In­no­va­tive pro­gram sees stu­dents work­ing harder

Benalla Ensign - - News -

Be­nalla’s young peo­ple are be­ing saved from a pos­si­ble life­time of un­em­ploy­ment thanks to an in­no­va­tive pro­gram run by the To­mor­row To­day Foun­da­tion in part­ner­ship with Be­nalla P-12 and FCJ Col­lege.

The Hands-on Learn­ing pro­gram gives stu­dents the con­fi­dence and skills to suc­ceed and com­plete their school­ing.

Peter Janas was a teacher in­volved in the pro­gram at Be­nalla P-12 Col­lege for five years and said the ben­e­fits he saw were re­mark­able.

‘‘The young peo­ple over­came is­sues that were hold­ing them back, such as lack of con­fi­dence, learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties or fam­ily pres­sures,’’ Mr Janas said.

‘‘Through the pro­gram they dis­cov­ered they had skills and other at­tributes that are val­ued by the com­mu­nity.

‘‘A num­ber of stu­dents take part in Hands-on Learn­ing be­cause they have dis­en­gaged from school.

‘‘If they had con­tin­ued to stay away from school and didn’t get an ed­u­ca­tion, they may never have found a job and would more likely be look­ing at a fu­ture on wel­fare.

‘‘The fact that the pro­gram helped some young peo­ple to deal with their is­sues re­ally turned in­di­vid­ual lives around.

‘‘Hands-on Learn­ing is a small group of 10 stu­dents who work with adults on real projects, such as main­te­nance or build­ing things like pub­lic seat­ing.

‘‘We use real tools and treat the stu­dents as adults. For sev­eral I worked with, it led to school-based ap­pren­tice­ships and jobs.

‘‘It’s re­ally re­ward­ing to see that growth in your stu­dents.’’

Mr Janas said through Hands-on Learn­ing’s com­mu­nity projects, the com­mu­nity had gained in­fra­struc­ture it would not have oth­er­wise.

‘‘Work­ing on this in­fra­struc­ture re­con­nected some of the stu­dents with the wider com­mu­nity, which ben­e­fits ev­ery­one in Be­nalla,’’ Mr Janas said.

Foun­da­tion ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Pat Clar­idge said the key to over­com­ing dis­ad­van­tage was ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘The school re­sults show a drop in ab­sen­teeism and sus­pen­sion rates for 12 to 16 year-old stu­dents in Be­nalla in the time the Hands-on Learn­ing pro­gram has been run­ning,’’ Ms Clar­idge said.

‘‘This means more of Be­nalla’s young peo­ple are bet­ter en­gaged at school and con­tin­u­ing their ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘Like Peter, we are de­lighted to see the ben­e­fits for in­di­vid­ual stu­dents from the sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment Hands-on Learn­ing pro­vides.

‘‘We look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to as­sist stu­dents to re-en­gage with their ed­u­ca­tion and their com­mu­nity, af­ter all they are our fu­ture.’’

Ben­e­fi­cial: Stu­dents take part in Hands-on Learn­ing.

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