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.

Seymour Student Recognition Ceremony

GOTAFE celebrated the success of their students last night with an Awards Recognition Ceremony held at the GOTAFE Seymour Campus. 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.

Danni Thompson was awarded the Outstanding Student Award for successfully completing Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30113). GOTAFE Community Services Team Leader, Mary Katsoutas, describes Danni as diligent, persistent and professional. “Danni came to us from a completely different industry. She set a high precedent and always strived for a high level work. A stand out student.”

Diploma of Nursing (HLT51612) student Fiona Dowling was also recognised, awarded the Outstanding Student Award for Health. “It was a privilege to teach such a student who demonstrated such commitment to her studies and goals. Fiona was an outstanding student who participated in classroom discussion regularly and demonstrated that the skills and knowledge gained in class were well performed in the workplace,” explained GOTAFE Health Team Leader, Andrea Steele. “Fiona definitely matured over the course duration and demonstrated her dedication and commitment to providing the best care possible, going that extra mile to achieve satisfaction not only to her clients but for herself in what she achieved.”

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.


Last week GOTAFE’s Hairdressing Department received one of the industry’s highest ticks of approval when it was awarded a Certificate of Accreditation by the Australian Hairdressing Council.

Awarded in recognition of Educational Leadership, GOTAFE joins a select group of accredited registered training providers (RTO’s), one of just three TAFE providers in Victoria.

“The Accreditation process focuses heavily on benchmarks set by industry. They were looking for the highest quality training by industry relevant Trainers, and we have come out on top,” explained GOTAFE Partnership Engagement Manager Kate Storer.

The Australian Hairdressing Council Director of Education and Training, Wendy Blair, conducted the Accreditation for GOTAFE at the end of 2016 and cannot speak more highly of the Institute.

“GOTAFE is amazing and are some of the best advocates for industry that I’ve seen in a government institution. Their staff know what industry want; they are fantastic people in the right job.”

Along with Educational Leadership, GOTAFE was assessed against six additional standards to achieve accreditation:

  • Standard 1: Educational Leadership
  • Standard 2: Recognition – offering recognition for in-salon and product company training
  • Standard 3: Communication and Industry Engagement
  • Standard 4: Training and Assessment Resources
  • Standard 5: Currency of Staff – Hairdressing skills and VET knowledge and skills
  • Standard 6: Salon Design, Operation and Clients
  • Standard 7: Environmental and Social Responsibility

“GOTAFE engages well with community, and importantly, their training meets the business needs of local salons. You can be confident that GOTAFE graduates are well trained and well prepared to meet the needs of industry now and into the future. It’s a great win for industry.”

GOTAFE joins The Gordon Institute of TAFE and Federation University as the only accredited RTO’s in Victoria.

GOTAFE are now accepting Hairdressing Apprentice enrolments. For further details visit or call 1300 GOTAFE (468 233).

Award winning nursing student initially found the hospital environment daunting

A series of traumatic family events prompted Belinda Howes to enhance her skills within the health industry.

After working in Disability Services for a number of years Belinda wanted to up-skill and decided to enrol in the Diploma of Nursing with GOTAFE.

Belinda successfully completed her Diploma in 2016 and was also the recipient of a GOTAFE Nursing Award in 2015. Belinda said that even though she achieved her goals and has been recognised as an outstanding student she still was still apprehensive about starting study again.

“I was really nervous,” she said. “I had my doubts that I wasn’t smart enough at the start of the course and I found the hospital environment intimidating but once I completed the Anatomy and Physiology components of the course I felt more confident and found GOTAFE extremely supporting. The teachers were especially welcoming, supportive and helped keep me on track.”

Belinda went on to say that she loved the course and that undertaking her practical placement was a highlight of her studies. “The diploma was fantastic, I learnt a lot and made lifelong friendships. Placement was definitely the best part of the course, it brought it all together and being able to work with patients really helped solidify the knowledge we had learnt in class.”

Belinda completed numerous placements that included acute and aged care in Mansfield, the medical ward and direct nursing at Wangaratta North East Health as well as hours at Albury Base Hospital.

Belinda would like to undertake more study, specifically courses that focus on diabetes education, emergency care and management. She would also like to complete her registered nurse qualifications then pathway into University.

Belinda also shared her advice to anyone else contemplating a career in the health industry. “Do it, start your studies with GOTAFE, it will be well worth it.”

“If you work hard you will be rewarded and there is always a support network, your trainers and classmates are there to help you.”

GOTAFE Nursing Partnerships

GOTAFE has partnered with a number of organisations and universities to create more options for students to obtain higher qualifications. Specifically the partnership with La Trobe University provides students with a unique opportunity to complete a diploma and a degree in one package.

Dual Enrolment enables students to co-enrol into a diploma and degree at the same time – offering students a streamlined pathway to gaining both qualifications. Students gain the flexibility of either:
• completing a diploma and entering the workforce or
• continue studying and graduate with both a TAFE diploma and a La Trobe University degree.
Read more

Sport & Recreation students assist Collingwood community camp

Last week GOTAFE Sport & Recreation students were given a special treat when asked to assist the Collingwood Football Club on their community camp in Wangaratta. Given the workload on the players AFL Victoria’s Zac Guilffoyle approached Sport and Recreation to assist in the drills with Hundreds of primary school children. GOTAFE students worked alongside the Collingwood elite across two days which saw them utilise coaching techniques and strategies taught during their Diploma of Sports Development course. GOTAFE teacher Richard Mallows says that students weren’t daunted by the task and excelled when working together their AFL role models.

In reciprocation for their work students were treated to a Q& A session with four of the players in the classroom at HP Barr Reserve after the Wednesday Morning session. Players Included Shepparton’s own Steele Sidebottom, 2nd year player Tom Phillips, High flying Melbourne recruit Jeremy Howe and former Murray Bushrangers ruckman Max Lynch. The Q & A session was also attended by the football media, which included Fox Sports and Channels Seven, Ten & Nine, who also conducted a press conference at the Barr Reserve. Students gained a valuable insight of the day to day life of an AFL player asking questions that related to fitness, pre-game preparation, psychology, diet and what the players do in their past time. Players also spoke of their own paths to the top level and the demands of the modern game. The evolving Woman’s AFL competition was also discussed, Steele Sidebottom suggesting that it was great for the game in general. Many GOTAFE students commented that how down to earth the players were and stayed around for a casual chat after the activities.

GOTAFE teachers Richard Mallows, Sharlene Wohlers and Lisa Purcell say that the experience was fantastic for students as it gave a rare insight into the preparation of elite athletes and how high profile people handle themselves in the community. The Teachers went on to say that students taught during the Diploma of Sports Development will have a greater understanding of elite sport given this rare opportunity. The opportunity reaffirms the strong links that GOTAFE Sport and Recreation have with industry such as AFL Victoria.

RISE program to increase employment outcomes for the local Community

GOTAFE is pleased to offer the Regional Indigenous Skills to Employment (RISE) program that will increase employment outcomes for the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community.

GOTAFE currently have nine students completing the program. The program has two parts;

  1. Work Ready model that provides participants with indigenous mentors, careers advisors and knowledgeable trainers who have worked within industry and know what employers want. Participants will gain experience and work-ready skills.
  2. The other model is the traineeship, it enables participants to learn on the job two days a week. Trainees can choose from eight different traineeships that can lead to varied careers including Personal Care Worker to Office Administrator and even Grounds Keeper.

Click here to read more.