Pilot work experience program helps students shine

Yuille Park Community College staff and students will celebrate the success of a pilot work experience program run as part of the City of Ballarat’s Engaging Communities Program for Wendouree.

As part of the Engaging for Employment Skills pilot work experience program which began in April, students have gained invaluable experience in the construction and installation of shelters and seating at the Wendouree Recreation Reserve and Pioneer Park.

The students received practical training in areas such as site preparation, construction techniques and health and safety procedures. Students obtained White Card and Food Handling certificates and achieved a Level 1 qualification in First Aid as part of the program.

City of Ballarat Deputy Mayor Cr Belinda Coates says the success of the pilot program also led to the students working with the City of Ballarat’s Parks and Gardens team, where they recently completed landscaping works around Lake Wendouree.

“The City of Ballarat is proud to be able to support and provide students with this fantastic learning experience which we hope will give them a great head start for their future careers,” she says.

Yuille Park Community College teacher Craig Montgomery says students participating in the program have gained a range of new skills and experiences that could not be gained from the classroom, such as using maths in real life situations and gaining practical hands-on experience.

“The students who participated in this project have come from a variety of challenging backgrounds that have disadvantaged them in traditional education settings,” he says.

“These courses and experiences have given students an opportunity to participate in work and training that allowed them to develop skills, qualifications and, most importantly, confidence in themselves. The courses have also provided them with valuable qualifications that will assist them as they prepare to enter the workforce for the first time.”

Yuille Campus Leader Beau Guest says there have been flow-on effects from the program into the classroom.

“Our senior students have returned to the school with a new sense of self‐worth, confidence and motivation to achieve their goals. After completing the program, all students invested time into researching future career paths and have worked towards tracking down further work experience,” he says.

“We have had a number of students who have since started work experience in a variety of trades and industries and have been doing really well for their employers and, most importantly, for themselves.”

The partnership initiative also featured local contractor SHAE Industries, which supervised all works on-site. 

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