July 28th, 2016

Unable to carry out his career safely in his hometown of Baghdad, Nader Sameer took up training at TAFE in an effort to lead a better life, just one of the life changing stories that have emerged from Vocational Education. Throughout August and September, National Skills Week will celebrate VET’s ability to change and enhance people’s lives, in and out of the workplace.

Within six weeks, Nader’s life has changed for the better and a bricklaying course he completed has landed him work, giving him an opportunity to start again in a country that embraces, and is in need of skilled workers like Nader. In an interview with Fairfax Media, Nader said he is looking forward to supporting his family and giving back to his local community in Australia. Vocational Education gives people not only work skills, but also life skills to enable them to be actively involved in the workforce, participate in community work and take part in social activities.

The digitised age has seen many new job avenues open to all Australians, of all backgrounds, who are either looking to enter the workforce, or change career paths. To meet new Industry challenges brought about by the increased use of digital programs and technological equipment, TAFE has established a number of courses to assist people in gaining everyday skills to succeed, in and out of the office.

Starting on July 21st, Wauchope TAFE in New South Wales has created a new computer course for those wanting to learn how to survive the computer age, and gain basic computer skills. The course is catered to anyone who feels disadvantaged in using online services; whether it is to do basic tasks such as pay bills and book tickets, or use a computer for work tasks.

“There are many online services available to people, for instance Centrelink and Roads and Maritime Services through the internet,” Leonie Nilson, Head Teacher of Education, Employment and Support recently told the Port Macquarie Express. “But if people are not comfortable using a computer then they can miss out on the opportunity to access these.”

Further challenges presented by the digital age are new health risks on the job, especially with electrical and mechanical equipment. A new project run by Chisholm TAFE in Melbourne, Victoria, with Melbourne’s Insight Education Centre is making it a priority for people and students to be more aware of their surroundings, use equipment safely and understand the consequences if they do not follow safe working procedures, all lessons that carry into day-to-day activities.

National Skills Week in August will bring greater understanding to VET, and its many work and life benefits.

“Vocation Education prepares people for the workforce, and gives them many lessons that can help them lead a more active, secure and informed life, such as giving them skills so that they can confidently take part in daily communication activities, such as emailing, making bookings, and using social media,” says Kirstin Casey, General Manager at SkillsOne.

“Australian Training Award’s Alumni are great examples of individuals that have chosen a VET pathway and emerged as not only skilled workers, but also professional people in everyday life.”

Australian Training Award’s 2015 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Philadelphia Hughes said her studies with VET were life changing.

“To receive such recognition for all the hard work and effort is wonderful, especially when it’s for something I love doing. It also means I can get my story out to the wider community to tell others that they can do this as well,” Philadelphia said.

With a strong desire to further her career, Philadelphia undertook a Certificate IV in Frontline Management, a move that up skilled her and allowed her to begin a university degree, after winning the Most Outstanding Student award at Charles Darwin University. She believes VET has shaped her to become open to challenges in her professional and personal life.

“The communication skills I learned helped me in my volunteer work as Aboriginal Student Ambassador at CDU, as well as in my role as a Lifeline telephone volunteer crisis supporter,” she said.

VET continues to assist people from all walks of life in creating a career that is fulfilling and rewarding. Providing technical and practical skills is one thing, but providing life skills and improving the confidence of students sets VET as a highly valuable entity to Australia’s workforce and community.

For further information on Philadelphia’s story or that of other Australian Training Awards Alumni and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors visit https://www.australiantrainingawards.gov.au and https://www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au/australian-apprenticeships-ambassadors-program

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