Womens Health Awareness Week 13-16 June

The second week in June will see the launch of GOTAFE’s inaugural ‘Women’s Health Awareness Week’. The week will feature a series of activities including a Yoga Class facilitated by Aquamoves, a bake sale prepared by GOTAFE Hospitality and Baking students, a lunchtime walking group, Health Seminar presented by GV Health and prizes donated by GOTAFE’s Hairdressing & Beauty Salon.

  • 13 Tuesday June: Aquamoves Yoga Class 1-2pm
  • 14 Wednesday June: GOBake Sale 1-3pm
  • 15 Thursday June: Walking Group 1-2:30pm
  • 16 Friday June: GV Health Seminar & Raffle Draw 10:30am to 12:30pm

The week was initiated by GOTAFE Hospitality Teacher, Anita McFarlane, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Ms McFarlane kick-started the idea in May by chopping off her hair alongside her sister Valerie Low and niece Yolanda Low. Their hair was donated to the Variety Charity to make wigs for sick children.

Ms McFarlane would like to use her experience with breast cancer as a way of encouraging women to prioritise their health.
“As women we are often so busy caring for the needs of our family and friends that we often overlook our own health. Unfortunately, because I did this, I now find myself in a challenging situation,” said Ms McFarlane.

“Being aware of Women’s Health issues is important for everyone in the community. Partners, children, friends and family members should remind the women in their lives to have regular health checks.

“If it wasn’t for my husband nagging me to get a check-up, things could have been a lot worse. So I have that to be thankful for.”  Ms McFarlane has set up a donation page, with all proceeds going to the Goulburn Valley Breast Cancer Special Purpose Fund, operated by GV Health, Shepparton.

GOTAFE’s Women’s Health Awareness Week is open to the public. For updates please visit the GOTAFE Facebook page.

Discovering Nursing as the forever career

At 22, Jack Armstrong has discovered his forever career path, Nursing.

Jack is a Stanhope native, and a current enrolled student in the Diploma of Nursing (HTL54115) at GOTAFE’s Fryers Street Campus in Shepparton. He also works part time as a Health Assistant in Nursing (HAN) at Goulburn Valley Health, also in Shepparton.

Jack went to Rushworth P-12 College, and studied Physics, chemistry, fast tracked biology, english, maths and business management. The sciences were his forte and during year 12 fell into the trap of thinking he had to go to University as his next step.

Jack then enrolled at Ballarat University (now Federation University) in 2013 to study Metallurgy, and got three quarters of the way through first year before realising that this wasn’t the right career path and decided to look for full time employment.

Jack joined his local community groups the Mens Shed and Stanhope Business Centre before finding employment with the Rushworth Aged Care Hostel in 2015. He then moved on to the Tatura GV Health Hospital and Aged Care, and that eventually evolved into a new position looking after the residents group activities. It was then that Jack was then made aware of the GOTAFE traineeship course in Health Services Assistance, which involved six months studying and working part time which he applied for and commenced almost immediately.

After his traineeship concluded earlier this year, Jack decided to take his skills further and enrolled in Nursing at GOTAFE. Jack has been in the course for almost a semester and is currently enjoying the subjects Anatomy and Physiology of Humans (APH), learning about how the body functions and learning Nursing Fundamental Skills. Placements are also coming up, firstly with two weeks of Aged Care in mid June at the Waranga Memorial Hospital at Rushworth.

Jack expects to complete his course midyear in 2018 and move directly into the Bachelors Degree at La Trobe University courtesy of his dual enrolment. Jack plans to stay regional and work with outlying communities once he has completed his degree.  Jack says, “the training facilities are great at GOTAFE in a realistic environment which is important for preparing you for your placements.”

Nursing runs in the family with Jack’s Mother and Aunt working as Nurses, and Jack’s sister is currently studying midwifery. It took Jack awhile but eventually came to the conclusion that he was destined for the family career.  Jack says, “Be ready to be challenged, but if you love working with people and caring for people, you will love the course. There are infinite area’s you can work in in the future and I’ve found my life long career finally and am very happy.”

Nursing sound like a interesting career? Mid year enrolments are now open, click here to apply now.


Dairy & Agriculture industry celebrates students achievements

GOTAFE’s National Centre for Dairy Education (NCDE), in partnership with Dairy Australia (DA) will host an Industry Celebration on Wednesday 10 May 2017 at the GV Hotel Shepparton.

The evening celebrates the successful completion of qualifications by students along with announcing the 2016 Outstanding Student of the Year.  Local, regional and national industry representatives, including representatives from Dairy Australia and Murray Dairy will also be in attendance.

GOTAFE NCDE Trainer, James Goulding taught Student of the Year, Rory Shepherd from Nathalia who completed Certificate III in Agriculture – Dairy Production (AHC30210).

