014, ABC Central West NSW

It’s often said that ‘on the job’ training is one of the best ways to learn a new skill. Students in Cowra are finding that out for themselves.

Amongst the incessant thuds of hammers colliding with nails, a group of nine young men, dressed in fluorescent clothing and muddied boots, busily manoeuvre their way around the timber frame of a new house.

The buzzing whir of a brick saw revs to life. A cement mixer monotonously rotates near the entry to the site.

The group of pre-apprenticeship carpentry students are at a property in the NSW central west town of Cowra, and are working on the latest house being built under the Cowra Community Development Trust Project.

Under the project, pre-apprenticeship TAFE students in Cowra are given the opportunity to work on building a house on land owned by the Development Trust. Once the house is finished, it will be sold by the organisation, with the money being used to buy another property to build a dwelling on next year.

Construction teacher at Cowra TAFE, Wayne Saunders, said this year’s project involves building a two bedroom house, and landscaping the property.

“[The Development Trust] employ a local builder who comes and runs the site. We bring the students down and they work hands-on on the project.

“The students start from the ground up [about six weeks ago]. The Development Trust presented us with a set of plans about four months ago; then the students had a good look through them and got to see how the project was going to work. The plans went to council to be approved with a Development Application, so the students got to see how that worked,” he said.

“It’s basically a house for the community, built by the community.”

So far the students have helped set the house out with string lines, dig and pour concrete footings and the slab, as well as stand wall frames and roof trusses. A local brick layer has been employed to construct the brick veneer.

Saunders said so far the students have learnt a lot about building a major project.

“The students love it. They love getting their hands dirty, and love being hands-on,” he said.

“We can [only] teach them so much in the lecture room and workshop, but there’s nothing better than teaching them out on site. It’s the best way to do it.

“For these students, it’s the first time they’ve been on a building site; that’s what they’re here for – to learn how a building site works.”

Joel Causton is one of the students helping build the house and said it’s been a steep learning curve.

“[I’ve just been] trying to take in as much as I can. Coming from a building background, I have a little bit of knowledge, but I’m still learning things every day,” he said.

“Getting hands-on experience is really beneficial, because I think you learn a lot more out on the job site. It gives you a better insight into what’s actually out there in the real world.

“I’m loving every day of it.”

Having grown up in Cowra, Causton said he hopes to develop his skills and stay in town.

“I’ve grown up here, and love it here, so I’d like to get an apprenticeship here and become a qualified carpenter… then move on to being a builder.”

Saunders said the project is unique to western NSW, and is invaluable in helping the students develop their understanding of the trade.

“The biggest thing [the students] take away from it is they have the knowledge to be able to approach builders and ask them for a job or an apprenticeship.

“That’s what it’s all about – getting these young students into the building industry.”

MOD Apprentices Help With Community Projects

Ministry of Defence: Forces TV,11-09-2014, http://bit.ly/1ENLIUb

Ministry of Defence Engineering Management apprentices have been helping with community and regeneration projects as part of their training.

They have undertaken tasks with charities near Devonport Dockyard in Woodland on the high street.

Kate Perry, Apprentice Development Manager for Devonport, said: “The community projects have not only given the apprentices a chance to develop and put into practice project management and team work skills that are essential to their future work placements, but it has also given them the opportunity to give back something to the local area in which many of them live.”

The apprentices are potential project managers for the MOD and this part of their training aims to reflect the theoretical project management knowledge while giving back to the community close to the Naval Base.

The students were given one project planning week where they had discussions with the outside organisations’ co-ordinators and ran it like mini project, developing a basic project plan, risk assessments and managing staffing.

One project consisted of working with a gardening group in Stoke called ‘Diggin It’and they built a woodland walk way in a disused area to help educate school children on wildlife and conservation.

Zoe Underwood, from Diggin It said: “We have never met such a capable and enthusiastic bunch of lads. They were very professional and courteous: going above and beyond.”

She added the group “created a woodland walkway and the finished result after their short space of time with us has blown our expectations. Not only will our volunteers/ visitors benefit from our beautiful spot, but also the local wildlife.”

Other projects include working in Devonport with the Devonport Regeneration team to transform a disused shop on George Street into a café and performing arts space.

The apprentices have begun their first work based placement within teams based at dockyard, before starting an intensive HNC in Marine Engineering at Cornwall College early next year.

Pre-apprentice students contributing to community

TAFE Illawarra has entered into a contract with Wollongong City Council to build cabins for their holiday parks. These cabins have been designed in accordance with sustainable and passive solar design principles and are built by pre-apprentice students under the supervision of building and construction teachers. These cabins prove to be a major asset for the Council and give students first-hand practical experience before they enter their apprenticeship programs.

Catchment Management Authority, NSW Parks and Wildlife and Wingecarribee Shire Council

A collaboration since 2009  between TAFE Illawarra, Conservation and Land Management students at Moss Vale Campus, Catchment Management Authority, NSW Parks and Wildlife and Wingecarribee Shire Counciland the local Aboriginal community  resulted in the development of the Moyengully Natural Resource Management Group.

This partnership was recognised in 2012 when awarded the Department of Education and Communities Learning for Sustainability Award for Excellence in 2012.

