Awards were presented to the top VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) students in each year level from Warrnambool, Hamilton, Portland and Colac campuses.
South West TAFE VCAL Senior Educator Emma McDonald said the night was about showcasing the work the students had completed throughout the year with each group making a presentation to show their family, friends, colleagues and industry partners.
“This is the first time we’ve held an awards night for our VCAL students and it’s so exciting to be able to congratulate our students for all of their hard work.
“We’ve had high enrolments this year, our courses are growing and our students have achieved outstanding results. This night is all about celebrating that,” she said.
Mrs McDonald said students had spent a lot of time working at schools and in the community and it was great to see so many of our community partners attend the awards night to recognise these students.
Warrnambool’s Senior VCAL Student of the Year award was won by Josh Hicks who completed Foundation, Intermediate and Senior VCAL with South West TAFE and is planning to continue his studies next year.
“I was experiencing anxiety early in my secondary schooling so I dropped out of education for three years.
“I tried a number of different options, but when I found out about VCAL at South West TAFE it worked for me.
“Thanks to the teachers and support staff I was able to overcome my anxiety. I was able to see what options were open to me,” he said.
Josh said he was excited to be finishing his VCAL studies and already had plans to start a Certificate III in Information Technology at South West TAFE next year.
“I’m always helping people out fixing their IT problems and it’s something I really enjoy so I’ll see where it takes me,” he said.
South West TAFE Executive Manager of Education Louise Cameron said it was really important to have an alternative option such as VCAL to allow students to have the opportunity to complete their high school education.
VCAL is fast becoming recognised as the option for students to complete their year 10, 11 and 12 in an alternative way.
In the past two years SWTAFE numbers of VCAL students have grown by more than 30 per cent with the 2019 enrolment at 170 students.
“South West TAFE offers a range of courses that provide the skills, knowledge and confidence for students to gain employment.
“Students who study at TAFE and go on to further studies in higher education have a lot of advantages as they have learnt the practical skills, have an understanding of their industry and are work-ready on completion of their degree,” she said.