Positive Disruption – 20 years of putting young people at the centre through applied learning and place-based partnerships
Trent McCarthy is Chair of Victorian Local Learning and Employment Networks (VicLLENs) and Chief Executive of Central Ranges LLEN. Alongside these roles, Trent has served as a Councillor at Darebin in Melbourne’s north since 2008. Prior to joining the LLENs, Trent worked as a strategist, facilitator and speaker with a special focus on helping young people create meaningful change. Trent also enjoyed a 10 year stint in the Melbourne Comedy Festival, including touring intercultural comedy shows to schools and communities throughout regional Victoria. Trent is a co-founder of the Whitelion Bail Out, which raised over $8 million in support of young people in detention and at risk. A third generation game show winner (yes, that’s a thing), Trent feels very lucky to work with Victoria’s 31 LLENs as they celebrate 20 years of making the outcomes for young people everyone’s business.
Applied Learning: Rising to the challenge for 2023 and beyond
Professor Damian Blake is Head of School for Deakin University’s School of Education and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has extensive experience in program development across a range of education fields, including applied learning, initial teacher education, higher education, and professional and vocational education. Damian’s research and teaching experience includes the use of applied learning and partnership-based approaches in schools, universities and TAFE settings. He has recently completed two ARC-funded research projects including one investigating ‘Innovative partnerships for youth engagement in education and work’ which is exploring how partnership-building pedagogies such as applied learning can improve educational outcomes for young people. Damian’s most current work includes working in partnership with DET to support the need to increase the quality and supply of VCAL and VET specialist teachers in Victorian schools.
Senior Secondary Certificate Reform – VCE, Vocational VCE and what next
Susan Bell, Executive Director Senior Secondary Reform, VCAA
Melanie Brooks, Education Specialist Senior Secondary Reform, VCAA
Dawn Ross, Education Specialist, VCAA
Sue Bell has been involved in education for 40 years. She has taught in, and been a leader in, tech schools, academic high schools and pathway colleges, giving her a broad view of the teaching and learning experience of local and international students.
Sue was Executive Principal of Monash College, the pathway college for Monash University, for 5 years. She had campuses on the Clayton, Caulfield and Peninsula campus of Monash University, and four overseas campuses in Singapore, Guangzhou, Sri Lanka and Jakarta. Prior to this she was Assistant Principal at Melbourne High School for 10 years, filling the role of Acting Principal for a total of 2 years. Her passion has always been about improving learning outcomes for students through understanding how they learn best. Sue was then Principal of Wantirna College, where she was working with her staff and the local community to use data and research to maximise the learning of individuals. From the beginning of 2018, Sue has been supporting the work of secondary principals across the State and promoting public education through her role as President of Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals. Sue is currently Acting Executive Director with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, working on incorporating applied and vocational learning directly into senior secondary education.
Melanie is currently an education specialist in the Senior Secondary Certificate Reform team. Melanie has been working in the VCAL and VET sector for 19 years in a variety of settings. Former VCAA VCAL teacher of the year award recipient, Mel is passionate about student engagement through practical, authentic and applied learning.
Dawn has been an English & EAL teacher for 20 years in both government and independent secondary schools. During that time, Dawn has taught EAL, English & English Literature in years 7 – 12. Dawn has held a variety of leadership positions including Head of Teaching and Learning, Head of English and Head of Middle school. She is particularly passionate about creating engaging curriculum and programs that create curiosity and interest in her students. She is excited to be working on the Senior Secondary Reform team and helping to deliver these transformational changes in Victorian education.
Working towards Work
Narelle Bean, VCAA VCAL teacher of the year 2016, Director of Curriculum, Werribee Secondary CollegeWork Related Skills strand is a very important part of the VCAL program. In this workshop Narelle will demonstrate how they model and teach skills, develop confidence and assist students in working towards volunteering, Structured Workplace Learning and work. Narelle will provide a several examples of delivering and planning for engaging WRS projects that are student driven, teacher assisted and whole class driven to help build ideas and add to your Applied Learning resources.
