GOTAFE CEO fundraising to tackle homelessness


On the 20th June, GOTAFE CEO Travis Heeney is joining the fight against homelessness by participating in the 2019 Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

The event will see more than 80 business, community and government leaders sleep without shelter to help change the lives of Australians experiencing homelessness.

Mr Heeney said he was alarmed to hear the statistics for the regions GOTAFE operates in. More than 250 people across the Werribee region were homeless. In Shepparton it was more than 320 people, in Seymour 67 people, Benalla 42 people and Wangaratta 79 people.[1]

More than 4,400 people were living in poverty[2] in the Wangaratta region. In Werribee it was 5,700 people, Shepparton 3,880 people, Seymour 900 people and Benalla 1,300 people.

As business leaders it’s important to do all we can to highlight the plight of the most vulnerable members of our community. Through our actions and fundraising efforts, we hope to help to improve the lives of people who live within our communities.”

The funds raised will assist the St Vincent De Paul Society with projects across Victoria.

Mr Heeney stated “GOTAFE is committed to providing a welcoming, respectful and inclusive environment for all, in the communities that we serve. To ensure these principles are embedded in everything we do we are developing a Social Justice Charter to guide and inform our programs and priorities.”

The development of the Social Justice Charter will be guided by a community reference group incorporating a broad range of representatives.

The CEO Sleepout will allow participants to hear first-hand from people experiencing homelessness and experience what some people endure each and every night. “I am sure it will be a very humbling experience.” Mr Heeney said.

This year, Vinnie’s fundraising goal is $1.1 million. Mr Heeney is calling on industry, business, community organisations and individuals to donate to this cause. To help support Mr Heeney’s fundraising please visit https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/fundraisers/travisheeney/melbourne

[1] Source: ABS 2016 Census Data – https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-20/homelessness-mapped-australia-by-suburb/9551556

[2] Source: Victorian Council of Social Service Data – http://www.povertymaps.vcoss.org.au/

GOTAFE beauty graduate opts to stay local


At only 24 years of age, GOTAFE alumni and beautician Vanessa Sibio has opened her own beauty salon, Ciao Bella Beauty Lounge, in Shepparton.

Vanessa began as a GOTAFE Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) student, which sparked her passion for the industry. By end of Year 11 she was a fully qualified beautician.

After completing her Victorian Certificate of Education, Vanessa continued to build on her VETiS knowledge and completed both a Diploma and Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy.

Vanessa said she had benefited from the ability to study locally at GOTAFE.

“I chose to enrol in GOTAFE because it was the most convenient and offered flexibility that let me continue to work while studying at home,” said Vanessa.

“Not having to move away made it a lot easier and I was able to save money.”

A week after completing her studies with GOTAFE, Vanessa began full-time employment with Wellsprings Day Spa in Shepparton.

She said the skills and hands-on industry experience gained from her studies ensured a smooth transition into a real-world environment.

Her time at Wellsprings Day Spa further encouraged Vanessa to take the next step of opening her own salon.

Since opening Ciao Bella Beauty Lounge, Vanessa has been kept busy with appointments.

Ciao Bella Beauty Lounge is in Fryers St, Shepparton, across the road from GOTAFE’s campus.

“I love the fact that GOTAFE is where I trained and now I have been able to open my own shop just across the road,” she said.

GOTAFE trainers attend PD workshops during April


Pictured: GOTAFE Trainers Anne Leavette-Brown and Amanda McInnes with guest facilitator Shauna Farey.

During April, GOTAFE teaching staff had the opportunity to attend one of 10 on campus professional development workshops. The workshops were an initiative of the team responsible for the Educators Passport.

Interim Executive Director of Education Louise Pearce said: “The aim of the professional development workshops was to assist teachers to continue to develop their VET knowledge and skills to meet the unique features of VET education and its students.

“The workshops were held on campus during the school holidays to give staff the best opportunity to attend, 198 registrations were received for the three days which is a wonderful result.

“We had three fantastic facilitators Andrew Douch, Karen Dymke and Shauna Farey all with educational backgrounds, who ran the workshops at Shepparton, Wangaratta and Benalla campuses.

“The workshop topics ranged from Determining competency of students to Using Apps to facilitate learning and Creating a dyslexia friendly classroom.

“We are thrilled with the success of the workshops, the fact that we offered them in convenient locations for staff and that each workshop provides credits to staff for their Educator Passport is contributing to the competency and development of teaching staff.”

