Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) is an important part of school life at Nyangatjatjara College. This allows senior students to acquire skills and capabilities that can be certified through formal qualifications, and lead to the world of work.
The College has a longstanding partnership with Redpath Education to help deliver VETiS.
"We have established a very productive connection with Nyangatjatjara College," says Tony Spencer, Education Director of Redpath Education. "As is so often the case, it's all about relationship building. This means relationships between Redpath and the College; relationships with employers; relationships between staff and students."
A significant development has been the repositioning of the College kitchen as a professional workplace. The Kitchen Supervisor has completed a Food Safety Supervisors Course, as has one of the senior students. This helps establish correct protocols within the kitchen as well as appropriate hierarchies as can be found in any workplace.
"We are currently working through policies and procedures, for example handwashing," says Mr Spencer. "The students learn about things like work health safety, signage, managing hazards, hierarchies of control, chemical hazards, safety data sheets etc. By having a workplace that is compliant, it means as an RTO we can recognise that they are undertaking activities consistent with the policies and procedures, and they can work towards the relevant certification. As part of the workplace relationships, students need to know who everyone here reports to, so they can build knowledge of appropriate workplace interactions. They learn that here, but it will carry over when they are settled into an external workplace. Working through this leads naturally to conversations about pathways and where they are going with their lives."
A number of senior girls are studying the Certificate 1 Community Services program which is also being delivered under a VETiS model. "We have MOUs with childcare centres in Yulara, Docker River, Mutitjulu plus Alice Springs. This allows the girls to undertake visits and as they become more engaged with the workplace and settled they do workplace activities - nappy changing, cleaning, play sessions, reading sessions. Over time they come to realise that the childcare centre is a learning environment, that play is not just play, and how the early years learning framework helps children transition into school (and ultimately the workplace). We look at differences between the centres, different modes of delivery, and the similarities - for example, every centre requires a Cert 3 First Aid certificate. We use the workers in the centre to talk about their own stories, why they started in childcare, what training they did, what ongoing training they are doing."
Part of this program involves an intensive week in Alice Springs where students make various site visits including to Alice Springs Hospital where they meet with the Aboriginal Liaison Officers. "This will lead to conversations about communication and how it happens; policies and procedures, signage, all of which links back to what we do at the College," Mr Spencer says.