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.

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.

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

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.

Minister’s announcement Strengthens GOTAFE’s industry partnerships


GOTAFE CEO Travis Heeney has thanked the Minister for Training and Skills, the Hon. Gayle Tierney, for more than $5.6 million in funding, which was announced during her visit to the Fryers St, Shepparton, campus today.

Mr Heeney said the funding boost for courses in baking, dental assistance, nursing, cabinet making, engineering fabrication and health services enabled GOTAFE to continue to strengthen innovative partnerships with industry and other key stakeholders.

“GOTAFE has develop strong partnerships with employers and industry and they often approach us with specific training needs,” said Mr Heeney.

“We work with those employers and industry to customise a training solution, and today’s announcements are a terrific outcome from some of that work.”

Local industry partners that were instrumental in informing and supporting GOTAFE’s funding applications  included Beechworth Bakery, Higgins Bakery, GV Dental Group, GV Health Dental, Tatura Dental Care and GV Health.

The Minister’s funding announcement was for courses and programs that will be delivered by GOTAFE under the Victorian Government’s Regional and Specialist Training Fund, and Workforce Training Innovation Fund. These funds aim to address skills gaps in regional areas and improve training outcomes.

GOTAFE programs and courses receiving funding are:

  • Certificate II in Baking
  • Certificate III in Baking
  • Certificate III in Dental Assisting
  • Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade
  • Certificate III in Cabinet Making
  • Diploma of Nursing
  • Certificate III in Health Support Services
  • Industry-wide Upskilling Training and Assessment Model for the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry

“We are working to ensure our curriculum is fully aligned to the current and future needs of local employers, industries and communities, and this funding boost will help that work,” said Mr Heeney.

“We are resolutely committed to ensuring the needs of students and industries – especially across regional Victoria – are at the heart of all we do.

“GOTAFE will continue to strengthen innovative partnerships with industry and other key stakeholders critical to our success in enhancing career opportunities for our students across regional Victoria.”

The Minister also spoke about Free TAFE, and said GOTAFE had more than 420 students enrolled in Free TAFE courses across its five campuses.

Mr Heeney said: “Free TAFE has provided affordability and accessibility to many GOTAFE students who might otherwise have not been able to undertake a course.

“Many of our Free TAFE courses have rolling enrolments or mid-year starting dates so there are still plenty of opportunities for people to apply for a course.”

The Victorian Government’s $172 million Free TAFE program is making 30 priority TAFE courses and 20 pre-apprenticeship courses free from tuition fees from this year.

GOTAFE is offering 47 Free TAFE courses across its campuses.

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GOTAFE student returns for Chile study tour


GOTAFE student Stephanie Woodhall recently returned from a study tour of Chile where she studied with Chilean business students and experienced the local culture. Stephanie studied the SIT40416 Certificate IV in Hospitality at GOTAFE’s Seymour Campus and said GOTAFE gave her the courage to apply and to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I applied for this amazing scholarship opportunity because I was well supported by my teachers here at GOTAFE and through my family as well,” she said.

“I had always wanted to study abroad for years but was always too scared or didn’t have the funds when they were needed. GOTAFE made it very simple for me to go with only having to pay $500 toward the trip, less than half of the total cost!”

Chile was not somewhere that Stephanie had considered travelling to but was glad that she took the leap of faith and applied. The tour had everything from Chilean BBQ’s to Chilean Business owners.

“On the trip, I got to experience some extraordinary culture through food, BBQ’s, walking tours and classes designed from a Chilean timetable and structure.

“We studied with local Chilean students who had a genuine interest in Business in Latin America and likewise to me had a passion to start a career in business.
Stephanie encourages anyone considering a study tour to take up the opportunity and make it happen.

“This experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I would do again and again and strongly recommend any student who is offered something like this study tour to grab it and go.

Stephanie was selected to represent GOTAFE and was awarded the Lopez-Lochert Scholarship that was established to foster Australian-Chilean relationships.

GOTAFE at Seymour Alternative Farming Expo (SAFE)


GOTAFE’s stand at this month’s Seymour Alternative Farming Expo was very popular, with many inquiries received about courses across all study areas.
The Expo had more than 22,000 visitors and 500 exhibitors, and provided a terrific opportunity for GOTAFE to promote the quality and breadth of training available at our campuses.
Thanks from the marketing team to everyone who helped make our involvement in the Expo such a success. Please see below some photos from the three-day event.
Our name the pig competition was extremely popular so check our Facebook page to see the shortlist and vote for your favourite name GOTAFE Facebook