Narelle is the Director of Curriculum at Werribee Secondary College. She was awarded the VCAA 2016 VCAL Teacher of the year early in 2017. Narelle has developed and shared WRS integrated programs in a wide range of settings at all three levels of VCAL. With over 20 years of experience in education, she is a firm believer that relationship development in the workplace is integral to student success in VCAL.
Small group, great success (which can be replicated anywhere!)
Cherie Osta, VCAL Teacher of the year 2017
Geoff Bird, Retired VCAL Hero
Cherie Osta is an extremely committed and motivated teacher who develops meaningful and practical projects in collaboration with her students and the community. This has been acknowledged through multiple VCAA VCAL awards, with the 2017 VCAL Teacher of the Year Award the most recent. Cherie is a dynamic conference presenter and VALA committee member with over 12 years of working in applied learning at Lorne P-12 College.
Geoff Bird was instrumental in setting up Lorne-Aireys Inlet P-12’s highly regarded and multiple award winning applied programs. A highly experienced, committed and motivated teacher and workshop presenter, Geoff is a master in demonstrating how to develop and construct meaningful and practical projects in collaboration with the community.
A Thematic Approach to Integrated Projects: A Case Study on Respectful Relationships
Felicity Fox, VCAL Teacher, Penola Catholic College
Christina Paizes, VCAL Numeracy Teacher, Melbourne Polytechnic
Phase 1: The Research – A Targeted Youth Perspective. What does it mean to be a young man growing up in Melbourne in 2020?
Phase 2: Develop a prototype learning resource to facilitate discussion and learning around respectful relationships for young people between the ages of 16 and 20. Come on our 2020 journey with us and share the highs and lows of a unique 2020. At the end of the session you will walk away with a toolkit of tips and practical advice on how to integrate and negotiate VCAL units in your classroom.
Felicity is a dedicated, passionate and enthusiastic Mathematics and WRS teacher. She has been teaching VCAL over the last 11 years across all levels in both the Secondary and TAFE sectors. She is currently teaching VCAL WRS at Penola Catholic College. Felicity is passionate about teaching young people the skills they will need beyond the school setting and is determined to make curriculum real and relevant for her students.
Christina has over 25 years of experience in the education sector. Her extensive industry and academic experiences have influenced her approach and commitment to managing change effectively within organizational and academic life. To this end her view is that learning & development is the vehicle toward the facilitation of effective transitions in today’s work/life reality. As a teacher of Senior VCAL she is passionate about making a positive contribution to the education of young learners. This year Christina was awarded the VCAA VCAL Teacher Achievement Award 2020 for her Senior Integrated Program.
Work Related Skills at the heart of Applied Learning
Tina Sonka, Applied Learning Coordinator, Nagle College, BairnsdaleDeveloping students’ entrepreneurial skills through small business projects has been central to the Work Related Skills units Tina teaches. The workshop is full of examples, tips and strategies from product ideas to selling, marketing and meeting the learning outcomes of Work Related Skills and above all, preparing students for their path beyond the school gate.
Tina has been involved in VCAL since its inception and has taught the program in three schools covering all strands and most levels. In 2013 Tina completed her Masters in Applied learning at Latrobe University. Her contributions to applied learning has been recognised with a number of awards.
‘Partner Up’ with the VEC: Celebrating 13 years of free teaching and learning civics resources – and looking forward to the next exciting chapter!
James Fiford, Education, Inclusion & Youth Engagement Specialist, Victorian Electoral Commission
Kelly Machin, Young People Inclusion Officer, Victorian Electoral Commission
Join the VEC’s Passport to Democracy (PTD) team to celebrate the partnership we have built (over more than a decade!) in providing your students with varied civic opportunities and resources that have enabled them to not only succeed in their studies but to also develop into active citizens. Our session will highlight how the VEC will continue to support you with tailored and completely free resources as applied learning undergoes some big changes. Join us as we demonstrate our new and improved PTD website, engage you in fun and interactive classroom activity ideas, and offer you a forum to shape future applied learning resources to support your students in their learning and on their journey beyond your classroom.
