Victoria’s largest annual student survey

How has your VET course helped you to achieve your goals? This is the question the Victorian Government is asking around 200,000 students in the annual Student Satisfaction Survey.

Students who completed or exited any government-subsidised VET courses provided by registered training providers in 2017 have been sent a survey to complete online, via SMS or by mail. The survey takes under 10 minutes to complete and asks students to share their views on a range of topics including teaching quality, relevance of skills learnt and how training has helped in achieving their goals.

Results from the survey provide valuable insights for course improvements and planning to better meet the needs of future students and deliver qualifications that lead to employment opportunities, not just certificates.

This is the best way to provide feedback 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.

TAFE Collaboration Means Smooth Transition for Students

GOTAFE, South West TAFE and Federation Training are excited to be part of the new Dairy Learn model launched this year by Dairy Australia.

The new model will allow a range of local providers to support the dairy industry to upskill using both extension and education activities.

GOTAFE has confirmed it is working in partnership with South West TAFE and Federation Training to assist in the transition of dairy industry students.

GOTAFE, primarily based in North East Victoria, ceased taking new enrolments at the Institute’s southern training locations in Warragul, Leongatha and Terang on 31 December 2017.

GOTAFE General Manager of Education Services, Margie Fixter confirmed GOTAFE will transition former Terang Campus students to South West TAFE, with Federation Training agreeing to accept students from Warragul and Leongatha Campuses.

“The three Institutes have collaborated to ensure a smooth transition for all affected students, employers and industry stakeholders. The process has been an excellent example of cross Institute collaboration,” said Ms Fixter.

Existing students are now able to complete their qualifications with their local TAFE provider.

GOTAFE will now concentrate its dairy training in North Eastern Victoria, with South West TAFE and Federation Training providing training and support to the dairy industry in their respective regions.

Consultation with affected stakeholders remains ongoing as the transition process continues.

Twenty-three GOTAFE students are invited to represent Team Victoria at WorldSkills Nationals

Twenty-five WorldSkills Regional Competition medalists have been invited to apply to represent the Central Victoria Region as a part of ‘Team Victoria’ at the 2018 WorldSkills National Competition held in Sydney.

Twenty-three out of the 25 Regional WorldSkills competitors given the opportunity to be part of ‘Team Victoria’ are from GOTAFE, the other two from Kangan TAFE.
WorldSkills Project Officer Callum Ross, said this is a great opportunity for students and also a great reflection on the level of skills of students and the dedication of GOTAFE trainers.

“Representing GOTAFE at the National level of the WorldSkills competition is a great honour and we are thrilled that 23 of our students have been given the opportunity to apply to compete at the national level,” said Callum.

“To have 23 GOTAFE students invited out of the 25 students overall is a wonderful reflection of the calibre of our students and also the commitment of our trainers to giving our students every opportunity to be their best and compete against the best.

“Our trainers are committed to entering students into the WorldSkills competition and ensuring they are prepared for the rigorous challenges of WorldSkills, they understand the importance of encouraging their students and giving them the opportunity to compete against the best people in their field.

“GOTAFE had 15 competitions in various areas ranging from Beauty Therapy to Electrical and Retail Baking Pastry, this just goes to show how committed our trainers and our organisation is to giving students the best opportunity to improve their skills and test these skills out on a Regional stage”.

GOTAFE has had strong success at the WorldSkills competition over the years.

Winners from the National Level have the opportunity to represent Australia at the 45th WorldSkills Competition (WSC2019) in Kazan, Russia in 2019, a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent Australia and your training organisation on the world stage.

ANMF Student Nurse Awards

GOTAFE Nursing student, Saskia Gargan has won the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (ANMF) Outstanding Student Award for completing her studies in Diploma of Nursing (HLT51612) at the Benalla campus.
The ANMF Awards night is an annual event that recognises the individual academic achievements of nursing students across the education and training sector.
It acknowledges nursing and midwifery excellence and promotes further education and improved patient and client outcomes.
GOTAFE trainer, Rebecca Guy described Saskia as a very hard working determined student who was the obvious choice to win the award.
“Whilst juggling family life Saskia displayed at all times focus and determination in completing all that was asked of her to the best of her ability, within specified timelines and always of a very high standard. Saskia took great pride in all that she presented to us. In addition to this the way in which Saskia both conducted herself and communicated highlighted that she has all of the necessary attributes to make a wonderful successful nurse.”
Saskia has had encouragement from her trainers at GOTAFE to pursue further studies as they feel she will have great success it whatever she does.
“Saskia was an absolute pleasure to have as a student here at Benalla and we are very proud of all that she has achieved, and we wish her all the very best in all that she undertakes in her future nursing career.”

