Real-life experience inspires outback students

Vocational Education and Training ambassadors are sparking career conversations with Far West students. Duyen Nguyen reports.

NSW Training Awards Ambassadors reflect on their visit to Silver City.

Three NSW Training Awards Ambassadors have travelled to the state’s far west to inspire students in their career pursuits.

Mark Doughty, Mellanie Sutton and Jordon Peterson flew to Broken Hill recently to undertake a series of engagements that saw them bridge connections between students, high schools, industries and local businesses.

The visit was made possible through a collaboration with the Regional Industry Education Partnerships (RIEP) and Regional Development Australia.

RIEP senior project officer Lianne McManus said the aim of the program was to give all students across the state the best opportunities to explore future career options.

“The Regional Industry Education Partnership makes these amazing connections between industries and schools. One of the goals is to ensure that our students in the remote, regional and far west get access to the same opportunities as the children and youth in the city,” Ms McManus said.

Over the course of three days, the ambassadors worked hard to reshape student perspectives and lay the groundwork for enriching VET opportunities.

Eager to inspire students to enter passion-driven careers, Ms Sutton talked about how her VET journey allowed her to seize opportunities.

“My VET journey has allowed me to continue to climb in my profession, but it also addresses that growth that you can have that starts with a VET journey,” Ms Sutton said.

“Being on the ground with these students, I was able to show them the benefits of where it can take you. I was telling a few kids about… going through the traineeship and some of the things I had to overcome and then where I am now.”

The ambassadors visited the Far West Careers Expo which saw 500 students meet with 40 employers and trainers. They also spoke with year 10 students at Willyama High School to chat about the future career opportunities VET can provide.

For Mr Doughty, he was able to connect with students who lived on expansive properties by speaking about the intricacies of agriculture and irrigation.

“It’s important for the ambassadors to come out to Broken Hill because we’re able to tell our stories and experiences and share that with the students so that they know the opportunities available to them,” Mr Doughty said.

To wrap up the trip, the ambassadors paid a visit to Menindee Central School where they chatted with stage five students in one-on-one sessions. Conversations delved into career trajectories, training experiences, and the opportunities school-based apprenticeships and traineeships provided.

“I have found the three VET ambassadors to be a breath of fresh air. They’ve made amazing connections with our students because they have real-life experiences that the youth in the far west, regional and remote can connect with,” Ms McManus said.

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