Hands-on learning

Design and technology teacher Shane Alderdice with his class.
Design and technology teacher Shane Alderdice with his class.

A PRIME educational hub is working wonders for students of four regional schools that are intent on providing employment opportunities for their students.

The Orana Trade Training Centre (OTTC) is in its first year and is already seeing students in years 11 and 12 focus their attention on a subject area key to their futures.

Students of hospitality, metal and engineering and primary industries have started their intensive classes at the centre, which is located on the grounds of St John's College.

Students of St John's, Dubbo Christian School, Macquarie Anglican Grammar School and St Mary's School in Wellington have the opportunity to attain a "realistic" educational experience in their scheduled two-hour lessons.

Flexible timetables have enabled the delivery of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) frameworks to start out of normal school hours

St John’s College assistant principal Lyn Ukena said students could start their day at 8.15am and on other days finish at 4.45pm, to get the most out of their lessons.

“In such practical subjects, it’s more realistic for the students to have a block of time to work on their competencies,” she said.

“A hospitality student, for example, would start as early as 8.15 and have sufficient time to prepare, cook, serve and clean up in the lesson time. Students can also work towards the end of the day and stay untill after school.”

The flexible times also provide opportunities for individual students from the consortium schools to join VET classes being offered by St John’s College in the Orana Trade Training Centre.

There are five classes from St John’s and Dubbo Christian studying hospitality, two metal and engineering classes from years 11 and 12 and two primary industry classes.

Ms Ukena said the students had been very receptive to the learning environment.

She said VET courses created an integrated pathway for all students in both academic streams and with a trade focus course of study

“Traditionally, our VET students are successful in acquiring an apprenticeship after they finished school. 

“The facilities of the Orana Trade Training Centre now provide the opportunities to develop skills in a first class facility.”

She said parents were amazed at the opportunities and the great partnership St John’s had with the other schools. “Not every school has access to these kinds of facilities. We’re lucky the OTTC has enabled us to enhance the curriculum and provide further opportunities for students from each of the consortium of schools,” she said.

The OTTC was seven years in the making. The principals from the four consortium schools collectively agreed the intelligent and sustainable features of the building would serve students for many years to come.


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