Further workshops will be offered during May.

2018 graduates celebrate their success


2018 nursing graduates from GOTAFE’s Seymour campus​ celebrate their success at the graduations held During March

More than 250 GOTAFE graduates were honoured during March, at ceremonies held in Wangaratta, Benalla, Seymour and Shepparton.

The 2018 graduates, from a wide range of courses, were entertained by MCs Tim Campbell and Ella Hooper and enthralled by keynote speakers Tom O’Toole (from Beechworth Bakery) and shark attack survivor Paul de Gelder.

GOTAFE CEO Travis Heeney thanked the graduates for entrusting GOTAFE with their education and training needs, and said he was proud they had been given the opportunity to study locally and stay connected with their community, friends and family.

He said GOTAFE was determined to ensure the best possible training and employment outcomes for every student, and said the ceremonies were an acknowledgement of the work by students and GOTAFE’s educators.

“If our region’s future prosperity rests with the skills, knowledge, talent and spirit of our people then it is in good hands,” he said.

The graduation ceremonies recognised students who successfully completed their studies in 2018 across a range of study areas including business and IT, art and design, community services, health, animal sciences, and building and construction.

GOTAFE students access world-leading technology


An almost $170,000 synthetic human has made the long trip from Florida to Benalla – to benefit students studying Health & Community Services courses at GOTAFE.

The human anatomy technology model, which was developed by American company SynDaver Labs, was purchased with funding from the Victorian Government’s Regional and Specialist Training Fund (RSTF).

A Sectra Table, which is an interactive learning and teaching tool that uses real anatomy and clinical cases to develop critical thinking in critical training was also purchased through RSTF grant funding. This will be used for all applications across the health educational sector.

The RSTF program supports training for specific skills in regional and specialist areas that are not being met by the current training market.

GOTAFE’s interim education executive director, Louise Pearce, said GOTAFE was fortunate to be the only registered training organisation in Australia to have the SynDaver resource. “We are also the first VET training organisation to utilise a Sectra Table in our training programs. Up until now, it was a resource only available in university degree programs.”

“Our students will benefit enormously from being able to learn with the anatomy model and the interactive workstation,” said Ms Pearce.

The SynDaver Anatomy Model is an alternative to human cadavers in basic anatomy classes and has been designed to mimic the physical properties of live tissue.

The Sectra Table is a large, multi-touch medical display that uses real anatomy and clinical cases and allows students to interact with an image. Students can navigate inside the images, as well as remove layers of skin and muscle and dissect the body with a virtual knife.

“GOTAFE is proud to provide students with the opportunity to study locally, and having access to world-class facilities helps ensure they are job-ready when they finish their training,” said Ms Pearce.

GOTAFE seeks a dynamic and energetic executive team


After an extensive organisational review, GOTAFE are now seeking a dynamic, energetic executive team to lead the organisation through an exciting and ambitious transformation.

To learn more about these exciting opportunities, contact Melanie Pecanek (03) 9929 9587 or Jarrod McLauchlan (03) 9929 9515 from Davidson Recruitment Company.

To review the executive jobs available, please visit Davidson Recruiting Company.

Beechworth students tour GOTAFE’s National Equine Centre


Pictured: GOTAFE Trainer Rhonda McCallum with Beechworth Secondary Students Matilda, Ayla and Keely and ‘Jarvis’.

Sixteen students from Beechworth Secondary School toured GOTAFE’s National Centre for Equine Education in Wangaratta last week, to learn about study pathways and career opportunities in the equine industry.

The students, aged 12 to 17, also met GOTAFE trainers and explored the facilities at Wangaratta’s Regional Study Centre.

GOTAFE interim executive director of education Louise Pearce said: “The students toured our purpose-built equine facilities and stables, talked with, and learnt from, our trainers about horse health and horse care and were given an insight into studying equine with GOTAFE.

“We offer Certificate II in Equine Studies for Secondary School students through our VET in Schools program where they gain introductory, hands-on practical skills that set them up for a career in the equine industry.

“GOTAFE trainer Rhonda McCallum encouraged the students to think broadly about the careers available in equine, from event management for horse events to stable hands and veterinary nursing.”

Beechworth Secondary School teacher Laureen Barnard approached GOTAFE with the idea of the students visiting GOTAFE after she recognised the students had an interest in equine studies.

“A number of students showed an interest in learning more about horses, so I introduced an elective in equine studies,” she said.

