GOTAFE Manager In Running For Boss Of The Year Title

GOTAFE General Manager Margie Fixter has been shortlisted for Boss of the Year Award for Australia & New Zealand.

Nominated by her Executive Assistant, Ms Fixter is described as a hard-working, energetic and enthusiastic person who is admired by all.

“Margie goes above and beyond. She has been instrumental in streamlining GOTAFE’s government and audit requirements. This year she spearheaded our latest project, opening two brand new Skills and Jobs Centres, enabling people to have greater access to job and training opportunities,” explained Anne-Marie Greenway, GOTAFE Executive Assistant.

“Margie is ultimately the most supportive boss I have ever had. She has opened up doors for me and encourages me to grow in my career.

“She has developed a system of hand-written ‘thank you’ notes which she sends to employees across the Institute, it’s fantastic to see them displayed with pride. Margie’s opinion is highly sought after within the Institute and I consider myself extremely lucky to be her EA.”

The GOTAFE General Manager for Education for two years, Ms Fixter is based at the Wangaratta Docker Street campus. Ms Fixter holds Masters Degrees in Public Management and Arts, Level 2 Coaching and is a qualified Trainer and Assessor. She has had a long career in the TAFE sector in Victoria and NSW and is passionate about people, superior leadership and lifelong learning.

Ms Fixter is a big believer in work-life balance and has enjoyed travelling to remote places around the world, including climbing mountains in Nepal and backpacking around India.

Ms Fixter is up against five other Finalists from across the country for the prestigious Boss of the Year title. The gala awards ceremony held by ExecutivePA Magazine will take place on Wednesday 26 October 2016 in Sydney.

GOTAFE would like to congratulate Margie on her achievement and wishes her all the best.

For more information about the award visit

GOTAFE Manager Named Finalist In 2016 Wurreker Awards


The Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI) has announced their 2016 Award Winners, with GOTAFE Marketing Manager, Larissa Falla, a Finalist for the Public Sector Employee Category.

The annual Awards recognise and celebrate achievements of students, trainers, training providers and employers who have achieved outstanding results in their areas of knowledge and expertise.

Mrs Falla joined fellow finalists from across the state for a ceremony at the Aborigines Advancement League in Melbourne on Thursday 13 October 2016.

“I’m honoured to be nominated and shortlisted as I know there are a lot of deserving people out there doing great things within community.” she said.

A GOTAFE employee for 10 years, Mrs Falla has risen through the ranks from Trainee to managing the Marketing and Creative Services team at GOTAFE’s Shepparton Campus. Originally from Tropical North Queensland, Mrs Falla belongs to the Dulguburra Yidinji people, she moved to the Goulburn Valley while at secondary school and has raised her three children among Koorie culture.

Nominated by Natasha McCormick, GOTAFE Commercial Manager for Learning Skills Unit and the Centre for Koorie Education, the application highlights Mrs Falla’s involvement in the community, contribution to the improved performance of the organisation and the work she has done to increase cultural awareness among GOTAFE staff and students.

“Larissa is a well-respected Manager at GOTAFE and her views on cultural matters are highly regarded and regularly sought when planning the future activities of GOTAFE,” explained Ms McCormick.

“She is a firm believer in the importance of using education, training and employment as building blocks for the success of young Indigenous people. As an Indigenous woman in a managerial role, she is a role model for many.”

The Awards hope to provide an inspiring example of the potential of Indigenous people and communities.

For more information about VAEAI or the Wurreker Awards visit

Lady Tradies | Katherine Sellick

Looking for different opportunities and reliable consistency in the workplace is what inspired Katherine Sellick to go down the path of a Technical Trade career.

“I have had a good response from most people since taking up study this year towards a Certificate III in Plumbing and my family and friends have been really supportive.” Read more…

Where Are They Now | Laura Bell

Laura never thought that she would own and manage her own business at 21!

Laura was exposed to the hairdressing world at a young age, thanks to her hairdressing Mum. Growing up around the industry made her intrigued to be a part of it and follow in her Mothers footsteps.

