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

[1] Source: ABS 2016 Census Data –

[2] Source: Victorian Council of Social Service Data –

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.

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.

To view video Click Here


Jeremy Connell Crowned Victorian Apprentice of the Year

On Wednesday 11 October, GOTAFE Engineering student Jeremy Connell was announced Apprentice of the Year at the Victorian Training Awards (VTA) Presentation night. The evening was held at the Crown Palladium, a venue befitting the achievements of the finalists.

After a vigorous selection process, Jeremy was one of three finalists and was announced as the Apprentice of the Year by the Minister for Training and Skills, the Hon. Gayle Tierney at the awards night. Jeremy was joined by his employer, Heath Lloyd from Wangaratta Engineering, his partner and his GOTAFE Trainer Greg Keane.

GOTAFE Engineering Trainer Greg Keane said he was delighted to attend the VTA Award Ceremony and see Jeremy up on that stage receiving the Apprentice of the Year award.

“When Jeremy’s name was called out as Apprentice of the Year, I couldn’t have been happier,” Greg said. “I have been lucky enough to be involved in Jeremy’s training since he started as a school-based trainee six years ago.”

“Throughout the entire time he stood out, his skills, his passion, his drive, the quiet way he went about his work and for me it was the way he always made time to help his fellow students, he often put their needs above his own.”

“From the start, I knew he was something special, so when he decided to go back to high school to finish Year 12, after finishing Certificate II in Engineering then come back to us to start his apprenticeship which is a slightly different path that a school-based trainee might take, I said to his employer Wangaratta Engineering, this young man is special let’s work with him to make it happen.”

“For our Engineering Department, Jeremy winning this award is affirmation we are doing great work here, we have great facilities, dedicated trainers and a commitment to our students and the broader engineering field.”

The awards recognise and honour the outstanding achievements of vocational education and training students, teachers, training providers and employers across 15 award categories with winners sharing a total prize pool of $65,000.

Phil Guthrie Takes Out Wurreker Awards

Congratulations to Phil Guthrie for winning the 2017 Wurreker Awards!

Wurreker Awards provide are an annual opportunity to showcase the commendable efforts and successes of individuals and organisations working tirelessly to improve the Koorie experience in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.

Phil was recognised for the Wurreker Award through his work within the Academy of Sport, Health and Education (ASHE). He has been with the program for all but nine months of the program’s operations.

Phil is currently the program’s teaching, learning and training coordinator. He continues to grow in his role and is now completing Certificate III in Fitness and Level two AFL coaching qualifications to not only add value to ASHE but also Shepparton’s Aboriginal Community.

Phil is one of Shepparton’s great advocates for Aboriginal Culture. He respects the Shepparton region, and particularly Cummeragunja, as the source of an incredible history of indigenous champions whose contribution to our society is slowly but surely being understood and appreciated by mainstream society today.

Well Done Phil!

VCAL Art Exhibition at William Orr Barn

VCAL and ASHE students have been extremely busy cleaning and organising the barn at our William Orr Barn located in Shepparton in preparation for an art display, and to showcase activities and study undertaken throughout the year.

This event celebrates the awakening of this magnificent building, and to view the wonderful work and studies being undertaken by the VCAL and ASHE students.

New Beginnings At GOTAFE

The TAFE year officially begins this week, with thousands of students preparing to boost their skills at GOTAFE.

GOTAFE offers hundreds of nationally recognised courses for students of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels, explained GOTAFE Executive Manager for Strategy and Commercial Development, Ken McLennan.

“Our student cohort is extremely diverse, from Year 12 graduates and job seekers to current school students, parents and even grandparents. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone, to a year of new opportunities,” said Mr McLennan.

“This Wednesday, over 830 Year 10, VCAL and VCE students will begin their Vocational Education and Training in School (VET in School) Program across our four main Campuses, plus students studying online from around the state.”

The GOTAFE VET in School Program provides secondary school students with the opportunity to complete a nationally accredited and industry recognised qualification while still at secondary school.

“Students complete Year 10, VCAL or VCE and a VETiS Certificate at the same time, giving them greater opportunities for further study or work and a greater understanding of the field they are interested in.”

“GOTAFE is dedicated to providing regional students with access to unique programs, facilities and pathways to university. We have recently introduced a new Apprenticeship in Surf Craft Manufacturing and have a number of exciting new programs in the pipeline that will be announced shortly,” said Mr McLennan.

GOTAFE delivers flexible programs and enjoys a number of partnerships with some of Victoria’s largest Universities including University of Melbourne, RMIT University, Victoria University and La Trobe University and even shares facilities with regional Institutions such as Charles Sturt University and Federation University. These partnerships enable GOTAFE students to receive credit towards further study, providing students with an alternative to direct entry into universities.

There is still time to enrol in courses for 2017, with many courses taking enrolments mid-year and rolling enrolments all year. For a full list of available courses visit or phone 1300 GOTAFE (1300 468 233).

GOTAFE Student Named Apprentice of the Year

The Apprenticeship Factory held its annual Apprentice of the Year awards event last night at the GV Hotel, Shepparton. GOTAFE Apprentice Kain Loveday was announced as the 2016 Barry Franklin Apprentice of the Year.

Fourth year Electrical Apprentice Kain Loveday studies at the GOTAFE Wangaratta Campus and is employed by Roy Lopez Electrical in Alexandra.

Described as a highly valued student, The Apprenticeship Factory have been impressed with his attitude towards his work.

“He is prepared to work long hours and is willing to assist his employer in any way he can.”

Having now completed his A grade exams, Kain would like to complete a Diploma in Electrical Engineering.

With over 8 categories of awards presented and 24 Apprentice’s vying for the major award, the event showcased the achievements of Apprentices from across the region.

GOTAFE is proud to sponsor this event and congratulates all involved.

It’s All Coming Together For The National Dairy Youth Camp

Young people from across the country are preparing to venture to Tatura Park in early January for the National Dairy All Breeds Youth Camp 2017.

With places filling fast, Event Organiser, Industry Trainer for GOTAFE National Centre for Dairy Education (NCDE), Lucy Galt said the Camp is set to be the best yet.

During the five day Camp, participants will develop their knowledge in handling dairy heifers, discuss breeding and discover new technology. Each participant will learn how to care for cattle, including daily feeding, watering, washing, grooming, clipping and monitoring.

Each year the event focusses on a particular theme. The theme for this camp has just been announced, Animal Health and Welfare, a follow on from last year’s theme Nutrition.

“Participants also learn judging, showing and clipping skills, take part in team activities and also peer judging of each other’s showmanship,” explained Ms Galt.

“Participants will develop their confidence in handling dairy Heifers, discuss breeding and new technology. Each participant is supplied with a Heifer and will learn how to care for the animal in the lead up to competition day”.

Holstein Australia is having a classifier attend the event who will be teaching the participants the structure of a cow and advise them on what judges are looking for when they are in the ring.

As the event is running in Tatura, Tatura Milk has organised a private factory tour for the camp. This is a great opportunity for participates to see a fully functioning Dairy factory operate.

“We would like to thank International Dairy Week and Dairy Australia for their support and significant contribution to the event, the supporters, volunteers and John Maher for donating his time to discuss show ethics. Our Major Sponsor, the Dairy Beef Alliance, Team Sponsors ABS Australia, Genetics Australia, Alta Genetics, Profit-a-bull and SEMEX. We would like to thank each of these organisations for their very generous sponsorships because without Sponsors the Camp can’t run.”

To register your interest in attending visit or call Lucy Galt on 0488 144 999. Register before October 30 to be in the draw to win a GOPRO.

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…