Year 12 graduates have got a head start on post-school study at Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College Burwood.
A group of 18 students attended the College immediately after HSC exams finished to convert either a Certificate II in Business or a Statement of Attainment in Information, Digital Media and Technology (IDT) into Certificate III qualifications.
The program includes three weeks of face-to-face classes and guaranteed entry to a Bachelor of Business at the University of Notre Dame without an ATAR. The Smart and Skilled training is subsidised by the NSW government, which has funded and approved for the Catholic Education Office, Sydney Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to deliver the courses at Burwood.
The Catholic Education Office’s Head of Vocational Education and Training Christine Shakya said the program allowed students to finish their qualification in six weeks rather than in a year at TAFE where they would also have to apply for recognition of prior units studied.
“This is a really strategic and innovative step in a new direction for the Catholic Education Office,” she said. “Once students finish the HSC they can continue to do their training with us.
“It’s a targeted program. Because the students have been studying with us for all of this time and we know what they have done, where they’ve come from, and what experience and skills they have we can tailor the program for them.”
The College’s Partnership Manager Michael Morris said the first day of training for the program began the Monday after the last HSC exam for 2015.
“Smart and Skilled funding is not available to school students, so we identified a window of opportunity between the HSC and Christmas where the students can take up the option to complete their Certificate III before the end of this year, then go on to bigger and better things next year,” he said. “It’s the first time I know of any post-school training or education happening as part of Sydney Catholic schools.
“Most schools within the system cover the same units with few variations, so they are consistent units generally that we are providing to make up the gap in each course.”
The first intake for the program has seen 18 students enrol in the two courses, 14 in IDT and four in Business.
The funding available to the organisation next year has more than doubled, which will allow the College to consolidate the programs they have offered this year and extend them to more students, or to add another course from those they have been approved to deliver.
Marist College Kogarah Year 12 graduates Nikola Kevric, 17, and Pasquale Guerrieri, 18, are among the 14 students who opted to take the additional Information, Digital Media and Technology units to gain a Certificate III.
Nikola said the students had finished two thirds of the course in high school and completed units on macros and templates, installing and customising systems and a web development post HSC.
“For the website we have to work in a group of three or four to make a simple website using mark-up language,” he said. “We have client requirements from another group and then we have to implement those requirements into four different pages.
“A lot of people told me this course was a really good head start. I want to get into network administration so after I finish this course I hope to get a job in the industry anywhere that I can fixing computers, then do the Microsoft and Cisco certified network administrator courses. I like everything about computers, and their capabilities.”
Pasquale, 18, has an interest in computer hardware or troubleshooting once completing the course.
“The course is equivalent to a year at TAFE, so it saves a lot of time doing this, and I had heard it was an excellent pathway straight into uni,” he said. “If you are passionate about IT and want to do it, it’s perfect because straight out of high school instead of waiting another year to get a Certificate III you’ve got it within three weeks. It saves time. It saves money. I don’t see why people wouldn’t do it.
“I like talking to people, making them laugh. If I can do that within IT that would be great.”
Mary Mackillop Catholic College Wakeley graduate Jenny Luu and Santa Sabina College Strathfield graduate Jessica Filby have upgraded their Business qualification to a Certificate III through the course at SCCVC.
“I did a Certificate II in high school so I just wanted to extend my knowledge,” Jenny said. “There’s more information, more content on communication, team work, and resolving conflict. We’re learning more about legislation and how to work in an office.”