Student Achievements Recognised at Graduations

GOTAFE students formally celebrated the successful completion of their respective courses at graduation ceremonies held during March.

Almost 400 graduands from GOTAFE’s various campuses were formally presented with graduation certificates along with some of their fellow classmates. The ceremonies were also attended by family, friends and GOTAFE staff to support the student’s achievements.

The students completed courses in a number of study fields including educational development, business, information technology, community services, health and nursing, hair and beauty, hospitality, learning skills and multicultural education during 2014.

The graduation ceremony also recognises students who demonstrated outstanding achievement during their course;

  • Centre Achievement Award for Health & Nursing – Caroline Albers
  • Centre Achievement Award for Community Services (Aged Care) – Susan Bender
  • Centre Achievement Award for Community Services (Children’s Services) – Bethany Mugford
  • Centre Achievement Award for Multicultural – Gideon Nyangela
  • Centre Achievement Award for Health & Nursing – Suzanne Sherr
  • Centre Achievement Award for Health & Nursing – Melanie Stone
  • Centre Achievement Award for Performing and Theatre Arts – Ashley Merbach
  • Centre Achievement Award for Health & Nursing – Emma Brooke Morrison

Guests and students also had the opportunity to hear from Daniel Flynn, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Thankyou Group, a business venture he founded at just 19 years of age. The Thankyou Group has donated in excess of $1,000,000 to provide clean drinking water, health and hygiene projects and short term food aid to those in need by donating the profits from the sale of Thankyou products.

Daniel spoke to the students about his experiences, inspiring them to pursue their passion even through the setbacks and the triumphs that come hand in hand with new business ventures, he also challenged them to question ‘the way things have always been done’ to find new and innovative approaches to achieving an successful outcome.

GOTAFE delivers vocational education and training to almost 20,000 students annually with a number of campuses across North East Victoria, the Goulburn Valley, across Victoria and increasingly interstate with a large number of courses being offered online.

GOTAFE Students Offer a Taste of Harmony

GOTAFE staff and students are set to attend events across the region in celebration of Cultural Diversity Week, March 14-21.

Cultural Diversity Week celebrates the harmony Australia has achieved in our short history and for fifteen years, these celebrations have been capped off with Harmony Day. ‘Taste of Harmony’ events are held nationally as a fun way for communities to share their culture and food. On Friday, March 20 students from GOTAFE’s Multicultural Education Unit are hosting such an event with ‘a taste of the world’ offered in exchange for a smile.

From family oriented community days at the local park to loud and proud ‘walks to recognition, Cultural Diversity Week events provide an opportunity for all to express and celebrate their culture and faith. The theme for Cultural Diversity Week in2015 is Strengthening our Community.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 46.8% of Victorians were either born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas. Our diversity then, underpins our way of life in Victoria. It creates a more productive, creative and dynamic society and improves our ability to see and connect with the world around us.

If one thing unites such diversity, it is food. So, join us under the sails at our Fryers Street campus in Shepparton on Friday 20th March from 12pm – 1pm for a taste of Harmony.

GOTAFE Launches Online Certificate III in Production Horticulture

GOTAFE, in partnership with Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses magazine, have announced the launch of an online Certificate III in Production Horticulture course at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA2015), being held in Abu Dhabi, United Arabs Emirates. The GOTAFE Certificate III is the first Australian accredited Production Horticulture course to be offered online to overseas participants. The online course is particularly aimed at owner/managers and farm hands employed in the greenhouse horticulture industry.

“A key element to the success of sustainable food production, to feed a growing global population, is relevant training programs,” said Steven Carruthers, Publisher and Managing Editor of Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses magazine.

“Over the next several years and decades, the demand for high-quality, nutritious food will grow, as will the importance of training programs to ensure successful food production outcomes.

Mr Carruthers added that Australia is noted for its clean, green image, and the GOTAFE online courses reflect Australia’s high standard in greenhouse horticulture production.

“Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses is proud to support the GOTAFE series of certificate courses, which are stepping stones to higher education including, but not limited to, university training where graduates can specialise in horticultural interests,” said Mr Carruthers.

An innovative feature of the GOTAFE online courses is the adaptability of the training platform, which can be modified to meet individual horticultural interest and activities. Its editing features ensure training programs remain up-to-date.

“The great thing about the platform we are using is that we can quickly edit the content; add links to articles; add new information; and, keep it relevant and up-to-date,” said Leigh Taig, the principle trainer, Controlled Environment Horticulture, at GOTAFE.