“Rory is a very committed and diligent student who shows maturity beyond his years. He works on a Bio Dynamic accredited farm where he is actively applying the skills, knowledge and techniques, he has learnt on and off the job. Rory is only too happy to share with the class his experiences and only last week hosted a farm walk where he and his father gave a very in-depth presentation on how the Bio Dynamic principles work.

“We know from our industry contacts and continuing relationships with the students that Rory’s story is not unique and many of our students are furthering their careers in the dairy industry and broader agriculture.”

HW Greenham & Sons Pty Ltd, a multi-million dollar meat export business has teamed up with GOTAFE to offer a scholarship designed to encourage and support young people wanting to explore a career and training in the dairy industry but who are facing financial hardships.

For the first time, the 2017 Greenham GOTAFE Dairy Scholarship will be awarded as part of the event, explained GOTAFE’s NCDE Commercial Manager, Luke Prime.

“2012 Winner Katherine Snell will showcase what she has been able to achieve with the assistance of the Scholarship and the brand new Scholarship recipient will be announced.”

The evening will also feature a panel session with four industry representatives looking at the future opportunities of the food and fibre industry.

GOTAFE award recipients:

Award Course Student Home Town
Encouragement Award Certificate II in Agriculture
Leah Orton Gapsted
Outstanding Student Award Certificate II in Agriculture  AHC20110 Jack Leahy


Encouragement Award Certificate III in Agriculture (Dairy Production)
Josh Turvey Koondrook
Outstanding Student Award Certificate III in Agriculture (Dairy Production)
Rory Shepherd Nathalia
Encouragement Award Certificate IV in Agriculture (AHC40116)


Madeleine Monk Kyabram
Outstanding Student Award Certificate IV in Agriculture (AHC40116)


Meeka Wigg Lockington
Outstanding Student Award Diploma in Agriculture (AHC50110)


James Whatman Muckatah
Overall Student of the Year Award 2016 Certificate III in Agriculture (Dairy Production)
Rory Shepherd Nathalia

2017 Victorian Training Awards Now Open

Now in its 63rd year, the prestigious Victorian Training Awards recognise and honour the outstanding achievements of Vocational Education and Training students, teachers, training providers and employers.

Nominations close midnight, Friday 16 June.

Visit the official VTA page here.

GOTAFE will be submitting entries in a number of the organisational categories.
If you would like to nominate someone or yourself, send an email to marketing@gotafe.vic.edu.au

Our People: Glenn Kealy, Hospitality

Glenn Kealy, GOTAFE Wangaratta Hospitality Trainer talks about his passion for teaching and his experience in hospitality that spans almost 35 years.  “I love mentoring my students, they love the way I teach and in my 14th year of teaching I am still reinventing myself and what I teach, I am constantly adjusting to my customer’s needs, but this time it’s not a menu it’s a style of teaching,” said Glenn.

“The best part of my job is guiding, facilitating and mentoring my students to be the best chefs they can be, if they enjoy class and go on to succeed in the industry then I know I am doing my job.

“I bring passion, a strong work ethic and experience to teaching every day.

“It can be exhausting, most teachers will empathise with me, every time you teach, you are on show, it’s a performance, and you must be engaging, be real and be informative every time you teach.

“I still second guess myself and question whether my skills and experience are enough to teach, but deep down I know they are. And every now and then I get a thank you email or card or just a simple face to face thank you and I realise how much I have to offer and how much I have passed on.

“And sometimes it is my job to keep the passion alive for students, being an apprentice isn’t easy, it is hard work, long and odd hours and you don’t always get to see the joy your creation brings to your customers.

“I started out as a 16 year old trainee chef in my hometown of Harvey in Western Australia, so I know what it is like to start out in the industry.

“The Wagon Wheels Motel and the Harvey Hotel taught me a bit of everything of the industry as a whole.

“After that I worked in a number of big hotels on the Gold Coast including the Ramada Hotel, then back to Western Australia to work at the newly built Cable Beach Club in Broome.

“The Cable Beach Club was my first taste of what good food was all about, it was high quality food and high quality service, and it was a standout in my early career.

“At the Club I worked with international chefs who were handpicked by Lord (Alistair) McAlpine.

“I always felt like a bit of a country kid playing with the big boys but with hard work and passion I felt like I earnt my stripes.

“We had our preparation stations, our specialities if you like and I was amongst chefs from Italy, France, South African and England, we were expected to produce the highest standard for our domestic and international guests.

“After that I travelled overseas working in a variety kitchens for a variety of organisations, including P&O Ridge View Lodge that would cater and board the homeless just outside of London, and The Thistle Hotel chain in Aberdeen Scotland.

“All these experiences and overseas travelling taught me how to meet different customers’ needs which help me now as a teacher.

