IT was smiles all round when seven members of the St Johns work crew graduated with a Certificate I in Work Education from Wodonga TAFE.
The course focused on developing vocational skills.
It incorporated five units of competency including – Contribute to the health and safety of yourself and others, working effectively with others, participate in vocational activities, develop interpersonal skills in the workplace and being an effective volunteer.
During the past year team members have been involved with a range of work environments and have completed revegetation projects at Wonga Wetlands in Albury, they have also learned skills involved in garden maintenance and construction.
They have also broadened their skills by taking part in camping and fishing trips and a visit to the Wodonga TAFE Driver Training facility at Barnawartha.
One of their proudest achievements has been the establishment of Spongies, a car wash business they operate from the Mercy Connect, Lavington that has become very popular with staff and the surrounding community.
As part of establishing the business team members developed their own business plan, acquired necessary equipment and designed their own uniforms.
Teacher, Jenni Myers said participants had gained skills and confidence that would enable them to be valuable members of the work force.
“We have seen a real change in their skills as they have developed through the year and it has been a great opportunity to improve their communication, learn teamwork skills and learn about occupation health and safety,’’ she said.
“It has been a terrific way of merging education with what they are already doing.
“And it has given them the opportunity to be involved in another network.
“Taking part in the course has given them some idea of things they can get involved in.
“And it has been a good chance to experience employment opportunities they may not otherwise get.’’
Participant, Peter MacMurray said he had enjoyed the experience with the fishing trip being a highlight.
“The teachers were really good and I really enjoyed learning new skills,’’ he said.
Team member, Robbie Forrester said he had gained valuable experience from the program.
“I liked everything about it and the teachers were great,’’ he said.
“I really enjoyed planting trees at Wonga Wetlands.
“I have been able to use what I learned in what I am doing.
“And I hope that the skills I have learned will help me get a job”
The seven participants were Peter MacMurray, Troy Murray, Shaune Cashion, Paul Cahoon, Daniel Quinn, Robbie Forrester and Kyle Sullivan.
Wodonga TAFE teachers were, Jenni Myers, Anne-Marie Beer and John Moyle.