Edward John Eyre High School have been recognised through the Australia Training Award for their popular VET Program.
The school has been named one of three finalists in the School to VET Pathways category, which focuses on innovative models for delivering VET with strong links to post-school pathways
Principal Tim Kloeden said a conscious effort had been made to broaden vocational pathways at Edward John Eyre.
“To do that we looked at a model that could then support other students in our region while moving away from an online delivery model,” he said.
EJEHS moved towards a model that saw TAFE lecturers come to Whyalla from Adelaide to provide face-to-face delivery for students, which Mr Kloeden said was ‘far more engaging’ than the online alternative.
That was trialed in 2016 and subsequently opened up to partner schools around the Eyre Peninsula through the EP Secondary Schools Hub that stretches from Whyalla to Ceduna and Port Lincoln.
Fitness and Sports and Recreation were the first two subjects trialed through the program. Since then many more have been added at both Cetificate II and II.
Those include Automotive Servicing Technology, Electrotechnology, Tourism, and Allied Health Services.
Students from partner schools would travel to Whyalla and access courses through the University of South Australia Whyalla Campus, with EJEHS undertaking the duty of care.
Group Pathway Manager Karen Skinner said opening the program up to partner schools meant EJEHS attracts more students to participate in the VET program each year.
“We currently offer 18 VET courses but just as Eyre High School we could not fill those every year. We get between 10 and 20 additional students from the region each year which tops up the numbers,” she said.
Across the board more than 180 students are engaged in the school’s VET program, with a marked improvement in SACE completion at EJEHS.
“We know that our kids now have some direction when they leave school. They can move onto something rather than being in the unknown,” Mr Kloeden said.
Mr Kloeden said receiving recognition for the VET program on a national stage was very significant for the school community.
“For our staff who have invested so much of their time, for the parents to have confidence that what we’re doing is being nationally-recognised and for our students,” he said.
“We couldn’t do this if we didn’t partner closely with TAFE, their support has been significant. UniSA have provided that flexibility to allow students from remote areas to access the program.
“Our employers know what we’re doing here is nationally-recognised, so they can have confidence that the students coming through this program are going to be the best-prepared they can be.”