Skillinvest helps to explore opportunities to support refugees and migrants

John Ackland recently attended the Wimmera Settlement Meeting in Nhill in his capacity as Chair of the Wimmera Settlement Committee to discuss how the community and business can assist with improving support for refugees and migrants. Participants at the meeting discussed opportunities for improved access to language classes and support for refugees and migrants in the Wimmera. This initiative is driven by the Wimmera Development Association and its members and AMES.

Promoting vocational education and training

Skillinvest is an active participant at major career expos, providing Try a Trade activities and promoting apprenticeships and traineeships to secondary school students and job seekers.  Skillinvest has been a long-time supporter of:

  • South East Careers Expo     
  • Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Careers and Jobs Expo    
  • Western Victorian Careers Expo
Victorian Training Awards

The Victorian Training Awards recognise outstanding achievement and innovation in the vocational education and training sector.

At the 2014 Victorian Training Awards, Skillinvest won the Victorian Employer Award for Apprentice Development for its work over the past decade developing and refining its apprentice development model, Lifelong Learning Model.

Skillinvest is also a partner in the East Gippsland Food Cluster Traineeship Program which won the Victorian Industry Collaboration Award.  The collaboration between East Gippsland Food Cluster Incorporated, Federation Training, Gippsland East LLEN and Skillinvest connects young people with a diverse range of career opportunities and developmental pathways in the agrifood sector.

Sport matters

Courtesy of Wimmera Mail-Times

Skillinvest supports various sporting events and leagues, recognising the important role that sport plays in the health and social life of communities in rural and regional Victoria.  Skillinvest has been proudly supporting the following leagues for many years:

  • junior football and netball in the East Gippsland Football Netball League
  • the women’s netball competition in the Wimmera Netball League and Horsham and District Football Netball League.

Skillinvest sponsors the Girls’ (Under 17) Handicap 100 metre race held during Stawell Gift athletics carnival held annually over the Easter long weekend in Stawell.  The Stawell Gift is Australia’s richest footrace.

Primary Vocational Education and Careers Program

The pathway from secondary school into full-time apprenticeships and traineeships is well-established:  it begins with VET in Schools, followed by Structured Work Placements and School-based Apprenticeships.

In 2010, Skillinvest developed the pathway one step further - at the front end - by establishing two activities to introduce senior primary school students to the traditional trades: Try a Trade and the Primary Technical Schools Program.

Horsham Primary School was chosen as the partner and host venue for both activities because the school wanted to explore new ways to enhance students’ engagement in the learning process and to broaden their horizons.  

Primary Technical Schools Program 

The program is loosely based on a Danish model, 'Retention Vocational Education in Denmark - A best practice study' by the Danish Ministry of Education, and the 2006 Try a Trade held in Melbourne, where it was observed that many primary school aged children were engaged by hands on learning.

The aim of the Primary Technical Schools Program is to increase the students’ literacy and numeracy skills and reduce their attrition rates by introducing them to a vocational education curriculum. The program provides students with practical experience in technical and trade-based areas and demonstrates future employment opportunities.

The program covers five technical and one commercial entryway.

The technical entryways are:

  • Building and Construction
  • Engineering Trades
  • Automotive
  • Agriculture, Horticulture and Land Management
  • Service Industries including Food Production

The commercial entryway is:

  • Business, Information and Communication Technology and Multimedia

These six entryways have been linked with the current Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VET in Schools) courses which are being taught in Year 10 in secondary schools the Wimmera and Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN) region.

Each term, students participate in a six-week program in one of the identified entryways, to learn basic skills in that trade or vocation. 

Following the successful pilot program, the program is now a key part of the school’s strategic goals, curriculum and timetabling.

In 2011, the program received the Group Training Australia Partnership Award for effective and innovative collaboration between a school or school cluster and a group training organisation.