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

GOTAFE 2018 Apprentice of the Year Announced (Wangaratta)

GOTAFE’s Benalla & Wangaratta Campuses held their annual GOTAFE Trade Awards Gala Dinner on Wednesday 5th December at Oaks at the Wangaratta Turf Club. The awards saw us recognise the achievements of our apprentice students at a gala dinner, attended by apprentices, their employers, business owners and guests.

Awards were presented to apprentices in the first, second, third or fourth years from Automotive, Building & Construction, Electrical, Engineering, Hair & Beauty, Hospitality, Baking and Plumbing learning areas.

This year, Paul de Gelder was our special guest speaker. Paul spoke to guests about his life journey that led him to a career as a navy diver, how he survived a shark attack in Sydney Harbour where he lost an arm and a leg, and how he now travels the world as at top motivational speaker, passionate environmentalist, adventurer and mentor to school kids.

Jessica Plum from Badaginnie was announced as GOTAFE’s 2018 Apprentice of the Year for Benalla & Wangaratta campuses. Jessica, a Hospitality Apprentice, was one of the eight final year apprentices who were awarded the Outstanding Apprentice Achievement Awards for their respective learning areas.

Jessica recently completed SIT30816 Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery) with GOTAFE and is now working with Benalla Gallery Café.

“I am proud to have been nominated. I have always been made to feel comfortable by my trainers at GOTAFE. Food is my passion and GOTAFE has equipped me with the skills I need to be able to go into the future. I feel like I can go anywhere with the training I have undertaken here at GOTAFE. It has allowed me to believe in myself.”

GOTAFE Trainer Glenn Kealy has nothing but high praise for Jessica. “Jessica joined this group of apprentices in 2016 while completing Certificate III in Hospitality. She then took the next step and commenced an apprenticeship.”

“From the very beginning, Jessica always wanted to learn and took everything on board to better herself. Jessica has continued to be a standout and in July of this year, she competed in the AUSTAFE Culinary Competition where she won a bronze medal. Her true character shone through earlier this year when the group faced adversity. Jessica was practically the glue that held the group together. She was an exceptional support to the other students and also to me as her trainer.”

Jessica is a dedicated apprentice who gives 100% at work. In her downtime, Jessica likes to tend to her garden where she grows her own produce to use in her cooking. She also enjoys yoga and also is a current Lions Club Member where she assists with raffles and fundraising.

As long as she can be creative and continue to learn, Jessica plans to continue to work in food as it’s her passion.

2018 Trade Awards Newspaper Spread_Wangaratta


A boost for GOTAFE in Seymour

Today the Victorian Government announced a 2.54million commitment to upgrade facilities if re-elected.  Welcomed to GOTAFEs Seymour campus by GOTAFE CEO Travis Heeney, Minister for Training and Skills, the Hon. Gayle Tierney was accompanied by Member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes and Labor candidate for Euroa, Fionna Deppeler-Morton.

The project will establish multipurpose integrated teaching facilities and flexible learning spaces, with interactive technology and e-learning, supporting local students and helping to meet key learning and increasing student numbers in key areas of skill shortage in the region.

These state-of-the-art learning spaces will support GOTAFE to partner with industry and universities to further develop educational pathways and programs to launch further training within the community. The upgrade of facilities will also include student amenities and upgrades to staff offices.

CEO Travis Heeney speaks of the importance of this announcement. “As the largest TAFE in regional Victoria, GOTAFE plays a vital role in preparing this region with a highly skilled workforce. Today’s announcement represents a critical juncture for GOTAFE and signals a new era in confidence and direction from the state government.”

“We are seeing a consistently high demand for training in both the Diploma of Nursing and in the Certificate IV and Diploma of Community Services. The growth in demand for these areas of study is unprecedented, with the right facilities and teaching resources we are well placed to meet this demand. These committed funds will allow our students to learn in a replicated work environment, using the equipment and facilities they will need to excel in the workplace.”

GOTAFE to remain as Goulburn Valley League Major Sponsor until 2022

We are excited to announce our partnership as major and naming rights sponsor of the Goulburn Valley League has been extended for four more years.

Football clubs harness the collective energy of players, coaches, administrators, volunteers and supporters to not only deliver sport and social activities for members, but for their respective communities. They provide an environment for personal growth, education and team work.

GOTAFE CEO Travis Heeney said “Football and Netball clubs are the backbone of many regional communities within our footprint. GOTAFE certainly has an active interest in the league, with many of our students, apprentices, staff members and graduates as loyal members of the clubs within the league. It made complete sense for us to continue the partnership with GVL.