“Back in Australia at the age of 24 I was setting up a tavern restaurant called Sandy Cove in Mandurah south of Perth, then as a chef at the well-known and award winning Subiaco Hotel, then moving to Melbourne I worked in Melbourne at The Snail and Bottle Restaurant at the Law Institute of Victoria then moving to the North East I worked locally at King River Café, Spotless in Wodonga and now as a trainer at GOTAFE in Wangaratta.

“My students tell me they have to listen to me because I keep them guessing, they never know what is coming next, for me that’s a great compliment.”

Joining the Furniture Making business

At just 19, Tammy Camilleri has almost completed her Certificate II in Furniture Making (MSF20313) at GOTAFE’s Seymour Campus.

Tammy completed highschool in 2015 at Whittlesea Secondary College in Northern Melbourne then commenced Furniture Design at RMIT University.  After six months, Tammy learned that the university course wasn’t designed for school leavers and decided to make the change to vocational education.  A friend suggested the GOTAFE Furniture Design course at the Seymour campus and Tammy took the opportunity to enrol in late 2016.

Living between Glenroy in Melbourne and Clonbinane, Tammy commutes to Seymour several times a week to finish off her course, which she describes “as a perfect fit for her.”

So far to date Tammy has completed an ornate chopping block, coffee table, blanket box, side table and a hallway table and has plenty of ideas for future projects to complete. She has also been asked on numerous occasions to make furniture for friends and family, however the lack of access to a workshop has limited the completion of these additional projects.

“I’m currently looking for an apprenticeship.  There appears to be many in cabinet making, but furniture making is what I want to do,” said Tammy.  Her father was a cabinet maker for more than 25 years, mainly with white box and kitchens, however had a real talent for solid timber so he completed special jobs. He always made things at home and Tammy would join in to help which helped her find her passion with furniture making.

Tammy has loved the course and Rob Freeman her teacher, has been incredibly supportive and allowed Tammy to be more creative with projects than the outlined design. “Tammy has been a wonderful student and very creative, she asks to make tweaks to traditional design and creates beautiful and interesting furniture with meticulous care,” said Rob.

Tammy is currently looking for an apprenticeship and would love to see more women in the industry.

Looking to start a career in Furniture Making? Why not enrol in this entry-level certificate to get you started just like Tammy.  Mid year enrolments are now open.

Go Places with GOTAFE.

Students Share the Dignity

Claire Taylor , GOTAFE Events, Tourism and Hospitality Trainer is working with the Certificate III, and Diploma of Events students to create an ongoing project which will raise awareness around the charity, Share the Dignity, who provide free access to sanitary and personal care items for the many homeless women and women in domestic violence shelters.

“We have developed a project involving the students at different levels that will enable them to create, organise, and follow an event from start to finish that has positive outcomes for the community at large and the students as well.”

The statistics show that 44% of homeless people are women, which equates to over 85,000 women that need our help. Homelessness, poverty, unemployment and domestic violence – these are just a few of the reasons why women are forced to choose between buying food or sanitary items. This is not okay.

“The student’s project started in March and will continue to go through until November. There are two main drives for sanitary items being held in April and August, and another drive for a project called #itsinthebag that will be ongoing until November. The #itsinthebag drive culminates close to Christmas time, and encourages people to donate an unused handbag full of goodies for women who wouldn’t normally be able to afford to buy these products. These bags are distributed amongst local charities for Christmas.”

It’s easy for anybody to get involved and donate to Share the Dignity.

“We have four main campuses at GOTAFE in Shepparton, Seymour, Benalla and Wangaratta where the public are able to come in and donate throughout the year. They can drop off sanitary items, shampoo, conditioner, little trinkets, hair brushes, deodorant, toothbrushes and anything else that would be appropriate to make a women in need feel better about themselves.

“The drop off boxes at each campus will usually be situated within the main reception area, and the public can come in and donate whenever they are able. The students would like to get people thinking about this charity when they are out shopping, and if you are buying these items for yourself, buy something extra to put into the drop off box.”

“It’s such a worthwhile cause, and a great way to be able to show the students that an event doesn’t always have to be about making money. It can be about raising awareness and making a difference, which is what we are hoping to achieve this year.”

To read more about Share the Dignity, click here.

Shepparton campus students recognised for achieving goals

GOTAFE celebrated the success of their students last night with an Awards Recognition Ceremony held at the Parklake Hotel in Shepparton. The event recognised students who successfully completed their studies in 2016 within the Services sector including Business, IT, Art and Design, Sport and Recreation, Community Services and Health.

Three students were awarded Outstanding Student Awards for successfully completing their studies:

  • Outstanding Business Student, Stephanie Bell,  Certificate III in Business (BSB30115)
  • Outstanding Health Student, Sarah Trevena, Diploma of Nursing (HLT51612)
  • Outstanding Community Services Student, Rylie Kerambrun, Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015)

GOTAFE Executive Manager for Services Industries, Louise Pearce, was excited to catch up with the students to find out where their training has taken them.
“We are excited to see these newly qualified students enter the local workforce and use their skills to better the community. GOTAFE is dedicated to providing regional students with access to unique programs, facilities and pathways to university.”

