Meeting encourages Macedon Ranges businesses to step-up for students

Sacred Heart College Kyneton hosted a meeting Friday focused on encouraging work placement opportunities for Macedon Ranges students.

Attended by Central Ranges Local Learning & Employment Network (CRLLEN) staff, Sacred Heart College staff, Macedon Ranges Shire Council Mayor Cr Janet Peace and State Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas, the meeting explored ways to address an increased demand for businesses to accept students for structured workplace learning opportunities in the region.

CRLLEN industry engagement manager Lena Way said that enrolments in VET and VCAL courses across the Macedon Ranges had significantly increased over the last three years, with building and construction, auto, hospitality, engineering, hair, beauty, business and retail being popular choices for students.

CRLLEN CEO Trent McCarthyadded that whilst it is encouraging to see so many students pursue practical career options, some find it difficult to secure work placements. Mr McCarthy said that as part of their VET and VCAL qualifications, students are required to undertake a certain number of hours of structured workplace learning with an employer.

“Some businesses across our region are simply under resourced to accept a student, however, on the whole we have seen Macedon Ranges businesses step-up to provide students with the workplace learning they need. This is very positive for the Macedon Ranges,” Mr McCarthy said.

Sacred Heart Kyneton associate careers practitioner Julie Matricardi-Old is encouraged by the number of small to medium sized businesses offering structured workplace learning and school based apprenticeships or traineeships, citing Woodend business M&Co Hair Salon as an example of a small business prepared to give young people a go.

“Salon owner Megan Starasina recently offered placements for my hair and beauty students, and the wider school community is grateful for this kind of support. Our students simply can’t achieve their qualifications without a local business prepared to offer them a placement,” Ms Matricardi-Old said.

State Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas said the Victorian Government want all young Victorians who are undertaking a traineeship or apprenticeship to be qualified and ready to work in areas where there are real job opportunities.

“Structured workplace learning relies on businesses taking part in the process. It’s fantastic to see local businesses in our community embracing these programs,” Ms Thomas said.

MRSC Mayor Cr Janet Pearce encouraged even more local businesses to offer workplace learning opportunities to young people.

“We were all young once. As a strong and united community, I encourage the Shire’s business owners to continue to support our youth in completing their education,” Cr Pearce said.

Ms Way said the M&Co Hair Salon example showed how businesses can benefit from taking a student for structured workplace learning.

“Young people are vibrant, digitally literate, have fresh ideas and could be a business’s next employee or apprentice. Students are fully covered by the Department of Education & Training’s work cover insurance policy and are paid $5 per day,” she said.

IMAGE 1: L to R: CRLLEN CEO Trent McCarthy, Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas MP, Sacred Heart Kyneton associate careers practitioner Julie Matricardi-Old, CRLLEN industry engagement manager Lena Way, and Macedon Ranges Mayor Cr Janet Pearce met on Friday, April 12 to discuss workplace learning opportunities for Macedon Ranges students such as Amy Duff, pictured (IMAGE 2) at M&Co Hair Salon Woodend.

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