James Fiford is the Education, Inclusion & Youth Engagement Specialist at the Victorian Electoral Commission. An experienced history, English and civics & citizenship educator and writer, James leads the VEC’s young people team managing engagement programs which are targeted at 10-29 year olds across Victoria. He and his team engage with young people, in schools and in out of school settings, about democracy, rights and responsibilities, and the Victorian (and Australian) political context.
Kelly Machin is passionate about empowering and amplifying young voices. In her role of Young People Inclusion Officer at the Victorian Electoral Commission, she provides support for the implementation of the VEC’s Young People Inclusion Plan and assists with the VEC’s Passport to Democracy education program. In the past, Kelly has worked with young people in education settings and youth organisations in mentoring, empowerment, and engagement roles.
A pathway for every student: applied learning at Mentone Grammar
Shelley Muir, Head of Future Pathways/VCAL Coordinator, Mentone GrammarMentone Grammar has offered VCAL since 2017. In that short time, the program has grown from six students to 40 and won several VCAA Achievement Awards and local Applied Learning Awards. This workshop will outline the successes of students at Mentone Grammar, from enrolment stage, through transition, to graduation, and discuss the importance of student agency, recognition of achievements and an integrated approach to learning.
Shelley Muir has been teaching and coordinating VCAL in government and independent settings for more than 10 years. She is passionate about applied learning and advocating for educational programs that provide for diversity in learning styles, needs and personalities! Shelley was awarded the VCAA Teacher Achievement Award for Program Development in 2019.
VCAL – Individualised learning programs – Forming links with Community Organisations
Kerrie Hammond, Woodmans Hill Secondary CollegeKerrie’s programs have a strong focus on individualised student learning programs and integrated projects. Flexible delivery underpins these VCAL program as this achieves positive learning outcomes for students. These programs have developed by developing and implementing partnerships with community resources such as Group Training Companies. During her tenure at Western Heights College she ensured that all Intermediate VCAL students take part in the Multi-Industry School Based and Pre-Apprenticeship Support Project, followed by Structured Workplace Learning opportunities specific to the needs of each student. The program is outcome based and focused on careers in the Geelong and Bellarine areas.
The majority of the Senior VCAL students undertake SBAT’s, with employment opportunities spread across a variety of industries and placement days customised to meet the needs of the employer and student. To further develop students’ employability skills, Senior students planned and set up an enterprise called Create Twelve. They have a shop on-site where they sell merchandise made by students in the VCAL program. Students take responsibility for the planning, set-up and on-going operation of the shop.This program has 60 students enrolled in VCAL.
Kerrie has taught and led applied learning programs in a number of education settings including the State, Catholic and TAFE sectors. She is a qualified careers practitioner and is undertaking a Master of Education – Applied Learning. Her focus is on leading teams to provide authentic and individualized learning programs for students, particularly for students who are applied learners. Prior to moving to Kerrie Woodmans Hill Secondary College in Ballarat she was integral to the design and delivery of the VCAL program at Western Heights College.
Community Partnerships in Applied Learning – a tour of successful community partnerships ANYONE can establish
John Tabone, Retired VCAL teacherPartnerships with external organisation enrich the learning experiences for your students, and should be a the core of any applied learning program!
In this hands-on workshop you will:
- learn what community partnerships look like in real life
- see examples of community partnerships that could be translated into your own localities
- learn how to establish a community partnership
You will also work in small groups to commence the process of establishing a community partnership in your area.