This event is one of a series held throughout the region this March.

GOTAFE now delivering Education Support in Benalla

GOTAFE will commence delivery of Certificate IV in Education Support (CHC40213) for the first time in Benalla next month. They are also seeking expressions of interest for people looking to study at their Wangaratta Campus.

The course, commencing in April, is the key to unlocking a career in Education Support. The 10 month course will be delivered two days per week in the classroom plus a further one day per week of practical work placement, explained Course Coordinator, Jo Fasano. “This course is ideal for someone who is looking to make a difference in the lives of children and young people. Interested participants will need to have a good understanding of literacy and numeracy because this is where students need the most support. They will also need to have a sense of fun, the ability to multitask and be able to see things from multiple perspectives.”

“We have been delivering this course from our Shepparton Campus for a number of years, with students progressing onto work as Teacher’s Aides, Education Support Workers, Special Education Assistants, Home Tutors and Literacy Support Workers.”

Ms Fasano has been delivering the program from the GOTAFE Shepparton Campus for four years and has countless examples of how it has transformed the lives of her students. Single mother Brooke Coming turned her life around through Education Support. “When she started with us she lacked confidence but throughout the course we saw her grow and thrive; she has just landed her very first job. We are so thrilled for her.”

Graduate Angela Dirretto used Certificate IV in Education Support as an alternative pathway to higher education. She is now studying teaching at the Australian Catholic University. “Education Support is an ideal career for people with young families who are looking to return to the workforce. The majority of jobs in this field are based in schools and are part time, so are ideal for working parents.”

Last year Certificate IV Education Support graduate Lyndal McGowan received the GOTAFE Outstanding Community Services Student. “Lyndal, a former Nurse, discovered a passion for helping children after she spent time volunteering at her own children’s school,” said Ms Fasano.

“I embarked on an ambitious journey to change careers from a nurse to a primary-school based education assistant,” explained Ms McGowan. “GOTAFE helped me achieve my goal, a career that gave me more time with my family and I am now employed as an Education Support (ES) at a local Primary School. Studying with GOTAFE has seen me overcome my fears, grow in confidence, resilience and self-reliance, these skills helped me to juggle study and family commitments.”

GOTAFE has been working closely with Wangaratta’s Centre for Continuing Education (The Centre) to develop formal pathways and credit transfers for students who have already completed Certificate III in Education Support.

Classes commence 27 April 2017, with student interviews commencing 17 March 2017.

For more information contact GOTAFE on 1300 GOTAFE (468 233) or click here to register to attend an information session.


A dairy story: Rachael Barnes

Rachael Barnes was one of the fortunate young dairy enthusiasts given the opportunity to attend the National All Breeds Dairy Youth Camp in Tatura, Victoria earlier this year.

The five day camp allowed participants to develop their knowledge in handling dairy heifers, discuss breeding and discover new technologies. Each participant learnt key skills to care for cattle, including daily feeding, watering, washing, grooming, clipping and monitoring.

Rachael came to the camp with an interest in learning more about dairy cattle and making new friends. Fortunately for Rachael that’s exactly what she got out of the camp. “The National All Breeds Youth Camp has been the best camp I have ever been to! I enjoyed my time there very much and gained heaps of new skills I didn’t know. Meeting so many new people was good and engaging in people’s previous experiences was really intriguing as each one was different.”

After Rachael left school she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. She’d always had an interest in children and making them smile so decided to enrol in Certificate III in Early Childhood Education. “This allowed me to keep studying and gain a qualification whilst not losing my writing skills or my ability to learn new things.”

Rachael now has a full time job in the childhood industry and really enjoys it, but she can’t escape her love for cows. Growing up on a family dairy farm was what sparked Rachael’s interest in cows.  “I loved helping with the calves each morning and night”.

When Rachael was at school she joined the Dairy Show Team. In the team she showed Dairy cattle at local and other big shows. “I am still showing with them and thoroughly enjoy it as I can educate the younger students of what I have learnt, whilst still being able to interact with the cattle. Our team is purely run by volunteers using their own money and we are forever grateful for the opportunity they give to us.”

Rachael is happy where her life is heading. “My advice to others is if you are considering a career or have an interest in the dairy industry, I highly suggest you attend the Youth Dairy Camp. Also if you love Dairy cows and want to learn how to care for them, then this is the camp to go to. Not many people are given these opportunities and you can gain so much in just five days. You can develop networks with people in different jobs and meet so many new people.”

Click here to learn more about GOTAFE’s Dairy courses.