The Moyengully Natural Resource Management Group was initiated by students undertaking Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management. The aim was to provide sustainable employment opportunities for Aboriginal students and a reason to undertake continuing education opportunities that was embedded in reconnecting cultural practice to country and stewardship of Indigenous lands.

Wingecarribee Shire Council

In 2009, a Conservation and Land Management program was piloted in partnership with the local Indigenous Community and Wingecarribee Shire Council. The community provided interested students, the Shire provided access to various sites and TAFE Illawarra delivered the training.  The course was a great success and most of the students continued with their studies into 2009 enrolling in the Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management (CLM).

This course also proved to be a great success and continued to enjoy the support from the Catchment Authority and NSW National Parks and Wildlife.  A strong commitment from the students and the key stakeholders resulted in contracts for various projects in the region. In 2013 the Moyengully Natural Resource Management Group received further grants for planned projects.

Shellharbour Aboriginal Community Youth Association (SACYA)

TAFE Illawarra has partnered with SACYA, National Parks and Wildlife Services andShellharbour City Councilto engage students in a regeneration project with Killalea State Park.

As part of the partnership, Indigenous students studying Conservation and Land Management developed a nursery site and propagated plants as part of their practical education.

The project resulted in great employment outcomes, with one student gaining employment with Killalea State Park on a casual basis and another gaining a traineeship with Shellharbour City Council – both a direct result of participation in the program. Killalea has also employed three Indigenous school-based trainees.

TAFE Apprentice Whisks His Way to the Top

Hospitality training at the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE – Torgas, http://bit.ly/1cGkMiD

Hospitality apprentice Nathan Salakas’ culinary skills and talent have won him the prestigious, Most Outstanding Fourth Year Hospitality Apprentice of the Year award at the 26th annual TORGAS Training Awards in Townsville.

Trained at the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE’s Cannonvale campus and employed by TORGAS, Mr Salakas works a busy schedule on Hamilton Island, providing first-class dining experiences to visitors and residents.

TAFE hospitality teacher Gimmi Menel said Mr Salakas was a stand-out student who had excelled in all areas of his apprenticeship and was deserving of the accolade.

“The winning apprentice needs to demonstrate commitment to their training, ensure their work is up-to-date, complete their assessments on time, and be a team player in the kitchen and in the workplace.

“Nathan considers himself a real foodie and loves anything to do with food,” Mr Menel said.

Mr Salakas said his passion for cooking first started at high school and in his first job as a kitchen steward.

“Soon after, I started as an apprenticeship and will graduate on December 10 with a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery.

“Winning the award has given me a confidence boost and my TAFE training has given me opportunities to learn new skills in specialist fields including pastry making.

“At TAFE I get to train with other apprentices from other establishments and we all share ideas and learn from each other,” Mr Salakas said.

TORGAS presented Mr Salakas with a skillet pan, a certificate and a medal.

As part of Mr Salakas’ final examinations and assessments before graduating, he will manage two lunch productions, open to the public at TAFE’s Palmers Training Restaurant during August.

The assessments include designing various menus, costing ingredients, placing orders, working with suppliers, preparation, cooking and plate design.

Harvest garden project

by Brendon Walker, 

At the heart of the community in Moruya (other than TAFE, of course) are growers markets, which are extremely popular here. Some of the 1st year apprenticeBuilding & Construction students at Moruya TAFE are taking part in a harvest garden project. This involves constructing the wooden planters in which fresh community produce will be grown.

The Building & Construction program in Moruya has been an integral part of the community for decades. In fact, one apprentice in the class is the 3rd generation in his family to study this course at Moruya TAFE. Once the planters have been completed, Moruya TAFE Horticultural students will sow their seedlings to prepare the gardens to yield a Spring harvest. A great example of different faculties working together towards a common goal. The resulting produce is then sold at the community growers markets.

Maritime training is another important aspect of Moruya TAFE and of Illawarra Institute. The TAFE Illawarra Student of the Year for 2013 was Nicholas Cowley, who studied to become a charter boat skipper while he was still studying for his HSC. His working days are now largely spent on Narooma’s sparkling blue waterways with Charter Fish Narooma. I’m jealous! (btw, the name “Narooma” is said to be derived from an Aboriginal word meaning “clear blue waters”).

Nicholas took me for a brief ride in the charter boat he works on. Accompanied by his head teacher Colin, you could easily see that Nick is a well-trained skipper. Extremely proficient at what he does, plus a delightful lad. Something else I didn’t know is that the skipper of a charter fishing vessel is also responsible for ensuring that no caught fish are undersized. When you have rough and tumble, experienced blokes on board who just want to keep their catch, I asked Nick if this was a problem for him, considering his age. But he seemed to take that all in his stride. Nick’s biggest problem is people trusting an 18yr old skipper at the helm. But, as Nick said, “once they see that I know what I’m doing, they’re fine”.

Colin couldn’t be prouder of Nick as a student and graduate of Moruya TAFE. Nick studied the Certificate III in Transport and Distribution (Coastal Maritime Operations – Master Class 5) and Certificate II in Transport and Distribution – Marine Engine Driving Grade 3 whilst still at school.

What better way to spend the final moments of a long day of road tripping… bobbing around on a boat whilst basking in the sun!

More TAFE community video clips:



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