More than 70 GOTAFE apprentices employed at BF Panels

Since the early 80’s, B.F. Panels, one of the largest workshops in the Albury region have employed more than 70 GOTAFE apprentices. Recently, Mark Capito scored a Panel Beating apprenticeship with the family owned company.

Production Manager Reg Corbitt said every year he approaches GOTAFE Commercial Manager for Automotive Mark Ward for potential apprentices.

“Each year we employ an apprentice panel beater and spray painter, most of them have been through GOTAFE,” said Reg.

“So since the 80’s that means we have employed at least GOTAFE 70 apprentices, that’s a lot of young people who have been given a start by us.

“We have always had a good relationship with GOTAFE, in particular Mark Ward who is respected by industry and the apprentices and his background trade is spray paint so has industry experience, a good reputation with in the industry and always backs the apprentices he recommends.

“We have recently put on Mark Capito, who completed his Cert II Paint & panel pre-apprentice training in Wodonga at the Wodonga Secondary College and came recommended by Mark.
“Its early days but he is doing well, he is very enthusiastic, he has the right attitude, work ethic and is eager to learn.

“In one week alone we can have at least 50 cars put through the repair process, so for our 30 odd employees and especially our apprentices like Mark they get to work on a large variety of repairs each creating their own challenges and learnings.

“We have a points base pay system where our workshop staff have the opportunity to do more hours to earn more points, so the harder they work the better their opportunity to earn more money on top of their base salary, of course it’s all depended on output.

“I think Mark will do well on this system as he is already showing some good skills and the right aptitude to problem solving.”

Mark was almost a qualified carpenter before he made the switch to a Panel Beating apprenticeship and he is glad he did.

“I am currently a first year apprentice, employed by B.F. Panels,” said Mark.

“I completed a pre-apprenticeship with GOTAFE to see if I liked the automotive trade and from that Mark put my name forward to B.F. Panels when they were looking for an apprentice.

“B.F Panels were really welcoming when I first started, there are really good people here, it’s a good, safe environment to work in.

“It’s a family run business which is what I like and they make it work well, with Mark a spray painter by trade and Scott a panel beater.

“They trust you to do a good, quality job and work out the problem yourself but there is always someone I can ask, they have people on the lookout for you to make sure you do the job right and that is great to have that support and backup.

“It’s a big business and there are new cars in every day, so I am always working on something new and presented with a new problem to solve everyday.

“They also use water based spray paint which is better for the environment and better for those that use it so that was important to me.”

Mark works full-time and completes one week block training at GOTAFE, a total of seven during the year.

Completing a pre-apprenticeship like Mark, gives students essential trade skills so that if they land themselves an apprenticeship they already have good basic knowledge of the trade, it also gives the students a good opportunity to see if that’s what they want to do as a career.

GOTAFE is now offering mid year intake for paint and panel out of Wodonga Secondary College and also at its Wangaratta Campus. Contact us to learn more.

New study opportunity lands in Benalla

GOTAFE have begun delivering Certificate IV in Education Support (CHC40213) in Benalla, with a new intake round commencing 29 June 2017.

Previously only offered in Shepparton, the course provides students with the skills required to work as a qualified Teachers Aide or Education Assistant in primary and secondary schools as well as kindergartens.

Benalla resident and mother of four, Cheryl Gray, began her studies in Shepparton in July 2016, but has since been able to transfer to Benalla to complete her qualification. The former ANZ Service Consultant from Gippsland, relocated to Benalla two years ago to be closer to family and chose Education Support so she could better assist students with additional needs, just like her eight year old daughter.

“I saw a need to help assist Teachers in the classroom with students who have additional needs like my daughter. It’s been a huge career change but I’m now passionate about supporting children and now have the knowledge to back it up,” said Ms Gray.

“I love being on placement! I’m currently on placement at Violet Town Primary School and worked at Benalla Primary School last year. I’ve almost finished my studies and hope to be able to work in a school in Benalla; I feel like I have made the right choice.”

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,” said Ms Fasano.

