Champagnat’s authentic learning in focus

When you walk into a new fully equipped car repair workshop, complete with cars under repair, you don’t expect to find it in a Catholic high school.

L-R MIchael Cano, Alex Lazarov and Teacher Dominic Ritchie

L-R Michael Cano, Alex Lazarov and Teacher Dominic Ritchie

But to Dominic Ritchie, Trade Training Coordinator at Champagnat Catholic College Pagewood, it’s all about authentic learning and training students for careers.

In a joint project with Toyota Australia, the school is training Year 11 and 12 boys in automotive mechanics through the Motor Traders Association. The workshop was fully funded and equipped by the former Federal Government.

Once they complete high school, the boys can either graduate with an ATAR or a Trade Certificate and are offered the opportunity of an interview with Toyota for a first year apprenticeship.

We fixed this this Toyota Corolla, we just pulled the engine apart and put it back together again with new parts.

Alex Lazarov, Year 12

This is one aspect of the school’s Quest program that features for the school in Catholic Schools Week.

“It’s about engaging students in curriculum where they have to meet industry standards and expectations – the program provides opportunities for authentic learning,” said Mr Ritchie.

The Quest program has three main activities that cover the construction industry, hospitality and mechanics.

Soon they’ll take delivery of two new Toyota cars for the boys to learn the intricacies of servicing.

“As part of the three year partnership. Toyota will give us two new cars and the boys will learn about servicing brakes and exhaust systems,” Said Mr Ritchie.

To get the program underway, the school was given two cars in need of repair and the boys have spent their preliminary studies getting them back on the road.

“We fixed this this Toyota Corolla, we just pulled the engine apart and put it back together again with new parts,” said Alex Lazarov a Year 12 student, gesturing to the car.

Alex, who has his “P” plates, does a school based part-time apprenticeship at Midas

His schedule is three days of school, one day at the school’s car workshop and a 12-hour day on Friday at his apprenticeship.

Michael Cano is another Year 12 student in the program. He also has his “P” plates and is not looking for an apprenticeship at the moment because he wants to focus on the HSC.

Michael is also hoping for an interview with Toyota as a trainee manager or salesman.

In September, Quest program students head to the Marist Association farm at Mittagong, The Hermitage, for three days where they will put their practical skills to the test.

The construction students will repair fencing and cattle yards on the farm, the hospitality students will work on “paddock to plate” menus utilising farm produce and the mechanical students will fix the tractors and farm equipment.

“The students are excited about going there. They know they have to meet industry standards,” said Mr Ritchie.

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