It’s every TAS, VET and trades student’s dream – multi-million dollar, modern facilities to learn skills, design and practice your craft; tailor-made training spaces for a range of specialities, state-of-the-art equipment and the highest quality resources, all at your fingertips for the best possible learning and outcomes. New major upgrades at St Joseph’s Albion Park now provide this potential for its students, all right at school.
The impressive new Technological and Applied Studies (TAS) and Vocational Education and Training (VET) block accommodates innovative technologies and flexible, specially-designed spaces catering for a significant number of students eager to learn skills and trades while at school.
In a fast-changing world of technology, these facilities provide high-quality training environments where students and staff can work together, engaged in the most current and advanced learning experiences.
CEDoW School Properties Officer, David Leighton, who oversaw the design and construction of the major building works, said the new facilities were created by skilfully adapting the existing amenities.
“The refurbishment now provides modern construction and design learning spaces to meet changes in curriculum requirements. The inclusion of a designated ‘clean tech’ space connected to more traditional workshops will optimise STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning for all students,” he said.
The $3 million project, fully funded by the CEDoW Secondary School Building Fund, includes:
- Construction workshop area
- Woodwork rooms and wood storeroom
- Material workshops
- Machine bay
- Clean technology (STEM) room – including 3D printer and laser cutters
- Project and material storage
- Food Technology kitchen – including change rooms and laundry
- Textiles learning area
- Marine Technology area
- Business Studies / VET area
- General learning areas
Staff, students, community leaders and representatives involved in these significant building upgrades gathered at St Joseph’s for the official blessing and opening last week.
The joyful occasion included formal proceedings and a liturgy led by Parish Priest, Fr Leo Duck, followed by a tour of the spaces and a morning tea prepared by the school’s Hospitality students using the new Food Technology area. Grateful senior students showed off the new TAS/VET block to the visitors - articulate, caring and very proud of their new facilities.
Sincere gratitude was also expressed all round to the architects led by Graham Betts, and Grant Deane and his team at Deane Constructions, for their combined excellent work and commitment to the project.
Assistant Principal, Jenny Bell, said the occasion was very exciting for the St Joseph's students and their TAS and VET teachers.
“The Industrial Technology, Timber and VET Construction workshops, along with the Textiles, Marine Technology, Food Technology, and Design & Technology rooms, have been fully upgraded and equipped with brand new machinery, tables, tools, air conditioning and safety equipment. These brighter, cooler, state-of-the-art facilities are being thoroughly enjoyed by students and staff” — Jenny Bell, Assistant Principal, St Joseph’s Albion Park
“These refurbished and resourced learning spaces have inspired St Joseph's students to further enhance their practical and theoretical skills. We were already seeing many of our students excel in TAS and VET HSC courses, so with these resources available, there’s no limit to the outstanding achievements we’ll see from St Joseph's TAS and VET students for years to come,” she said.
CEDoW Director of Schools, Peter Turner, attended the opening and praised the new TAS and VET facilities for providing an excellent opportunity for St Joseph’s students to learn, experiment and build skills for their futures.
“The original building dating back to the 1980s simply was not in a state to provide these opportunities, and now all this changes dramatically. I would like to publicly acknowledge and thank Mr Glenn Lowe, the school’s TAS Co-ordinator and Mr Nathan Milburn, VET Coordinator, for their leadership and guidance in this project,” he said.
“Mr Bede Ritchie, CEDoW’s Head of Finance, Facilities, ICLT and Planning, also deserves special recognition. His prioritising of the needs of St Joseph’s, along with the provision of funding, has led us to this outstanding outcome. David Leighton from the CEDoW Properties Office was also key to the success that we celebrate today – his commitment and great skills are second to none.”
Mr Turner commended the new TAS/VET block to the students: “Your school, your diocese and your principal have worked long and hard to provide you with a wonderful opportunity in this new facility. I ask only that you use it well, enjoy it and above all, respect it for yourselves and for all who will come after you in the years ahead. St Joseph’s takes another giant step forward today. Congratulations to all involved.”
School Captain, Bianca Cacciola [pictured above], thanked Mr Turner on behalf of the school for supporting the construction of the new TAS/VET block.
“This area has provided the opportunity for St Joseph’s students to completely engage in their learning with the best possible resources to further develop their skills. These new learning and practical spaces have opened up new opportunities for future pathways for students and inspired a new light of positivity within our school community” — Bianca Cacciola, School Captain, St Joseph’s Albion Park
“Our students recognise that they have an incredible opportunity provided to them here, to follow their interests and even find a career path through talents discovered in this new area of the school,” she said.
Like the Zambian High Commissioner, who also visited St Joseph’s and toured the new facilities earlier this year, the guests were very impressed to see the brand new, modern learning spaces enabling students to advance in a range of subjects including Construction, Electrotechnology, Textiles Technology, Marine Technology, Clean Technology, Information Technology, Timber Technology, Mixed Materials Technology, Hospitality and Food Technology.
St Joseph’s TAS Coordinator, Glenn Lowe, said students could now access the latest machinery and specialty equipment, providing experiences in 3D printing, laser cutting/engraving, digital metal lathe, acrylic fabrication and timber woodwork, with room for expansion to include CNC routing. A dedicated computing space also allows students to develop their skills in programming and digital graphics packages that communicate with end-result machinery.
“The TAS and VET faculties at St Joseph’s have provided students with excellent opportunities for many years. Students continue to achieve above state average and beyond their learning potential due to the resources provided by staff and the school,” Mr Lowe said.
“These upgraded TAS and VET facilities now expand the opportunities we can provide students through updated learning spaces, new equipment and a safer, more flexible environment. Even the floorplan now means students have the opportunity to use multiple workspaces and engage in multiple disciplines at once while remaining supervised” — Glenn Lowe, TAS Coordinator, St Joseph’s Albion Park
“Our new Food Technology area is also adjacent to our existing Hospitality Trade Training Centre, allowing for more efficient delivery of practical lessons. The space also incorporates the opportunity for outdoor seating for events and lesson delivery, as well as a community garden to provide some of the produce required for Hospitality and Food Technology.”
The Hospitality Trade Training Centre was put to good use the same day, with the school now more than equipped to host this year’s VET in Schools (VETiS) WorldSkills competition for Kitchen Operations and Food & Beverage students from across the Illawarra region. Kitchen Operations students were challenged to prepare a three-course meal, while Food & Beverage students were required to serve the meal and a variety of drinks to at least two customers each – and all enjoyed making use of the quality new equipment and setup.
Supporting students to excel exemplifies what these new facilities are about – like Year 12 student, Noah, and his Major Design Project [pictured below]. Noah’s major work consisted of a coffee shop business proposal, including menu, sample uniforms, merchandise and a model of the refurbishment of a shop site using several types of computer software now available to him.
“Studying Hospitality at Joey’s has helped me develop my love for food, coffee and the industry. As I’ve progressed through high school and been given an opportunity to help out in a school cafe too, I’ve realised that I not only liked coffee, but I loved making it! This led me to the idea to create my own cafe proposal, fitted with my dream designs" — Noah, Year 12 student, St Joseph's Albion Park
Noah recently found out that his major work has been nominated for consideration for inclusion in ‘Shape 2019’ – a selection of exemplary works from HSC Design & Technology, Industrial Technology and Textiles & Design students to be exhibited at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Congratulations Noah!