GOTAFE’s VCAL students have embraced the challenge of creating a social enterprise projects as part of their VCAL studies.
GOTAFE Trainers Mitch Seaton and Jane Leonard said the students have really invested in the projects, with projects ranging from Indigenous Socks ‘Dot 2 Dot’ and Beanies ‘Knitt Witts’.
“The aim of the social enterprise project is to create a business or enterprise that generate funds, with 51% of the profits going towards a social cause,” said Mitch.
“The students get to choose the project, something they are passionate about, something they can really focus their energy on and hopefully generate some funds for a cause they believe in.
“One of our students Jordan Wilson, from the Wiradjuri Tribe has really revelled in the challenge, designing socks with an indigenous theme that features the Goanna, his totem animal.
“Jordan’s socks have already arrived and he is selling them for $12 pair with 51% profits going towards Rumbalara’s Aboriginal Homelessness Sleepout program.
“Other projects include Classy Moustache – a moustache darkening tool, Knitt Witts – beanies Graces Semicolon Enterprise, Stevie’s Gumball Machine, Darcys Dog Coats, Tail Wagging Dog Tags – personalised dog tags, Teniece’s Cook Book, Jarvis’s Jerry Cans and Bryne’s Candles.
“The social enterprise project model is hands-on and allows for students to create something that might aid them in the future.
“Through the project the students learn business skills including how to create business and marketing plans, budgeting skills, bookkeeping and design and creating as well.
“The project also challenges the students to think of the bigger picture and that is that young people today face a different world of work, with less opportunities for ongoing lifelong paid employment, less need for more traditional employability skills, and more need for developing flexible entrepreneurial skills more suited to changing technologies, economies and communities.
“The students also build on their essential skills around numeracy, literacy, personal development and work related skills.”
The concept of Social Enterprise was introduced by Tash McCormick, Commercial Manager for Learning Skills & Koorie Unit. The project is in partnership with Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurs (ACRE) who take the students through the process of social enterprise, from ideas to reality.
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.
The GOTAFE VCAL Program has finished up the year on a high, with a celebration at the GOTAFE William Orr Campus in Shepparton last week.
Students participating in the Personal Development Skills course reflected on their achievements during a presentation to GOTAFE CEO and Management, along with their family and friends.
Throughout the year the students worked on a number of hands-on projects including building a wood-fired pizza oven and creating a graffiti mural wall. They spent their time learning new skills including stencil and poster art, bricklaying, drawing and spray painting, explained VCAL Coordinator Dani Gow.
“With the assistance of a $600 Bunnings Voucher from the Greater Shepparton Connected Community Grants Program run by the Bendigo Bank, we were able to purchase the paint and supplies required to complete these projects,” said Ms Gow.
Both the pizza oven and graffiti wall are located in the former Billabong Garden Complex. Before the students could begin the creative side of these projects, they were required to get their hands dirty and turn the dilapidated facility into a safe and clean environment once more.
“For one day a week, our students set about transforming the facility, and beautifying it in their own way. They have all done a fantastic job, and through this project they have been able to produce high quality artworks. They have enjoyed the learning process and now have smiles on their faces – which is the most important thing”.
GOTAFE Trainer David Czech, has been assisting the students with their design skills and said the group has really thought about the work they created and have used it as a way to express themselves.
“One student has titled her work Dark Past, Bright Future, describing how she feels about their own life now that she is part of this VCAL Program.”
The artwork displayed on the graffiti wall is a combination of stencil and poster art. Some of the artwork featured on the wall was provided by ‘CzechyArt’, Mr Czech’s own design firm.
Mr Czech documented the entire process and has produced a fantastic 80 page book complete with photos of each stage and reflections from every student on their contribution. Thanks to GOTAFE Management, the students will be receiving a copy of the book, which will act as a lasting momento of their exceptional year of study.
“The grant we received provided us with a fantastic opportunity for the students to express themselves through a long lasting piece of artwork – the students have entitled it ‘VCAL – Its how we think”.
The GOTAFE Learning Skills Unit runs VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) programs at each campus, providing students who need additional support with a hands-on senior secondary certificate of education, practical work-related experience as well as the opportunity to develop literacy and nu-meracy and personal skills.