Prior to retirement John taught for over 30 years as well as working in industry. His passion since the introduction of VCAL has been to bring the community into the classroom and the classroom into the community, where he was fortunate enough to establish several partnerships, many of which still operate today.John was a presenter at the International Partnership Conference in Finland in 2008, awarded the VCAL Chair’s Award for VCAL Achievement in 2008, completed a Master of Education (Applied Learning) as well as serving as the VCAL Liaison Teacher for the Loddon Mallee region for 8 years.In retirement John continues to advocate for Applied Learning, working with schools and organisations to further their efforts to grow their applied learning programs.
From Woe to Wow
Mandy Holmes, VCAL coordinator, Bairnsdale Secondary CollegeTalk about a shake up! Following what can only be described as a pretty woeful review of our VCAL program, the team at Bairnsdale SC set about a complete design. Through the support of their leadership team, enhancing learning spaces, increasing expectations, setting VCAL entry requirements as well as adding other key ingredients the turn around of this program has been absolutely remarkable!
Join Mandy as she shares their journey from Woe to Wow.
After teaching secondary IT in England for 8 years, Mandy emigrated to Australia with her husband, securing a job as a Leading Teacher teaching IT and VCAL. 10 years later, she has well and truly caught the VCAL bug – co-ordinating a now very successful program at Bairnsdale Secondary College.
Bridging with Books
Mal Hand, VCAL teacher, Swinburne UniversityVCAL students designed, created and maintained a community book chest out of community donations and connected with Migrant Education parents to co-read their choice of books from our library, so that the parent can then take home and read to their child. This project facilitates strong connections, cross cultural understanding and respect for all participants that went well beyond ‘let’s read a book together’!
Mal Hand has spent her life working with teenagers, as a Secondary school teacher of English and Maths; as a youth worker, and as a foster parent. She has been teaching VCAL since its inception, teaching all strands of the program. She is a passionate VCAL teacher, who willingly shares her knowledge, skills and materials with all practitioners. Last year Mal has participated in the Target Numeracy Group, trialling the new Numeracy program for 2019. Mal has an abiding interest in adolescent wellbeing. She is also a published author, writing under the pseudonym of Elizabeth Margaret. Mal considers herself very fortunate to be able to use her teaching and youth work skills to assist these resilient young people with their challenges on the journey to adulthood.
Why has VCAL been Successful?
David Gallagher, Applied Learning Mentor and LecturerWith VCAL merging into VCE applied learning it is important to spend time reflecting on why the VCAL is a success and why much of the VCAL DNA must not be lost with the move to the VCE.This workshop will focus on the factors that have made VCAL successful. Topics to be discussed include:
- a brief overview of growth in student enrolments
- a case study that vividly highlights the value of VCAL to an individual student
- why VCAL is important.
The workshop will also discuss some of the strengths of VCAL including:
- Passionate VCAL teachers and their characteristics
- Community engagement
- 21st century skills and why they are important
- Hands on activities
- The opportunity for students to undertake real world activities often student initiated
- The difference between and the importance of know what and know how
- Multi intelligences and their role in VCAL.
An important part of this workshop will be the opportunity for participants to share their VCAL success stories with the other participants. Participants are encouraged to share some of their VCAL successes based on one or more of the above dot points.
David Gallagher has been involved with secondary education for 50 years. He was the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) Manager with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority until his retirement in 2014.David has a Master of Education (Applied Learning), a Graduate Diploma in Career Education and a Higher Diploma of Teaching – Secondary.During his career David has provided professional development activities for teachers in Victoria, interstate and internationally, including the Institute of Applied Technology in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he provided advice and support to establish an applied learning certificate for UAE students. He lectures to undergraduates in theories of applied learning, program design, assessment and engaging disadvantage students at Latrobe University. His articles on the VCAL, applied learning and student engagement have been published in both state and international journals.
Integrated Programs and Industry Partnerships School-wide
Rod Sheehan, Principal, Peter Lalor Vocational CollegeThis presentation showcases how a whole school integrates curriculum for both VCAL, VET and Victorian Curriculum to meet all outcomes. Each program is supported by industry partnerships to provide a real-world context.