“We have had a number of experts come to speak to the students and so when the students expressed an interest to learn about careers in the industry, I contacted GOTAFE.”

Year 7 student Matilda said: “I liked the tour of the facilities, the hands-on activity and taking photos of the horses. I thought studying equine would be fun and I was right.”

GOTAFE has various equine courses on offer and more information is available at www.gotafe.vic.edu.au

GOTAFE Announces Animal Science Winners


Pictured: GOTAFE Animal Science Student of the Year Linsey Bell with Stuart Kennedy from Ellar Laboratories (Major Sponsor).

Seven GOTAFE Wangaratta students scooped the awards at a dinner on Friday 22nd March, held to celebrate the achievements of the organisation’s animal sciences students.

The awards were presented by GOTAFE Board members Joanne Dwyer, Christine Riches and Angela Verde, CEO Travis Heeney, and teachers.

Graduating students from animal studies, pet grooming, companion animal services, veterinary nursing and pet styling were honoured at the dinner, which was also attended by families, friends and industry representatives.

The major winner was Linsey Bell, who received the Ellar Laboratories Student of the Year Award for 2018 and was awarded a $1000 travel voucher.

Animal sciences team leader Lesley Sanderson described Linsey as a quiet achiever and said: “Linsey was always the first to assist other students and her practical skills and theoretical knowledge are second to none.”

Linsey is now continuing her studies at GOTAFE, while working at ACE Veterinary Hospital in Euroa.

The award winners were:

Award  ​Student Home town​
​Ellar Laboratories Student of the Year Award ​Linsey Bell ​Tongala
​Rotary Club of Wangaratta Arthur Vickers Animal Studies Award ​Sarah Lyons ​Wangaratta
​Outstanding Achievement Award – Veterinary Nursing ​Jane Plunkett ​Lavington
​Outstanding Achievement Award – Grooming ​Brianna Cook ​Kennington
​Outstanding Achievement Award – Animal Sciences ​Mo’Eesha Saunders ​Yarrawonga
​Outstanding Achievement Award – Companion Animal ​Kayla Hall ​Wodonga
​Most Dedicated Student Award ​Tiffany Lacey ​Kinglake

Have your say in the future of training


GOTAFE students have the chance to have their say on the quality and relevance of their vocational education and training experiences in one of the largest surveys of its kind.

About 80,000 Victorians who undertook VET training in 2018 have been asked to provide their feedback through the 2019 Student Satisfaction Survey.

Students who completed or exited any VET courses provided by registered training providers in 2018 have been sent an invitation to complete the survey online, via SMS or by post. The survey only takes about 10 minutes to complete and asks students to share their views on teaching quality, relevance of skills learnt and how training has helped in achieving their goals.

The survey is open until 12 May and all students who take part are automatically entered in a draw and have a chance to win a share in $10,000 worth of prizes.

To participate in the survey:

  1. Visit: www.srcentre.com.au/ssat
  2. Click: Start Survey
  3. Enter the individual Login Code in your letter

The survey results will be used to continuously improve the quality of the state’s training and TAFE system and respond to changes in demand for workforce skills.

This is the best way for students to tell us their story. We want to know about your training experience with GOTAFE, so we encourage you to complete the survey to help us to make GOTAFE an even better place to learn.

For more information about the survey visit: www.srcentre.com.au/ssat

Ceremony Celebrates Wangaratta Graduates


About 100 GOTAFE Wangaratta campus graduates were honoured at a ceremony this week at the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre.

The 2018 graduates, from a wide range of courses, were entertained by MC Tim Campbell and enthralled by keynote speaker and shark attack survivor Paul de Gelder.

GOTAFE CEO Travis Heeney thanked the graduates for entrusting GOTAFE with their education and training needs, and said he was proud they had been given the opportunity to study locally and stay connected with their community, friends and family.

He said GOTAFE was determined to ensure the best possible training and employment outcomes for every student, and said the ceremony was an acknowledgement of the work by students and GOTAFE’s educators.

“If our region’s future prosperity rests with the skills, knowledge, talent and spirit of our people then it is in good hands,” he said.

The graduation ceremony recognised students who successfully completed their studies in 2018 across a range of study areas including business and IT, art and design, community services, health, and building and construction.

The graduation ceremony was attended by students and their guests, Cr Ken Clarke from the Rural City of Wangaratta, and GOTAFE Board and Executive members.