Mr Taig said that training programs such as the GOTAFE series of online courses will fill a gap in the international horticulture training market, with affordable courses conveniently accessible to growers and farm hands, wherever they are located.

“Although there are no admission qualification requirements for the Certificate III in Production Horticulture course, participants should have basic literacy and numeracy skills and be employed or seeking a career path in a relevant horticultural business,” said Mr Taig.

On completion of the online Certificate III in Production Horticulture, graduates will be able to maintain hydroponic systems, implement a plant nutrition program, install irrigation systems, operate fertigation equipment, implement a propagation plan, collect and record production data, operate/maintain machinery and equipment in a workplace-based environment, and co-ordinate work site activities, among other on-farm activities.

Senator Visits GOTAFE to Discuss Educational Opportunities in India

GOTAFE General Manager for Education, Margie Fixter, met with Senator Bridget McKenzie at the GOTAFE’s Docker Street Campus, Wangaratta to discuss her recent visit to India.

Ms Fixter was part of a 400 -strong delegation that travelled to India to investigate opportunities in agricultural trade, education and training expertise with a focus on Dairy. Specifically she shared her learning in regard to educational opportunities with Senator McKenzie.

“Senator McKenzie and I have had a long running professional friendship. We are both passionate about expanding educational opportunities for our community, also we both understand the importance of pursuing international agricultural opportunities, especially from a regional perspective to promote diversity and growth,” said Ms Fixter.

“I was overwhelmed by the interest in vocational education in India, and I shared with Bridget my surprise and pleasure at the sheer strength of demand for Dairy education, especially in rural Indian communities.

“For GOTAFE that demand opens up the potential to extend its services in vocational education into international agricultural markets.

“I am always interested in looking at how other countries run their businesses and how other educational providers operate in a rural setting. Indians really value agriculture, and interestingly 70% of milk production is undertaken by local co-operatives – people in villages who have just one to two cows.

“Bridget and I also share a passion for India and its people. It was emotionally quite moving to come to understand how much the local communities contribute to milk production, and therefore the agriculture industry, dairy farming and education is a real vehicle for social change in India.”

Margie went on to say that the other 30% of milk production comes from medium-sized enterprises with perhaps 50 to 100 cows, and that just a few very large corporate farms exist.

The delegation was part of a trade mission to observe what Australian services could offer to Indian farmers. The partnership between GOTAFE and NCDE enabled Margie to attend in order to share her learnings with the GOTAFE community and beyond.

Local Bakery Takes out Title of Australia’s Best Hot Cross Bun

Local business Mooroopna Bakery took out the title of the Nation’s Best Hot Cross Bun at the annual Baking Show in Shepparton held on Saturday, 21 February.
GOTAFE Baking Department hosted the event the Baking Association of Australia (BAA) event and GOTAFE Trainer Kim Banfield said he was thrilled that Mooroopna Bakery took out the title.
“I am excited to have the trophy back in the Goulburn Valley,” said Kim.
“Mooroopna Bakery won the national title two years ago in 2013 and Tatura Bakery won the title in 2012 and 2011, last year it went to Stawell’s Waaks Bakery so we have had great regional success with our locally produced hot cross buns” said Kim.
“It also sweetens the win because GOTAFE has had a lot to do with Mooroopna Bakery over the years and has trained a number of their apprentices.

“Aside from the title of Nation’s Best Hot Cross Bun there were 36 competition categories including pies and pastries, cakes and variety of breads including artisan breads and awards that recognised outstanding exhibitors.

“We had a record number of entries and attendees with 97 exhibitors/bakeries entering 543 pieces of product along with 122 people attending demonstrations and the awards dinner on the Saturday.

“This year the event was open to the public, it was great for the community to be involved, see the local talent in action, even take home some tips for themselves and have the opportunity to view our facilities, unless you are a student you might not even realise what baking and hospitality facilities we have at GOTAFE.”

During the event, GOTAFE staff were on hand to assist with demonstrations and displays as well as providing use of the GOTAFE baking facilities. The weekend comprised of presentations from specialist bakers, demonstrating their skills with artisan breads and also workshops focussed on assisting bakers with the running of their business.
The event provides an ideal opportunity for bakers and employers to attend, compete and test their skills at one location over one weekend and during the two days they also get to learn from other bakers as well as participate in live demonstrations presented by industry representatives.

For a comprehensive list of winners and for more information visit