“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. A Certificate IV in Education Support is looked upon favourably by universities and can be used with some Institutes as an ATAR alternative or stepping stone to further study.” And Ms Gray’s advice to anyone thinking about returning to study?

“Come to GOTAFE and talk to a Trainer. They will make sure you understand what you are signing up for and will make sure the course is right for you. Add your study commitments into your routine and you’ll be fine.”

Classes commence 29 June 2017. Information sessions are being held on Thursday 8 June in Benalla at 2pm and 5pm. Click here to register or call on 1300 GOTAFE (468 233).

Womens Health Awareness Week 13-16 June

The second week in June will see the launch of GOTAFE’s inaugural ‘Women’s Health Awareness Week’. The week will feature a series of activities including a Yoga Class facilitated by Aquamoves, a bake sale prepared by GOTAFE Hospitality and Baking students, a lunchtime walking group, Health Seminar presented by GV Health and prizes donated by GOTAFE’s Hairdressing & Beauty Salon.

  • 13 Tuesday June: Aquamoves Yoga Class 1-2pm
  • 14 Wednesday June: GOBake Sale 1-3pm
  • 15 Thursday June: Walking Group 1-2:30pm
  • 16 Friday June: GV Health Seminar & Raffle Draw 10:30am to 12:30pm

The week was initiated by GOTAFE Hospitality Teacher, Anita McFarlane, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Ms McFarlane kick-started the idea in May by chopping off her hair alongside her sister Valerie Low and niece Yolanda Low. Their hair was donated to the Variety Charity to make wigs for sick children.

Ms McFarlane would like to use her experience with breast cancer as a way of encouraging women to prioritise their health.
“As women we are often so busy caring for the needs of our family and friends that we often overlook our own health. Unfortunately, because I did this, I now find myself in a challenging situation,” said Ms McFarlane.

“Being aware of Women’s Health issues is important for everyone in the community. Partners, children, friends and family members should remind the women in their lives to have regular health checks.

“If it wasn’t for my husband nagging me to get a check-up, things could have been a lot worse. So I have that to be thankful for.”  Ms McFarlane has set up a donation page, with all proceeds going to the Goulburn Valley Breast Cancer Special Purpose Fund, operated by GV Health, Shepparton.

GOTAFE’s Women’s Health Awareness Week is open to the public. For updates please visit the GOTAFE Facebook page.

Discovering Nursing as the forever career

At 22, Jack Armstrong has discovered his forever career path, Nursing.

Jack is a Stanhope native, and a current enrolled student in the Diploma of Nursing (HTL54115) at GOTAFE’s Fryers Street Campus in Shepparton. He also works part time as a Health Assistant in Nursing (HAN) at Goulburn Valley Health, also in Shepparton.

Jack went to Rushworth P-12 College, and studied Physics, chemistry, fast tracked biology, english, maths and business management. The sciences were his forte and during year 12 fell into the trap of thinking he had to go to University as his next step.

Jack then enrolled at Ballarat University (now Federation University) in 2013 to study Metallurgy, and got three quarters of the way through first year before realising that this wasn’t the right career path and decided to look for full time employment.

Jack joined his local community groups the Mens Shed and Stanhope Business Centre before finding employment with the Rushworth Aged Care Hostel in 2015. He then moved on to the Tatura GV Health Hospital and Aged Care, and that eventually evolved into a new position looking after the residents group activities. It was then that Jack was then made aware of the GOTAFE traineeship course in Health Services Assistance, which involved six months studying and working part time which he applied for and commenced almost immediately.

After his traineeship concluded earlier this year, Jack decided to take his skills further and enrolled in Nursing at GOTAFE. Jack has been in the course for almost a semester and is currently enjoying the subjects Anatomy and Physiology of Humans (APH), learning about how the body functions and learning Nursing Fundamental Skills. Placements are also coming up, firstly with two weeks of Aged Care in mid June at the Waranga Memorial Hospital at Rushworth.

Jack expects to complete his course midyear in 2018 and move directly into the Bachelors Degree at La Trobe University courtesy of his dual enrolment. Jack plans to stay regional and work with outlying communities once he has completed his degree.  Jack says, “the training facilities are great at GOTAFE in a realistic environment which is important for preparing you for your placements.”

