Pathways to employment
These days it is common for people to be uncertain about what career path to choose – and acceptable for them to change their mind, many times.
Some secondary students aspire to complete year 12 and attend university to further study and some take a ‘gap’ year to work to save money or travel.
Others participate in a Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning, VCAL, course during their VCE years, completing on-the-job training and gaining industry experience to find their passion.
Former Horsham College student Grace Christian chose the VCAL pathway and it has paid dividends.
In year 11, Grace studied Certificate II in Hairdressing at Federation University through a Vocational Education and Training program.
She also completed on-the-job structured workplace learning in a salon one day a week.
After wondering if hairdressing was the career path she wanted to take, Grace changed her structured workplace learning elective to community services.
At the end of year 11, Grace decided she wanted to be a hairdresser. She enrolled in her second-year VET course, Certificate II Salon Assistant.
Grace started year 12 and switched her structured workplace learning component to work at Sirs and Hers Hair studio, now known as George and Co.
Two weeks into her placement, an apprenticeship became available and Grace threw her hat in the ring.
“I wanted to finish year 12 but I was really enjoying my time in the salon and my dad was really supportive of me leaving school for an apprenticeship,” Grace said.
George and Co owner Michelle Shanks offered Grace a two-week, full-time trial to ensure leaving school was the right decision.
“I didn’t want to stop Grace from completing year 12, I wanted her to make sure this was what she truly wanted,” she said.
“Grace is so mature for her age and she reminded me of myself. She has a great work ethic and fits in with the team here at George and Co.”
Grace was offered the position and is now employed full time as a first- year apprentice. Reception duties, smiling and greeting the clients who come into the salon, learning the product range, washing hair, general cleaning duties and helping assist other stylists apply colour are all tasks Grace is learning on the job.
“I really enjoy working with the team here, they are so friendly and willing to share their knowledge with me,” Grace said.
“I have a passion for creative colour. I would like to specialise in colour when I qualify.”
Grace will be required to attend trade school as part of her apprenticeship.
She said there was still some discussion as to where, but Geelong looked promising.
Grace said trade school offered a challenge but she looked forward to being independent.
“I’ve never had to stay away from home before, but it will be a great learning curve for me,” she said.
Grace said she was thrilled with the outcome after exploring opportunities available through the VCAL program at Horsham College.
People can call Wimmera Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network on 5381 0122 for information about VET courses or structured workplace learning opportunities.
OPTIONS: Former Horsham College student Grace Christian has reaped the rewards of participating in Vocational Education and Training and structured workplace learning programs, landing an apprenticeship at Horsham salon George and Co. Picture: MELISSA...