Vanessa Buemi is Program Coordinator of VET and Curriculum at Cyril Jackson Senior Campus (CJSC). Cyril Jackson is one of a growing number of schools in Western Australia that is engaging with community, government and industry to deliver collaborative learning to students.
Towards the end of last year Vanessa invited me to an industry breakfast that recognised support that had been given to their students from outside the school.
Vanessa has kindly allowed me to share her welcome speech which provides insights about their Partnership Model.
Good morning and thank you for attending our inaugural Industry Breakfast. I’d like to speak about Partnerships at CJSC and our Partnership Model.
In 2021, CJSC trainers will deliver the following Nationally Accredited Certificates.
- Active volunteering
- Automotive vocational preparation
- Community services
- Creative Industries
- Engineering pathways
- Information digital media and technology 1+2
- Visual arts
- Technical graphics/CAD
- World of Work
CJSC has historically delivered a diverse range of certificate qualifications, across 7 training industries. In the new Covid world, it is more important than ever before to prepare our students to be successful contributors in our ever evolving new world.
New world, new skills
COVID has changed the employment landscape and whilst we were already proving quality training to students we want to make it even better. Our models link students with authentic work and learning opportunities with employers in the same industries they are completing their training.
Teaching and training is enhanced through connections with the world of work and beyond.
Year 11 Plus Program
Our Yr 11 PLUS program has been providing such opportunities for the last 5 years, initially through a Certificate 1 in Work Preparation and later, Certificate 1 in Business. VET in schools, now called VET delivered to secondary students, has enabled students to begin their training whilst still completing their schooling. University pathways once considered the superior pathway to higher studies has not always been the preferred pathway for all students. We all learn differently, and VET and Workplace Learning opportunities have opened the doors for many, many students.
Policy Changes Delivered a Challenge to CJ Programs
In education, the 2016 new WACE requirements of requiring an ATAR or Certificate II qualification as the minimum requirement to achieve WACE, failed to recognise a substantial proportion of students learning needs; students like those who choose to come to Cyril Jackson to learn English.
Certificate I qualifications were largely overlooked as they did not meet minimum requirements for WACE. Certificate I qualifications disappeared from our auspicing choices and the education gap grew once again.
Our 11 PLUS program, often considered a second chance for students who have disengaged from school for many different reasons, including sociology economic and mental health reasons, has been affected by the disappearance of certificate one qualifications on scope for auspicing.
Innovative Solution to Tricky Problem
Finding a certificate II qualification that would be a suitable fit for the overall program and one that would provide new opportunities to thrive was difficult at first….then I found Certificate II in Active Volunteering which was only on scope for delivery in the Eastern States.
I contacted the provider and literally begged them to get it on scope in WA and told them we would be their trial school. That provider is now one of the largest vocational training providers for VET delivered to secondary Schools in WA.
This qualification fits perfectly with the other courses in the program; our Trainer, Teacher and Student Support Officer had the freedom to make academic and practical links with the content of this qualification and SCSA courses such as English, maths and career and enterprise.
This model works!
Links with Industry
It worked with a certificate I and it works with the certificate II in Active Volunteering because of the links with industry that form an essential role in their education at CJSC.
With the removal of certificate I qualifications it is not enough to simply train students and send them out into the world of work. We have to teach them how to transition from school to work or post school training.
Active Volunteering is a powerful qualification, one that allows students to work with members of the community as mentors and friends for others in need. It has been the foundation of personal and academic growth for once disengaged students, who have applied their learning in a safe and supportive environment.
How Cyril Jackson has met Challenges
Some of our students at CJSC start their schooling in our Intensive English Centre. Some have limited schooling and our classrooms may be their first opportunities to have an education. Our dedicated staff support our students in their transition from the Intensive English Centre (IEC) into mainstream, where they begin their Year 11 and 12 studies.
When I first started at CJSC in 2016 I sought to understand more about how the IEC worked and how I could best serve the students in my role as VET Coordinator. In just three years, through working with Belinda and the student services IEC and mainstream teams, we have trialled several successful models to ensure our students next transition into employment or further training is suitably supported. We have done this through dedicated Foundation English and workplace learning classes, building links with written and spoken communication in both a school and work environment.
The health industry, specifically aged care, has always been a strong career choice for some of our IEC graduates and we have worked hard to bridge the gap for our English as Second Language or Dialect, or EAL/D students, whose written and spoken English is still developing. Opportunities for our students to gain places in funded courses can be competitive and this has often meant these students have to wait until they complete Year 12 before can begin their vocational training.
Partnership with North Metro
In 2019 we entered into a partnership with North Metro TAFE establishing a dedicated EAL/D class of CJSC students to begin their VET delivered to secondary students training whilst also completing their courses at CJSC.
All 13 students graduated in June 2020 amidst the unpredictable early days of Covid interruptions to education and face to face classes.
These students have recently completed Yr 12 and this cohort meets again on Thursday to begin their higher studies in the health industry, through our new partnership with Amana Living.
Going Beyond the Campus
What makes both of these models work is the CJSC approach to supporting students, not only in the classroom but also through community work placements that allow our students to apply their skills through authentic learning opportunities. We aim to develop further partnerships such as these.
Every single staff member is invested in these students
Our students are supported by our team of teachers, trainers, workplace learning coordinator, IEC teachers and education assistants, our student services team, Deputy Principals and our remarkable Principal, Dr Karen Read.
They are our future and we are incredibly proud of our programs, team approach and most importantly our students who value education as a privilege.
You will not find a more dedicated school community and students with a phenomenal work ethic and will to succeed.
Our current partnerships include;
- Aegis Bassendean
- Amana Living,
- Garden City Plastics,
- Black Swan State Theatre
- WA Youth Theatre Company
- Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation, and
- the Cities of Bassendean and Stirling.
We hope to work with you in 2021, building strong working relationships in support of our future workforce.
Thanks Vanessa and staff at Cyril Jackson. Our hearts burst with appreciation for the wonderful work you are all doing. As one student spoke I choked up and reached for a tissue, I glanced around to see EVERYONE at our table was in the same boat!!
At the end of the morning there were hugs and congratulations all round.
Vanessa has already offered to support teachers at Balcatta SHS by sharing details of how CJ has generated such a great environment for its students. I am sure she would be happy to pass on her wisdom to others.