HEALTH AND COMMUNITY SERVICES STUDENT PLACEMENTS – EACH
Strengthening School Industry Engagement through Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) Portal
*Speaker 1 – STEVE MERRY, SWL Coordinator, Outer Eastern LLEN*
We at the LLEN work really closely with employers, and there is a history there for us of many years of working with some employers. EACH is an employer that we had worked with in the past. When the opportunity came about to roll out a new program state wide, we saw a great connection there where EACH being a large employer with around about 40 offices across the state, we sort of reinvigorated that connection with EACH and met again with Sira Spenceley at EACH. Initially and talked about how there may be potential for the needs of EACH to be met in a more comprehensive way across the state through the SWL Portal, and when it became clear that they were really keen to do that we talked about training not only Sira but then giving her the capacity to train her staff internally and have the capacity to then add their own opportunities for students.
*Speaker 2 - SIRA SPENCELEY, Learning and Development Coordinator, EACH Bayswater*
EACH is a community health organisation, we’re a non-profit organisation that helps to strengthen communities and help them build on their strengths to make the most of everything that they have. For a number of years, I’ve been working with the Outer East LLEN and finding some student placements, who are high school students doing cert three. So, when this program was developed, the Outer East LLEN got in touch with us to see if we would like to come on board, and it is an opportunity to help us grow the local workforce so we were very happy to participate.
We feel that for the Structured Workplace Learning program to work really well in the future, this type of relationship is what would be ideal, and what’s been good about it is the fact that the employer, being a large employer, has taken a fairly high degree of ownership over the process and rather than taking the training from the LLEN and setting up the opportunities and then leaving it at that, EACH has really been keen to be involved in building their own opportunities, talking with their staff internally, finding out who knows what about placement and how to improve internally the quality of the placement for the students who may be studying a VET subject coming along to spend some time at EACH. So this for us is a really good model of how it could look into the future with large employers across the state through the SWL Portal.
Firstly, I did some training with just a few staff who haven’t previously had student placements but have opportunities for students who are doing cert two’s and cert three’s. So, we trained the manager for the front line for customer service, our volunteer coordinator in People and Learning, and our maintenance team leader, so they are now trained and understand what the Structured Workplace Learning program’s about and are organising possibilities and opportunities for students to be part of the team. Next, we will be training our business partners, they’re in our Human Resources team, so that they can then take it out to the wider staff to start planning student opportunities for their local areas.
*Speaker 3 – ROSINA FOTIA, Principal Lilydale Heights College*
When I consider Bree and her journey and her use with the Portal and now her connection with EACH, that’s been an absolutely outstanding success story for a young lady who has unlimited potential but was at the risk of disengaging with school and not even completing a Year Ten or equivalent qualification. So by actually accessing the portal and having a look at the range of options for her she’s been able to identify an area that’s of interest for her and now has undergone a Structured Workplace Learning environment where she can see the relevance for herself, her learning, and a future.
My experience at EACH has really helped for what my plans are in the future for my career. I am now hoping to finish my Certificate Three in Business and my experience at EACH has helped me think a lot more about extending my certificate to a higher level which will help me in my near future and let me experience more possibilities for my future. Doing this work placement has opened up a job opportunity for me as well, so that has been good - not only have I learnt new things, it has connected up with TAFE course, and I have actually been offered a casual job.
The bigger the portal grows, the more big industries will come on board, which means there’s going to be greater security in programs and greater validity in what’s being offered to these young people, which means better options for them in the future.
EACH has had a small relationship with the Outer Eastern LLEN for a few years and then over the last year with the Structured Workplace Learning Portal being developed, we have developed that even further and it has grown, so this has allowed us to develop a great relationship and that will then increase our relationship with the local schools that are actually working with those students to have placements with us.