Rod Sheehan has been Principal at Peter Lalor Secondary College for 5 years. He has been part of writing teams for both the Personal Development Skills and Work Related Skills Curriculum in the past. In addition, Rod has lectured at Deakin University specialising in applied learning. In 2011, Rod won the VCAA VCAL Teacher of the Year and also Teacher – Program Development. Moreover, in 2012, he was awarded a National Excellence in Teaching Award.
Innovation and Inclusivity at Echuca Specialist School
Meaghan Marshall, Leading Teacher and VCAL Co-ordinator, Winner of the 2018 Principal’s Association of Special Schools (PASS) Most Outstanding Team Award
Anne-Maree Prout, Leading Teacher and VCAL Co-ordinator
The Echuca VCAL team has created many inclusive and innovative programs designed around student voice. Students were surveyed on their interests, what they are good at and what they want to learn. Staff and students were matched with a shared passion. Programs are delivered off and on school campus, incorporating the local community, families and most importantly the student. All aspects of the FISO model are evident in their teaching practices. The resulting positive changes are evidenced by: best practice planning, student selected courses and applied learning. Staff dedication, commitment, trust, trial, flexibility and error have led to a successful interest-based learning model with increased student engagement and outcomes.
Leaving the constraints of the school timetable behind – integrated units that can be replicated anywhere!.
Applied learning at the pointy end
Jane Davey, Principal PRACE CollegePRACE College offers VCAL at Foundation and Intermediate levels. The students attending PRACE College are dealing with significant and complex issues preventing them to return to a mainstream environment. Jane will outline the processes, strategies and support networks required to support the students and make her program an exemplar in the flexible learning sector.
Jane is the Principal of Youth Programs at PRACE College. She and her team have worked together for the last 13 years to offer disengaged young people the opportunity to complete their Senior Secondary Certificate (VCAL) in an alternative educational environment.
YPEP – where young parents re-engage with their education with baby in arms
Mary Tresize-Brown, South East LLEN YPEP (Young Parents Education Program) Project LeaderYPEP is a vibrant, inclusive program for young pregnant women and young parents that creates smooth pathways to employment, an apprenticeship or traineeship, further study or training.in an independent, safe, flexible, welcoming adult learning environment. The YPEP is a replicable, sustainable intervention for young parents to re-engage in a way that genuinely meets their needs, enabling them to compete equitably in the labour market creating a better life for themselves and their baby.
Mary has over 24 years experience in leadership, strategic and project management across business, higher education, not for profit, welfare, community, state & local government as well as the private sector, working in partnership development, project & program management, policy, strategy and development with SELLEN, Monash University, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Department of Human Services. Mary was a Ministerial Adviser appointment to the National Youth Career and Transitions Advisory Group. Mary has a strong track record of creating practical solutions to complex problems and the YPEP has been her main portfolio project for 5 years. Advocating for young parents has been at the forefront and continues to be.
20 Years of Serious Fun: Top Ten Interactive Games VCAL Students Love
Mark Collard, Director, playmeoThis practical, highly interactive session will share ten of Mark’s most successful group games & activities that VCAL teachers have been using to help their students connect and build trust. These seriously fun activities are simple, most of them do not require equipment and have been used in applied learning classrooms all over the world. Mark will present all of the activities and discuss how they can be easily integrated into your existing classrooms to not only invite your students to interact and connect but, importantly, to develop critical 21st Century social & emotional learning skills. Mark will also share the latest science that speaks to the benefits of inviting connection before content – a philosophical framework that has grown out of the last 20 years of applied learning.
Mark Collard is one of Australia’s most experienced and qualified experiential trainers. He authored the top-selling activity publications ‘No Props’ and ‘Serious Fun’ which are sold worldwide, and recently developed the largest online resource of group games featuring 440+ activities which build help students have fun, interact and connect more meaningfully.
