If there’s anything that makes Helen Grant proud, it’s motivating members of the younger generation to see the amazing opportunities that a vocational education and training (VET) certification can offer.
Helen knows first-hand what she’s talking about. She’s is a professional chef by trade, having completed a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery. After years in hospitality, Helen completed a Certificate IV in Training and found herself at the head of the classroom at Taminmin College in Humpty Doo outside of Darwin.
A registered training organisation, Taminmin is a rural school catering for students from years 7 to 12. If offers a range of VET courses and has a 75-hectare mixed produce farm.
From 2007 to 2012, Helen trained students in Certificate I Hospitality, Certificate II Kitchen Operations, Middle and Senior School Home Economics, Senior Child Studies and Food and Hospitality.
‘We have a shortage of qualified people in the hospitality industry in the Northern Territory and across Australia,’ says Helen. ‘VET provides nationally recognised qualifications and gives students the chance to get great jobs and build a better life, so these courses are valuable.’
After years of teaching, Helen found herself studying again, this time completing a Certificate IV in Career Development (2013). She became Taminmin’s career advisor for students aged 14 to 17, working closely with them to steer them into the right career pathways, with many advancing to certificate levels offered at Charles Darwin University.
‘It’s been great to see so many students advance to higher certifications that Taminmin is not able to offer, as well as diploma level, and many have even competed in WorldSkills Australia competitions,’ says Helen, who also has a Bachelor in Secondary Education (2006), Charles Darwin University.
In 2017, Helen moved back into the classroom motivating even more students to see VET as a valued educational pathway, and one that offers careers not just jobs. She trains students in Certificate I Hospitality and Certificate II Kitchen Operations.
Helen 2012 Northern Territory VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year and their finalist at the 2012 Australian Training Awards.
The award raised Helen’s profile and, just as importantly, the profile of her school. ‘The kids were also really proud,’ says Helen.
For Helen success through VET is about being ‘happy doing what you’re doing and staying passionate about your career choice’.
As an Australian VET Alumni member, Helen is keen to educate others about the value of VET. ‘Having a trade is a backbone to life; a foundation you can build on,’ says Helen. ‘I want people to understand the bigger picture and the possibilities that come out of nationally recognised qualifications.’ For Helen, VET offers greater employability skills, greater job security, greater earning potential and greater choices for work option. ‘It’s inspiring,’ she says.