Vocational Education and Training (VET) students from our Macarthur Catholic secondary schools have helped produce a wonderful morning of entertainment and a delicious feast for over 350 local senior citizens at the inaugural VETsteddFOOD.
The unique event saw Camden Civic Centre filled to capacity, as more than 120 VET students – including those from Magdalene Catholic College, Narellan; John Therry Catholic High School, Rosemeadow; St Benedict’s Catholic College, Oran Park; and Mater Dei, Camden – put their skills to the test.
Construction students built the sets, and Business Services, Retail and Events students sold tickets and assisted with the organisation of the event. Entertainment students provided the musical performances and other entertainment throughout the day, while the Hospitality students prepared a two-course meal fit for kings and queens for the special senior guests.
CEDoW VET/RTO Manager, Christina Fraser, said the students were willing and eager workers, and praised their serving of hundreds of guests over the two days of the event as “a huge accomplishment”.
“Evident was the planning and preparation, then exceptional performance of our students who thrived on the opportunity to – under the guidance of industry professionals – broaden their skills and understanding of the courses they’re studying,” she said.
“It was fantastic to see our students display great teamwork and thoroughly enjoy this meaningful 'real work' experience, and to witness their sense of pride when acknowledged by the guests” — Christina Fraser, CEDoW VET/RTO Manager
The VETsteddFOOD – which earned its name from its setup, similar to a school eisteddfod – was organised by Macarthur non-profit organisation, MWLP Linking Youth, and supported by Camden Council through their 2018/19 Community Small Grants Program.
MWLP work placement manager and experienced chef, Michael Everett, supervised the students in the kitchen over the two days and congratulated them for their efforts.
"There was slick service and great meals prepared. [We had] 200 meals ready to go in 10 minutes! I am so proud of the students; they're getting the full kitchen experience" — Michael Everett, chef and MWLP work placement manager
The hours the students spent working on this event count towards the compulsory work placement hours needed to complete their VET courses. But it’s not just about the quantity of hours earned – it’s also the quality of work this experience has offered that’s been highly beneficial. As Mr Everett said, events like VETsteddFOOD are an innovation on the traditional work placement format. "The students usually get great opportunities, but this is taking it to the next level," he said.
One of the guests, Hillie Higson, agreed, saying that MWLP, Camden Council and the local students deserved much credit for the event.
"These kind of events don't happen on a whim. It would have been an invaluable experience for the students" — Hillie Higson, VETsteddFOOD guest
MWLP marketing and communications manager, Sue Scobie, rated VETsteddFOOD as a great success, saying she had received a lot of positive feedback like Ms Higson’s.
"One lady commented that it was just beautiful to see these two generations coming together. The students have shown great respect to the elderly" — Sue Scobie, MWLP
MWLP CEO, Dr David Williams, said he was pleased to be able to host this event in Camden, and hopes to take it to other areas in the future. “It is exciting to be involved in dynamic new strategies like VETsteddFOOD. Last year, we initiated ‘Long Lunches in Schools’ where Hospitality students prepped, cooked and served three-course meals to parents, educators and VIPs. We’ve held an event at John Therry Catholic High School, and we have more planned,” he said.
VETsteddFOOD highlights the variety of Vocational Education and Training courses and pathways available to CEDoW students while they are still at school. VET in our schools allows students to undertake courses as part of their Higher School Certificate, while also providing them credit towards nationally recognised VET qualifications. Find out more about the HSC+ qualifications we offer here.
In the Media
Macarthur Advertiser, 31 May 2019 – Macarthur's senior citizens treated to top class experience