2017 Apprentice of the Year Announced for Wangaratta and Benalla Campuses

GOTAFE’s Wangaratta and Benalla Campuses held their annual Trade Awards on Wednesday 6 December at the Gateway Hotel, Wangaratta. The awards were attended by over 220 apprentices, employers, sponsors and GOTAFE Trainers.

50 awards were presented to outstanding pre-apprentices, and apprentices in their first, second, third and fourth years from the Automotive, Building and Construction, Electrical, Engineering, Hairdressing and Beauty, Hospitality, Baking and Plumbing learning areas.

Matthew Shipard from Brocklesby, NSW took out the top prize when he was announced as GOTAFE’s 2017 Apprentice of the Year for Wangaratta and Benalla Campuses. Matthew, an Engineering Apprentice, was one of the eight final year Apprentices who were awarded the Outstanding Apprentice Achievement Award for their respective learning areas.

Matthew recently completed Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade (MEM30305) with GOTAFE and works with Ai Group Training Services and Nestle – Uncle Tobys.

“When I was 15 I completed pre apprenticeships in both Automotive and Engineering then during Year 12 I was working as a Shearer. I started working at Nestle and studying a certificate in Fitting and Turning which I fast tracked in two and a half years at night school and have just completed my second qualification, Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade in under 12 months.”

“GOTAFE has taught me a lot about fabrication and turning, both theory and practical. I now have a broad range of skills in fitting and machining.”

GOTAFE Trainer Greg Keane describes Matthew as an extraordinary student.

“Matthew is focussed and has a willingness to succeed that I haven’t seen in a student for a very long time. He has an unwavering desire to get work done.

“If I had a class full of Matthew Shipard’s I’d be a very happy camper. Whatever Matthew does I am sure he will succeed.”

Matthew recently won the Wodonga Council Red Carpet Youth Awards. In 2016 Matthew was named the Ai Group Apprentice of the Month. Matthew is a volunteer firefighter, part time firefighter, enjoys tennis and in 2016 joined a mission to Papua New Guinea

Matthew plans to one day set up his own business and continue working on the family farm. GOTAFE wishes him the greatest success.

GOTAFE also celebrated the achievements of their Apprentice students from Seymour and Shepparton Campuses on Monday 4 December at the GV Hotel, Shepparton.

2017 Apprentice of the Year Announced for Shepparton and Seymour Campuses

GOTAFE’s Seymour and Shepparton Campuses held their annual Trade Awards on Monday 4 December at the GV Hotel, Shepparton. The awards were attended by over 220 apprentices, employers, sponsors and GOTAFE Trainers.

50 awards were presented to outstanding pre-apprentices, and apprentices in their first, second, third and fourth years from the Automotive, Building and Construction, Electrical, Engineering, Hairdressing and Beauty, Hospitality, Baking and Plumbing learning areas.

Joseph Brooks from Waaia took out the top prize and was announced as GOTAFE’s 2017 Apprentice of the Year for Shepparton and Seymour Campuses. Joseph, an Electrical Apprentice, was one of the eight final year Apprentices who were awarded the Outstanding Apprentice Achievement Award for their respective learning areas.

Joseph recently completed Certificate III in Electrotechnology (Electrician) (UEE30811) with GOTAFE and is now working with CVGT and Howden Enterprises.

“I’m honoured to be nominated. I have enjoyed my learning experience at GOTAFE and have always felt supported by my Trainers. GOTAFE has provided me with technical and interpersonal skills. I’ve been able to tap into the experience and expertise of my Trainers.”

GOTAFE Trainer Darren Cook found Joseph to be a very conscientious student who always tried hard.