Laura started attending the VETis school program in Hairdressing once a week while still attending Secondary School. This allowed her to get an early introduction to the Hairdressing industry.

“The course wasn’t easy. It was full-on, I was working part time, attending school and going to TAFE once a week. Even though it was full-on, it was worth it”.

Laura’s Trainer, Carmel was a great support to her. Having a Trainer with a wide range of experience in hairdressing allowed Laura and her classmates to learn a lot of additional skills. Read more…

VETIS Student – Olivia Tonks

Olivia Tonks, a year 11 student at Wanganui Park College, is currently studying at Gotafe towards her Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance.

Influenced by her Mum and because she likes looking after people, Olivia decided to begin her studies in the healthcare industry as a VET in Schools student this year.

Six months into her studies, Olivia believes that the VETis course through Gotafe is providing her with the skills and knowledge she needs to give her the headstart to enable her to continue down the career path in health care.

“This course has opened my opportunities up widely and helped me to understand things better. We have week about in the classroom and on placement at Goulburn Valley Health. I love that it is both hands on and theory so that it does not get boring.”

So far this year, Olivia has experience placement in Maternity involving special care nursing, Orderly, Dental and Medical Imaging.

“I am really enjoying this course.  There is a wide range of people and we all get on nicely and that makes it a joy to go to class.  I would highly recommend this Gotafe course to anyone who is interested in entering into a career in the health care industry.”

“When I finish my year 12 at school, I plan to study Division 2 Nursing at Gotafe then furthering my studies at University.  I would like to specialise in the area of paediatrics. “


Where Are They Now? Tamara Giggins

At 22, Tamara Giggins is achieving great things.

In May 2015 she opened her own Hairdressing Salon, Tamara’s Hair Boutique in Wangaratta and hasn’t looked back. The business is going from strength to strength with existing clients booking in advance to secure their next appointment and a 6-8 week waiting period for new clients.

Tamara got her first taste of hairdressing and beauty when she studied Certificate II in Hairdressing in 2010 then Certificate II in Retail Cosmetics at GOTAFE in 2011 while at Secondary School. She discovered a passion for Hairdressing and went on to complete her Certificate II in Hairdressing the following year.

“My cousins were hairdressers and I used to have my hair changed all the time. It looked fun so I thought I would give it a go.”

After leaving school, Tamara was offered an Apprenticeship. Because she wanted to stay in Wangaratta, she studied at GOTAFE every Monday and worked the rest of the week in the Salon. She loved the fact she didn’t have to travel to Melbourne and could learn in her home town with a local Hairdresser. She completed her hairdressing studies and Apprenticeship in 2014.

“I really enjoyed my experience with GOTAFE. The training was challenging as all trades are but I had the best teachers, Liz K and Carmel Cook, to work through my studies and Monica Lockyer with beauty, who is still one of the best teachers out there.”

Tamara has had on-going training with colour companies and other qualified Hairdressers to better her skills and learn other techniques.

“You never know everything, there is always room for more learning as a Hairdresser.”

Tamara believes Hairdressing and Beauty is a very hard industry as you are in people’s faces all the time and always talking.

“It’s not for the faint hearted and you are on your feet for long hours. We are not perfect but if you work hard, make mistakes and learn from them you will be an excellent Hairdresser/Beauty Therapist. Most of all be passionate and have fun.”

Tamara has just taken on a qualified Hairdresser and hopes to employ an Apprentice next year. She wants to give them the best possible experience and start in their career. 

Tamara’s next goal is to expand and move into a new salon next year. Having qualifications in both Hair and Beauty, Tamara says she is able to offer clients more and this has paid off in the long run.

“I could not imagine doing anything else in my life. I love making people feel beautiful and making them feel good about themselves.”

Lady Tradies – Tracey Milthorpe

Tracey first began with a pre-apprenticeship course at Gotafe to see if the Electrical Industry was what she wanted to commit to and with her two children both in school, it was a little easier for her to start full time work.

“I decided to start my apprenticeship as I wanted to do a trade that would keep my mind occupied and something that wasn’t too physically demanding but still had a moderate physical labour aspect and I like to get my hands dirty, so to speak.”