“The GVL is a fantastic fit for our organisation, as they mirror many of GOTAFE’s values. At a club level, as well as a league level, the GVL have a positive view on the role of lifelong learning. This continued partnership allows GOTAFE to communicate with our local community and to interact with our audiences in an authentic way.”

GVL Chairman, David Roff, believes the partnership is a great step forward for the league.

“The GOTAFE Goulburn Valley League is now a well-established brand in the region and GOTAFE has been a wonderful partner to the Goulburn Valley League so we are thrilled to continue the relationship with them in this new deal.

“We are excited about the opportunities for cross promotion and other joint activity” he said.

Delivering More Tafe Training In Northern Victoria

People in Shepparton will be able to access more TAFE training thanks to a funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney today visited GOTAFE’s Shepparton campus to announce almost $7.5 million to deliver 12 new TAFE courses as well as funding to support GOTAFE’s community services.
More than $4 million will be used to fund new courses to address community needs in growth areas such as agriculture industry expansion and innovation, community services, NDIS readiness and more.
A number of new courses will support Indigenous Australians to access apprenticeships, traineeships and training. In one case GOTAFE is partnering with Indigenous National Technology & Telecom Network to provide pathways into telecommunications work.
Indigenous National Technology & Telecom Network expects to create 120 new jobs over the next 12 months with 44 in the Hume region available to well-trained Indigenous Australians.
More than $3 million in TAFE Community Service funding will go to a range of GOTAFE community services including support for Skills and Job Centres in Shepparton, Wangaratta, Benalla and Seymour.
Extra support will also be provided to help boost student’s literacy and numeracy skills as well as creating a supportive TAFE environment for all ability levels and from all backgrounds.
The new courses are being funded through the Regional Specialist Training Fund, which is ensuring students receive high quality training that delivers the workforce skills employers need.
The GOTAFE TAFE Community Service funding boost is part of the Government’s $48.8 million investment across the state to help to give every student the support they need to get the most out of their time at TAFE.
To make it easier to access training, the Government is investing $172 million to make 30 priority TAFE courses and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses that lead to jobs that are most in demand from Victorian employers tuition free.
The Victorian Budget 2018/19 is investing an additional $644 million to strengthen TAFE, address skills shortages and ensure all Victorians can access the training they need to get a good job.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney
“GOTAFE is vital to delivering quality training to people in Northern Victoria – that’s why we’re funding 12 new courses and boosting support for students.”
“This funding means that more people will have access training closer to home and get the support they need to finish their course.”
“The previous Liberal Government spent four years cutting TAFE and closing campuses – we’re rebuilding TAFE to make sure Victorians can get the training the need to get a job.”


GOTAFE has appointed Travis Heeney as the new Chief Executive Officer.

Mr Heeney, who will take up his new role on July 2, has a strong track record in local government, not for profit and business transformation.

The GOTAFE Board Chair Joanne Dwyer welcomed Mr Heeney’s appointment, which follows recommendations by an independent expert relating to the ongoing delivery of quality education and training in the region.

“Travis has a great understanding of the region, having worked with the Mitchell Shire Council and has the proven experience to oversee organisational change, while building closer relationships with the community,” Ms Dwyer said.

“It was these qualities, which will help make a positive contribution to the culture at the GOTAFE that made Travis stand out in a list of high quality candidates.”

Most recently, Mr Heeney has been contracted to lead business transformation in various regional and metropolitan community focussed organisations, assisting them to achieve their full potential.

Mr Heeney said he was looking forward to working with the GOTAFE organisation over the longer term to build an open and transparent culture, capable of responding to the exciting and evolving landscape of further education both locally and more broadly.

“This is a great opportunity to work with the Board and staff to rebuild the GOTAFE offering, by ensuring we operate collaboratively with government, the community and other stakeholders,” Mr Heeney said.

“Together we will strive to deliver the best opportunities for students and ensure the GOTAFE maintains a prominent and valuable role in the ongoing development of the region.”

Mr Heeney has recently held executive positions with Macedon Shire Ranges Council, Central Goldfields Shire Council, Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre and Mitchell Shire Council.

Werribee Biggest Morning Tea

GOTAFE Werribee campus staff and friends gathered on 26 May to show their support for the Biggest Morning Tea.
The Biggest Morning Tea is an event in coordination with Cancer Council Victoria, with all donations going towards the Cancer Council. The donations will go towards funding for research, prevention programs and support services for family and friends of those effected by cancer.
GOTAFE staff Janice Roberts and Karen Davies helped organise this year’s Biggest Morning Tea.
“We were proud to be one of thousands of hosts across Victoria. Together we raised $1,000 for Cancer Council Victoria’s prevention programs, life-saving research and support services.
“I would like to sincerely thank the GOTAFE staff and their families and friends here in Werribee for their generous support of Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea this May and June”.