“Joseph is truly interested in the subject matter and challenges us as Trainers as he often asks curly questions or clarifies the reason why. As Trainers we need to be organised when we know Joe is in the class.”

“I worked at the abattoirs loading trucks for six months after finishing school and then applied for an Electrical Apprenticeship.”

Joseph competed in the WorldSkills Regional Competition this year, receiving a Bronze medal. He is President of the Nathalia Young Farmers and also enjoys kickboxing, reading, traveling.”

Joseph plans to continue working in the electrical industry and would like to get involved in solar and battery storage work. GOTAFE wishes him the greatest success.

GOTAFE will also celebrate the achievements of their Apprentice students from Wangaratta and Benalla Campuses on Wednesday 6 December at the Wangaratta Gateway Hotel.

Auto Student awarded bronze in World Skill Competition

GOTAFE Automotive student Zaker Gulzari will be presented with a medal and Certificate of Achievement after winning bronze at the Regional World Skills Competition.

Zaker is employed by Woollards Auto body Works, Shepparton and took out third place in the Autobody Repairs section of the World Skills Competition.

Callum Ross, GOTAFE WorldSkills Project Officer said the level of skill showcased by all the students that competed was very high and this year there was a record number of competitions held for the Central Victorian Region.

“There was a total of 13 competitions held by GOTAFE for our region, the most ever,” said Callum.

“The competition is very demanding on the students, it’s stressful and fast paced and requires them to work on a variety of techniques within a specified timeframe, usually around 6 hours.

“The competitions saw students compete against their classmates and the clock in their chosen trade.

“After being involved in this competition for many years it is great to see Woollards and GOTAFE have once again produced a high performing apprentice in Zaker.

“In 2014, GOTAFE spray painting apprentice Billy Cowcher, employed by Woollards narrowly missed out gold at the National World Skills Competition in Perth after winning number one place at the state level.”

GOTAFE has had strong success at the World Skills Competition. And in 2016, two GOTAFE students represented the region at the National World Skills Competition in Melbourne. Automotive Apprentice Crystal McLaren from Wodonga placed third in the Paint and Panel category while Hairdressing Apprentice Eloise McCormick from Beechworth placed ninth. Their success has sparked interest from Trainers and Apprentices alike, with six departments involved in this year’s Regional Competition at GOTAFE.

From July to October the Regional World Skills Competitions were held at GOTAFE’s Shepparton and Wangaratta Campuses across a variety of fields including Building, Automotive, Plumbing, Retail Baking Bread, Retail Baking Pastry, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy.

The winners from the Regional Competitions will be eligible for the selection process to attend the National Competition held in Sydney in 2018. Winners from last year’s National Competition are competing in the World Competition held in Abu Dhabi in October.

Russell Thorn returns from study tour of UAE and USA

​GOTAFE Building Construction Trainer, Russell Thorn has recently returned from a study tour of The United States of America (USA) and United Arab Emirates (UAE). He attended the International Network on Innovative Apprenticeships (INAP) conference in Washington DC, followed by tours of colleges in New York and Chicago. His study tour also included a visit to the World Skills Competition in Abu Dhabi.

Russell said that the INAP conference, brings together researchers and research institutions with a common interest in vocational education and training.

“The conference was attended by more than 120 visitors from Europe, Africa, Asia, North America and of course Australia and I think that demonstrates that there is new interest in the re-establishment of dual secondary and vocational training, basically VETis or Tech school models.

“The conference discussed the trend towards alternative models of training and the framework of qualifications that each country used.

“Most countries also shared similar challenges like youth unemployment, and the push towards directing students into VET qualifications, trying to create pathways from secondary to VET instead of secondary studies to academic qualifications.

“We visited a number of colleges across America – Virginia NOVA College which is a privately funded institution, most of them are privately owned, so they need to achieve a minimum 70% employment outcome for students for them to be eligible to get government subsidised loans.

“They also have strong relationships with industry, for example all the machinery and equipment is donated by industry, they are not reliant on government funding, they rely on those relationships for support and to get their students into employment.

“What stuck out for me was that their apprenticeship courses are designed with minimum duration of one year, so apprenticeships are really anything, any course.