Nursing runs in the family with Jack’s Mother and Aunt working as Nurses, and Jack’s sister is currently studying midwifery. It took Jack awhile but eventually came to the conclusion that he was destined for the family career.  Jack says, “Be ready to be challenged, but if you love working with people and caring for people, you will love the course. There are infinite area’s you can work in in the future and I’ve found my life long career finally and am very happy.”

Nursing sound like a interesting career? Mid year enrolments are now open, click here to apply now.


Dairy & Agriculture industry celebrates students achievements

GOTAFE’s National Centre for Dairy Education (NCDE), in partnership with Dairy Australia (DA) will host an Industry Celebration on Wednesday 10 May 2017 at the GV Hotel Shepparton.

The evening celebrates the successful completion of qualifications by students along with announcing the 2016 Outstanding Student of the Year.  Local, regional and national industry representatives, including representatives from Dairy Australia and Murray Dairy will also be in attendance.

GOTAFE NCDE Trainer, James Goulding taught Student of the Year, Rory Shepherd from Nathalia who completed Certificate III in Agriculture – Dairy Production (AHC30210).

“Rory is a very committed and diligent student who shows maturity beyond his years. He works on a Bio Dynamic accredited farm where he is actively applying the skills, knowledge and techniques, he has learnt on and off the job. Rory is only too happy to share with the class his experiences and only last week hosted a farm walk where he and his father gave a very in-depth presentation on how the Bio Dynamic principles work.

“We know from our industry contacts and continuing relationships with the students that Rory’s story is not unique and many of our students are furthering their careers in the dairy industry and broader agriculture.”

HW Greenham & Sons Pty Ltd, a multi-million dollar meat export business has teamed up with GOTAFE to offer a scholarship designed to encourage and support young people wanting to explore a career and training in the dairy industry but who are facing financial hardships.

For the first time, the 2017 Greenham GOTAFE Dairy Scholarship will be awarded as part of the event, explained GOTAFE’s NCDE Commercial Manager, Luke Prime.

“2012 Winner Katherine Snell will showcase what she has been able to achieve with the assistance of the Scholarship and the brand new Scholarship recipient will be announced.”

The evening will also feature a panel session with four industry representatives looking at the future opportunities of the food and fibre industry.

GOTAFE award recipients:

Award Course Student Home Town
Encouragement Award Certificate II in Agriculture
Leah Orton Gapsted
Outstanding Student Award Certificate II in Agriculture  AHC20110 Jack Leahy


Encouragement Award Certificate III in Agriculture (Dairy Production)
Josh Turvey Koondrook
Outstanding Student Award Certificate III in Agriculture (Dairy Production)
Rory Shepherd Nathalia
Encouragement Award Certificate IV in Agriculture (AHC40116)


Madeleine Monk Kyabram
Outstanding Student Award Certificate IV in Agriculture (AHC40116)


Meeka Wigg Lockington
Outstanding Student Award Diploma in Agriculture (AHC50110)


James Whatman Muckatah
Overall Student of the Year Award 2016 Certificate III in Agriculture (Dairy Production)
Rory Shepherd Nathalia

2017 Victorian Training Awards Now Open

Now in its 63rd year, the prestigious Victorian Training Awards recognise and honour the outstanding achievements of Vocational Education and Training students, teachers, training providers and employers.

Nominations close midnight, Friday 16 June.

Visit the official VTA page here.

GOTAFE will be submitting entries in a number of the organisational categories.
If you would like to nominate someone or yourself, send an email to

Our People: Glenn Kealy, Hospitality

Glenn Kealy, GOTAFE Wangaratta Hospitality Trainer talks about his passion for teaching and his experience in hospitality that spans almost 35 years.  “I love mentoring my students, they love the way I teach and in my 14th year of teaching I am still reinventing myself and what I teach, I am constantly adjusting to my customer’s needs, but this time it’s not a menu it’s a style of teaching,” said Glenn.

“The best part of my job is guiding, facilitating and mentoring my students to be the best chefs they can be, if they enjoy class and go on to succeed in the industry then I know I am doing my job.