VCAL in the Wimmera
Josh Lloyd, CAL PDS and Literacy teacher, Holy Trinity Lutheran College HorshamHoly Trinity Lutheran College started their VCAL program in Horsham a few years ago with two brand new, unexperienced but enthusiastic teachers. With support and guidance, the team created a powerful VCAL program across all three levels of achievement.
Join Josh as he shares his inside story to success.
Josh Lloyd completed his teacher education in Melbourne before venturing into tertiary education and student engagement. He has always enjoyed the Wimmera and the small-town, community feel of towns such as Horsham. When an opportunity arose to pursue his passions of VCAL and History teaching, he jumped at the opportunity.
HEADSTART – The bridge between classroom and workplace
Adam Cooper, HEADSTART Cluster Director, Inner South Eastern Melbourne Region
John Geary, HEADSTART Cluster Director, Loddon Campaspe
Hari Nikolaou, HEADSTART Cluster Director, Outer South Eastern Melbourne
Marg O’Shea, HEADSTART Cluster Director, Brimbank/Melton Region
Adam Cooper is a long time VCAL practitioner and advocate for Applied Learning Programs across a diverse range of education settings. Adam is an Assistant Principal at Hallam Senior College with an extensive history of working with Secondary Schools as an Applied Learning teacher, consultant and resource developer. He has also been a Professional Learning Officer with VALA. Adam is committed to the development of creativity and positive classroom relationships in order to make learning relevant and rewarding for both students and their teachers.
Haritini (Hari) Nikolaou has been involved in many programs that connect students to industry. She has a commitment to building personalised and individual pathways both as a Careers specialists and as well as a school leader, with broad experience working across VCE, VCAL and VET delivery. Currently she is the Director of the Outer South East Melbourne Head Start Cluster, working with likeminded individuals to bring about significant change in the participation of young women in the traditional trades.
Marg O’Shea has significant experience in the Vocational and pathways space, having fulfilled the role of Executive Officer at Wyn Bay LLEN and Vocational Pathways Coordinator at Laverton Secondary College. Marg has led both Pathways and VET programs at Copperfield College in north western Melbourne prior to accepting the role of Cluster Director within HEADSTART program in the Brimbank/Melton region. Marg is committed to creating new and exciting opportunities for VCAL students and their teachers within the new HEADSTART initiative.
Ready, Set, Work – Applied Learning in Year 10
Lisa Brown, Bellarine Secondary CollegeReady-Set-Work was developed in 2014 with retention funding aimed to retain students at school beyond the end of Year 10. For the program to continue the brief was to make the program self-sustainable Lisa will showcase how her students transformed a severely run down 7.5 acre vineyard at the back of the school into a thriving vineyard which produces high quality grapes. Foundation PDS and WRS outcomes are met through this practical learning project, which leads to 99% of students gaining a school-based traineeships or apprenticeships.
Students learn all aspects of managing a vineyard, from propagating, planting to harvest over 4-5 periods a week. The quality of the grapes the students produce is of such a high quality that a local winery purchases every crop they produce. The grapes are made into wine in their own right – not blended and sold under a special school label. Money raised from the sale goes back into funding other ‘hands on’ programs at the college.
Lisa Brown is currently teaching VCAL at Foundation and Senior Level at Bellarine Secondary College. She is a highly experienced VCAL teacher who has written, assessed and taught VCAL Curriculum across all levels since VCAL was introduced in Victoria. Lisa is also the VET coordinator/ Careers Advisor at Bellarine Secondary College. In recent times Lisa has created and developed the well-known Ready, Set, Work program based in the college vineyard and has led the redevelopment of an exciting new Senior VCAL program at the College. Lisa has a passion for applied learning, developing integrated curriculum and creating meaningful community partnerships to produce the best quality learning experiences for all students.