Maitland students snag a chance at trade career

It was a special day yesterday for a group of Year 10 students from Francis Greenway High School.

Since October 2017, the students have been involved in the construction of a purpose-built barbecue trailer at HVTC’s Skills Centre in Rutherford.

Sione Vahai and Cain Giles fired up the barbecue yesterday to present the second and final stage of the trailer, which is now fully kitted out and ready to be delivered to Francis Greenway High School where it will be available for use by local community organisations.

The boys spent six weeks with HVTC trainers Kevin Welton and Peter Chapman learning how to weld and use hand and power tools. They were also involved in purchasing, monitoring costs and project planning and had the opportunity to speak with suppliers and sales staff to identify the best options for what they needed to achieve.

Their work followed on from the work completed by stage one participants, Sione’s brother Steven and Ethan Kulupach. Under the guidance of HVTC’s Elliot Burns, Ethan and Steven also gained experience with hand/power tools and welding before presenting their stage of the project on 15 December 2017.

The project has been the result of a collaboration between HVTC, Francis Greenway High School and the Maitland Community Drug Action Team (CDAT).

Alcohol and Drug Foundation Senior Community Development Officer Gail Easton said the main objective of the CDAT is primary prevention of drug and alcohol related issues among young Australians.

“Through projects like this, we aim to engage young people through real experiences that give them a sense of purpose,” she said.
“We want to show them [youth] there are good pathways they can take in life and inspire them to make good decisions.”

Francis Greenway High School Career/VET/CAT Adviser, Kate Taylor said the students have loved every minute of this project and have learnt a range of new skills.

“As the Careers Advisor I get to speak to all students about the different career pathways available and this project was a great way to introduce students to a hands-on trade,” she said.

“Ethan, one of the students from stage 1, is now at Hunter Trade College and is pursuing a career in carpentry. He put his hand up for this initiative because he knew the skills he would learn would complement the carpentry trade.”

“I really wanted our school to get involved in a project like this. I knew HVTC had partnered with other schools in the local community on similar projects and I realised the potential. It has been a wonderful collaborative project.”

HVTC CEO Sharon Smith thanked the CDAT and Francis Greenway High School for making this project happen and congratulated the students for their efforts.

“It was wonderful to see how enthusiastic Sione, Cain, Ethan and Steven have been throughout this project," she said.

"This initiative was designed to give them a taste of a hands-on trade and they’ve learnt a new set of skills that will serve them well if they choose to pursue the vocational education and training pathway.

“They’ve also helped give back to the community by producing a barbecue trailer that will become an asset that can be used by the school and other local community organisations.

“I’d also like to thank our trainers who went above and beyond to support the boys and help them make the most out of this experience.”

Students and HVTC trainer cooking a barbecue on a purpose-built trailer