“I bring passion, a strong work ethic and experience to teaching every day.

“It can be exhausting, most teachers will empathise with me, every time you teach, you are on show, it’s a performance, and you must be engaging, be real and be informative every time you teach.

“I still second guess myself and question whether my skills and experience are enough to teach, but deep down I know they are. And every now and then I get a thank you email or card or just a simple face to face thank you and I realise how much I have to offer and how much I have passed on.

“And sometimes it is my job to keep the passion alive for students, being an apprentice isn’t easy, it is hard work, long and odd hours and you don’t always get to see the joy your creation brings to your customers.

“I started out as a 16 year old trainee chef in my hometown of Harvey in Western Australia, so I know what it is like to start out in the industry.

“The Wagon Wheels Motel and the Harvey Hotel taught me a bit of everything of the industry as a whole.

“After that I worked in a number of big hotels on the Gold Coast including the Ramada Hotel, then back to Western Australia to work at the newly built Cable Beach Club in Broome.

“The Cable Beach Club was my first taste of what good food was all about, it was high quality food and high quality service, and it was a standout in my early career.

“At the Club I worked with international chefs who were handpicked by Lord (Alistair) McAlpine.

“I always felt like a bit of a country kid playing with the big boys but with hard work and passion I felt like I earnt my stripes.

“We had our preparation stations, our specialities if you like and I was amongst chefs from Italy, France, South African and England, we were expected to produce the highest standard for our domestic and international guests.

“After that I travelled overseas working in a variety kitchens for a variety of organisations, including P&O Ridge View Lodge that would cater and board the homeless just outside of London, and The Thistle Hotel chain in Aberdeen Scotland.

“All these experiences and overseas travelling taught me how to meet different customers’ needs which help me now as a teacher.

“Back in Australia at the age of 24 I was setting up a tavern restaurant called Sandy Cove in Mandurah south of Perth, then as a chef at the well-known and award winning Subiaco Hotel, then moving to Melbourne I worked in Melbourne at The Snail and Bottle Restaurant at the Law Institute of Victoria then moving to the North East I worked locally at King River Café, Spotless in Wodonga and now as a trainer at GOTAFE in Wangaratta.

“My students tell me they have to listen to me because I keep them guessing, they never know what is coming next, for me that’s a great compliment.”

Joining the Furniture Making business

At just 19, Tammy Camilleri has almost completed her Certificate II in Furniture Making (MSF20313) at GOTAFE’s Seymour Campus.

Tammy completed highschool in 2015 at Whittlesea Secondary College in Northern Melbourne then commenced Furniture Design at RMIT University.  After six months, Tammy learned that the university course wasn’t designed for school leavers and decided to make the change to vocational education.  A friend suggested the GOTAFE Furniture Design course at the Seymour campus and Tammy took the opportunity to enrol in late 2016.

Living between Glenroy in Melbourne and Clonbinane, Tammy commutes to Seymour several times a week to finish off her course, which she describes “as a perfect fit for her.”

So far to date Tammy has completed an ornate chopping block, coffee table, blanket box, side table and a hallway table and has plenty of ideas for future projects to complete. She has also been asked on numerous occasions to make furniture for friends and family, however the lack of access to a workshop has limited the completion of these additional projects.

“I’m currently looking for an apprenticeship.  There appears to be many in cabinet making, but furniture making is what I want to do,” said Tammy.  Her father was a cabinet maker for more than 25 years, mainly with white box and kitchens, however had a real talent for solid timber so he completed special jobs. He always made things at home and Tammy would join in to help which helped her find her passion with furniture making.

Tammy has loved the course and Rob Freeman her teacher, has been incredibly supportive and allowed Tammy to be more creative with projects than the outlined design. “Tammy has been a wonderful student and very creative, she asks to make tweaks to traditional design and creates beautiful and interesting furniture with meticulous care,” said Rob.

Tammy is currently looking for an apprenticeship and would love to see more women in the industry.

Looking to start a career in Furniture Making? Why not enrol in this entry-level certificate to get you started just like Tammy.  Mid year enrolments are now open.

Go Places with GOTAFE.

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.