The School Pathways to VET Award recognises eligible organisations including schools, registered training organisations, industry bodies and employers that have collaboratively delivered an excellent vocational education and training program to secondary school students.
Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College (SCCVC), a senior secondary college in Sydney, is committed to providing high quality vocational education and training (VET) and supporting young adults to graduate as the most skillful and employable people they can be.
Founding Principal, Patrick O’Reilly, admits to being “blown away” when SCCVC received the School Pathways to VET Award for the second time in three years. The college was also a finalist in 2011, only a year after commencing.
This string of Australian Training Awards stands Patrick in good stead as he advocates for the place of VET in Schools and its unique value as an educational pathway, something he feels is particularly recognised in countries like Germany and Switzerland where there are low rates of youth unemployment and strong community-wide investment in skilling youth for the future.
SCCVC has more than 100 students enrolled in Australian School-based Apprenticeships. Learning Facilitators provide expert support for literacy, numeracy and soft skills development, as well as mentoring students in their workplace experiences.
This is complemented by strong business and industry partnerships with over 600 businesses, many of whom have become strong advocates for VET and the work of SCCVC.
“There’s a real sense of connection and engagement,” says Patrick.
“Our 2015 application focused on our ongoing development in these areas and our award says to me that we are getting things right. It’s a testament to our staff and broader community.”
Students and their families obviously agree. Students come from more than 50 schools to enter Years 11 and 12 at SCCVC, with some students travelling up to two hours each way. In addition, the college has over 100 students who are enrolled at other schools but attend SCCVC for one VET course.
“Students come from diverse backgrounds that create an exceptionally rich community, and no matter what their school experience up to Year 10, they start on a fresh footing here. They blossom in character and maturity – lives are changed.”