The breadth and depth of St John the Evangelist, Nowra’s VET talent was on clear display at the recent Shoalhaven Excellence in Vocational Education and Training Awards, with many students receiving recognition for their efforts both in and out of school.
The annual VET Awards brings together local businesses, schools, students and representatives from the Shoalhaven community to recognise outstanding achievement by local VET students in the past year.
Held at the Bomaderry Bowling Club and attended by nominees and their families, principals and teachers, the evening showcased the many skilled HSC students undertaking VET courses in the Shoalhaven - including several from St John the Evangelist, Nowra.
Congratulations to the following Year 12 students from St John’s who received a Certificate of Excellence for outstanding application in all areas of their VET course:
Certificate of Excellence in Hospitality:
Haylee Hain, Hayley Murphy, Navryn Watson and Lauren Field
Certificate of Excellence in Construction:
Anthony Grima-Baldacchino and Jack Flamminio
Two of the students then went on to win the top gong in their trade category. Congratulations to the Excellence in Vocational Education and Training ‘Student of the Year’ award recipients:
Hospitality Student of the Year
Construction Student of the Year
Humble and unassuming, both Field and Flamminio said they were shocked to receive this special recognition.
“When it was announced I won the award, I was surprised but very excited and thankful. I was happy to win and I felt proud that it made both my parents proud. I hope it will help me when applying for either university or a trade in the industry,” Flamminio said.
“I did not expect it at all! It took a while for reality to sink in that I had actually received it, but I felt a sense of pride once it finally did!” Field added.
“I’ve enjoyed my VET subject and the course has been really rewarding, so this award has just topped the experience off and made it even better.”
Students from across the region were nominated by their school, TAFE, or local employers who had hosted them on an industry work placement. They were then interviewed by a panel of three judges from the business community who determined the winners.
St John’s VET Coordinator, Leone Frank, said the school was very proud of the students for their success and praised the school’s VET faculty for constantly guiding and supporting their VET classes to achieve to their best potential.
“VET at St John's is implemented by a dedicated group of teachers including Mrs Cathy Chittick, Mr Peter Redman, Mr Christopher Hall and Mrs Melanie Hooke, and has helped many students over the years gain both a HSC and Certificate II qualification in a number of frameworks.
“The development of industry-related skills has helped many students utilise their training and go on to further develop these skills and gain employment within the industry. Our focus on this specific skill development is very important, but we also see VET’s development of employability skills as equally important as these can be transferred to any career choice students make after school - be it in the industry or at university” - St John's VET Coordinator, Leone Frank
The awards event is also an opportunity to acknowledge the major contribution made by over 400 local businesses to the achievements and success of VET students - often through facilitating industry work placements. Such placements enable students to develop real, industry-based skills and experience as part of their courses.
“I worked at a building company run by Dave Glesson in Ulladulla,” Flamminio said, “He is a very good builder and gives students like me plenty of different experiences. This time with Dave gave me a sense of what the industry is like and whether I enjoyed the work, which I did! I loved it and learned interesting life skills that I can use later on when I go into the industry.”
Field did a work placement at Angels Bayside Cafe in Huskisson and also worked part-time at Jamaica Blue throughout her course: “I was able to have my [Jamaica Blue] work count towards 25 hours of my work placement requirement.
“I have worked in a kitchen for nearly 3 years now. I think working in the industry has been very beneficial, as it’s helped me build my knowledge and skills while studying, helped me greatly in school hospitality exams and assessments, and I think it’s also helped in earning this award.”
THE BENEFITS OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Both award recipients talked up the benefits and opportunities of studying a VET course in secondary school.
Flamminio said the topics and hands-on work in the subjects has helped him to improve his skills and quality of work - not only for his course, but for a range of other classes and situations as well.
“Our teachers put a lot of work into making these great subjects to study. It has given me a good insight into what kind of work I could be doing [and] helped my work and results in my others subjects, like Industrial Technology," he said.
“I’ve also been able to use my construction knowledge to get involved in school projects - for example, we are currently constructing the stage sets for our school musical and have done a number of projects with our agriculture farm, including doing the concrete path and block laying for the compost bins.
“Studying a VET course gives students like me options. It can contribute to an ATAR if you want to study at university but you also gain a Certificate II industry qualification that can go towards a future trade training course.”
Field agreed: “While doing your HSC is confronting and stressful, a majority of 18 year olds leave school with absolutely no certifications or qualifications. Doing hospitality as a part of my Year 12 studies allows me to leave school with a HSC plus a Certificate II, which means an advantage above many other school leavers.”
“I’ve enjoyed studying the ins and outs of the hospitality industry and cooking as a cohort within my class. Being able to put my industry experience to use has also been really good,” she said.
WHERE TO NEXT FOR OUR ‘STUDENTS OF THE YEAR’?
While Flamminio and Field have promising futures ahead, they remain open-minded about just how that will take shape after graduating. Both are confident that the knowledge, skills and experience they’ve soaked up during their VET studies will be useful for whatever path they pursue.
“I would really like to go to university, get my degree and become an industrial technology teacher. Or I could get into the carpentry trade after school and become a qualified carpenter, then go to university and do my teaching degree after my trade has been completed,” Flamminio mused.
“I have some ideas as to what I’d like to do after school. I would like to become a federal police officer, a nurse or join the navy, Field said, “I believe the employability skills I have learned can be transferred to any occupation or career area I decide to follow.”