Shepparton News - - FRONT PAGE - By Liz Mellino

Part­ner­ing for suc­cess was the key mes­sage shared at a Goul­burn Ovens In­sti­tute of TAFE stake­holder break­fast held in Shep­par­ton yes­ter­day.

Stake­hold­ers from lo­cal gov­ern­ment, busi­ness and in­dus­try heard from GOTAFE chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Travis Heeney about the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s vi­sion for the fu­ture, strate­gic plans, new ap­proaches for stake­holder en­gage­ment and new op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able for the re­gion.

Mr Heeney ad­dressed plans for a re­newed com­mit­ment to com­mu­nity en­gage­ment in the area af­ter ac­knowl­edg­ing the chal­leng­ing times faced by the com­pany dur­ing the past 12 months.

‘‘There are is­sues in our re­gion that we all need to col­lec­tively work to­gether to over­come,’’ Mr Heeney said.

‘‘To make sure we can meet these work­force de­mands of to­mor­row, train­ing is ab­so­lutely vi­tal . . . we need to make sure we are pro­vid­ing TAFE stu­dents with ex­cel­lent skills to al­low them to se­cure em­ploy­ment.’’

With 19 000 peo­ple ex­pected to be em­ployed in the next 10 years in the Hume re­gion, Mr Heeney said GOTAFE was fo­cus­ing on up­skilling the work­force of the fu­ture.

He high­lighted the gov­ern­ment’s Free TAFE for Pri­or­ity Cour­ses ini­tia­tive, which aimed to re­duce the fi­nan­cial bar­rier for stu­dents want­ing to train in cour­ses that led to pri­or­ity oc­cu­pa­tions.

GOTAFE will be de­liv­er­ing 48 of these cour­ses, in­clud­ing a Cer­tifi­cate 3 in Tourism, Cer­tifi­cate 3 in Agriculture Dairy Pro­duc­tion, Cer­tifi­cate 4 in Men­tal Health and a Diploma of Nurs­ing, all start­ing in Jan­uary.

Alex Rance, from GOTAFE part­ner The Acad­emy, also spoke at the break­fast and of­fered in­sight into the Year 11 and Year 12 school he and busi­ness part­ner Luke Su­race opened three years ago.

The Acad­emy is an AFL draft school which pro­vides full-time ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing pro­grams that fit the needs of emerg­ing elite ath­letes.

The Rich­mond Foot­ball Club player stressed the im­por­tance of teach­ing stu­dents real-world skills and keep­ing them en­gaged in their school­ing by fol­low­ing their unique pas­sions.

‘‘We con­tex­tu­alised the cur­ricu­lum to what the stu­dents were pas­sion­ate about . . . the stu­dents are pas­sion­ate about foot­ball, the teach­ers are pas­sion­ate about foot­ball and Luke and I are pas­sion­ate about foot­ball and the environment it can cre­ate,’’ he said.

‘‘From that we have cre­ated an amaz­ing amount of pos­i­tive en­gage­ment, where all the stu­dents are con­nected and en­gaged, which is usu­ally un­heard of.’’ ● GOTAFE Shep­par­ton is host­ing an open day this Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 14, at its Fry­ers St Campus from 10 am to 2 pm.

Pic­tures: Me­gan Fisher

Proud: The Acad­emy’s Alex Rance (far left) and Luke Su­race (far right) with GOTAFE board chair Joanne Dwyer and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Travis Heeney.

All smiles: Sarah Jane Di Petta, Sarah Poppa, Mor­gan Marx, and Amanda Bent­ley.

Keen: Su­san Huf­fer and Donna Sher­ring­ham.

Gain­ing in­sight: GOTAFE’s Josephine Spencer and Ross Gra­ham.

En­gag­ing: Rich­mond foot­ball player Alex Rance spoke about his school The Acad­emy, which is based on teach­ing real-world skills and keep­ing stu­dents en­gaged by fol­low­ing their pas­sions.

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