“I really enjoy it and my family and friends are so very supportive.  They love the idea that I’m a ‘sparky’ and that I’m doing something against the odds.”

Tracey Milthorpe is in her third year of study towards a Certificate III in Electrotechnology.

Having completed her Certificate II with Gotafe, it made sense to continue on from there.

“The teachers are very knowledgeable and supportive and the facilities are great.  Gotafe is where I felt I was most comfortable and I could complete my studies to the best of my ability.”

Tracey believes you have to keep an open mind when working in a male industry.

“I get a few people who look twice as I am female, but generally people think it’s great that I’m out there having a go.  I’m not there to step on anyone’s feet.  I just want to learn as much as I can.”

For other girls who are looking at entering a Technical Trade, she says ‘go for it’ or if you are unsure, do a bit more research before you decide to commit.

“Talk to people, talk to me. There are pre-apprenticeships and other studies available to give you a taste of the industries.  Honestly, you will never know until you try it.”







Where Are They Now? Bill & Beats Cafe

Growing up Chris was a very fussy eater until at the age of 15, an experience with his Dad at the MCG changed all that.

“My Dad and I were about to have lunch in a corporate box.  Dad said to me, ‘I know you will not like much of the food but at least try it.’  I did and I really enjoyed it.  This gave me the inspiration to pay more attention in my food class at school and to start pursuing hospitality as a career.” Read more…

Students Swapped Their Scissors for Stretches

Get moving and get motivated was the takeaway message from a recent health and wellbeing seminar held at GOTAFE during August.

TEC Hair and Beauty students at GOTAFE’s Seymour, Shepparton and Wangaratta Campuses were visited by a representative from POSACTIVITY, Matt Dillon.

POSACTIVITY focuses on physical activity to motive the mind and body. Through a series of simple 30 minute activities, Matt encouraged the students to get moving, he helped them to identify parts of the body that hold tension and gave them techniques to release that tension and negative energy.

GOTAFE Hair and Beauty Trainer and industry representative, Carmel Cook recognised the need to step away from traditional study methods to further motivate the students.

“The students are half way through the study year and have been enthusiastic and committed to their studies but we all know that sometimes it is challenging to see the end goal, especially for some of these students who are juggling study, part-time jobs, social commitments and just being a teenager,” she said.

“We wanted to encourage our students to reach their goals and remind them, whilst the journey to get there will take some effort, the rewards will far out way any negatives.

“We sought the assistance of Matt Dillon from POSACTIVITY because we all know that physical movement has a positive impact on feeling energised and motivated and we want our students to put their best foot forward when entering into related hair and beauty industries.

“The students were also addressed by representatives from GOTAFE’s Skills and Job Hub as well as student services, outlining to students the available support in both job seeking and pathways as well as learning strategies for dealing with life’s challenges.

“Industry representatives also gave accounts of their own learning pathways and journeys as well as valuable insight into industry expectations when entering into the workforce.”

Posactivity has a passion for sharing physical activity sessions which incorporate positive psychology and fun meaningful movement to help people improve their health and wellbeing and optimise their participants life.

STEM Expo Gives Students Career Pathways in Science

Students at Galen Catholic College Wangaratta learnt about potential career pathways in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths at the STEM Expo on Wednesday August 14.

Students learnt about how drones are revolutionising farming and delivery systems from guest speakers and drone pilots. They also met ‘NAO’ the robot as well as SIM Man (pictured here with GOTAFE staff from the Skills and Jobs Centre) and were shown how robots are leading the way forward in Rural Health Services.

STEM stands for:
See the evolution of additive manufacturing technology with 3D Printers at work
Test the skills of the future navigating Sphero Robots through mazes
Experience informal and creative computer technology and coding with CoderDojo
Make a robot walk, talk and think with Lego Mindstorms ev3

The STEM Expo also featured representatives from Australian Defence Forces, Charles Sturt University, La Trobe University and Royal Society of Victoria.

Galen STEM expo2

Galen STEM expo3