“But something that I didn’t expect was the standard these school adopted, the professionalism if you like, the students all had a uniform, different colours identified individual trades, that they were expected to wear at all times. Their appearance was to be presentable at all times with shirts tucked in and they were all to acknowledge the teachers when they walked past by looking them in the eye and greeting them. All these practices were enhancing students work readiness building on the values of respect, confidence and community behaviour social skills.

“A large amount of the theory work was assessed through oral presentations in class instead of just handing in assignments. This was to build confidence and enhance student’s communication skills which will assist them when applying for jobs and in the interview process.

“The main take out message for me was that America has had a big emphasis on college for so long, that it has lost its way when it comes to VET, in this way, Australia is a leader of competency based training, we are in a good position, America is just getting into this model.

Russell also attended the World Skills Competition in Abu Dhabi, stepping off the plane to the make the opening ceremony which is his words was like the Olympics Games with all countries represented in the arena.

“My main learnings from seeing the World Skills competition in action was, especially trade areas was the need for those fundamental foundation skills in hand and power tool skills and undertaking problem solving activities, these are both very important in our training programs, I see a need to re-introduce the focus back to these.”

Russell is a big supporter of World Skills Competition and encourages staff to get on board.

“I encourage staff to get involved with the World Skills Competition, I would even suggest becoming involved in the judging at these events. To be selected or nominated to judge you are regarded as one of the best in your field, it’s a big accolade and a great marketing tool for GOTAFE.”

Russell’s study tour was made possible through his alliance with the Apprenticeship Factory (as a board member) and of course the support of GOTAFE. His tour was co-funded by GOTAFE and himself personally.

Student creates video exploring Aboriginal family tree project

During November, GOTAFE student Kheiryn Ridgeway completed placement with the General Manager of ABC, Will Kendrew.


Kheiryn completed the placement as part of her studies with ASHE/VCAL. The subject, Work Related Skills was designed to get students ‘work ready’.

During her placement, Kheiryn interviewed two of GOTAFE’s Certificate II ATSI Cultural Arts students, Simone and Dakota McGee about a project they are currently completing, family tree project.
The short video, created by Kheiryn and Will (click here to view) gives the viewer an insight into the research they are undertaking in Aboriginal art, family and culture . The painting will be displayed at Kaiela Arts, as part of Christmas exhibition ” Design Roots 2″, opening 30 November.

View the ABC Facebook page here 

Horticulture students create garden for Milawa P.S

GOTAFE Horticulture students have designed, created and planted a custom space for Milawa Primary School that will become a space for students to congregate, to hold meetings and even host school performances.

GOTAFE Horticulture Trainer, Andrew ‘Tommy’ Taylor said the students have created something to be proud of.

“Four Horticulture students have created an amazing space the Milawa Primary School students will fall in love with,” said Tommy.

Tommy talks about how the video came about about and the design elements. Watch the video

“This particular group of Horticulture students are real goers, I was so lucky with these students, they have been committed to this project, working on it for 14 weeks, two days a week with only a few days missed due to bad weather.

“Milawa Primary School approached us to complete the work, we have done some work with the Principal, Ash Campbell before so he knew our work and knew that it is a cost effective way to get a custom designed space because they don’t have to pay for labour.

Andrew taylor and Horticulture students helping Milawa P.S students finish off their garden

“They gave us a budget and off we went.

“We toured previous garden design projects completed by previous GOTAFE hort students including Wang West P.S, Gateway Health and the rehab section of the Hospital in Clarke Street, they assessed what worked and what needs redesigning. For example in this project we used steel edging instead of aluminium as it needs to be up to the challenge of withstanding lots of wear and tear from busy students.

“The GOTAFE students have designed and implemented a really creative space with unique paving designs and the plan is that it will be a space that flows on from the classrooms, students and staff will gather here and with it has double tiered seating and deck where we envisage lots of school performances will be held.

“We enjoy taking on projects like this because our clients love their new space and they look after it, they get so excited by the new garden.”

Tommy went on to say that he will be looking for another project in 2018 for the students to work on.

Ash Campbell, Principal at Milawa P.S talks about the new garden created by GOTAFE horticulture students. Watch here