Shadow Minister for Education at Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College

There are a few who work in Secondary Education on their way to Public and Political life and service. There are less who come from Principal experience; and even less again who find their way into the Education portfolio and space, albeit at this point in a Shadow Ministry.

Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College (SCCVC), Burwood, were delighted to welcome Jihad Dib, MP, and NSW Shadow Minister for Education, this week. Evident in the conversation and experience was the 9 years of service as Principal at Punchbowl Boys’ High School that Jihad impressively offered-as leader, and a man committed to the best for his school and wider community.

Mr Dib was very impressed by a range of the things he observed and experienced at SCCVC, now in its’ ninth year of operation. In particular, the great opportunities and tailored pathways for hands-on learning, the state-of-the-art facilities, the flexibility and dedication of staff in their determination to provide students with a personalised and deeply supportive learning environment.

When asked whether Jihad missed the experience of school, he conceded the memory continued in echoes well beyond his move to parliament. ‘I was, until last year, still listening for bells, and when rain arrived, thinking of the impacts this would have on school activities!’.

As the Shadow Minister toured and shared ideas, he reflected on whether the current HSC really accommodates the needs and requirements of learners and graduates, all bound for life in a rapidly changing 21st century world. Jihad applauded the real world skills and experiences that SCCVC offers students, equipping and challenging them to graduate as the best people, learners and workers, and confident that they are the most skillful and employable they can be as they set sail from Secondary education.

As well as the impressive 18 VET qualifications Jihad affirmed and recognised, he was very taken by the Southern Cross Vocational Enterprises (SCVE) he observed. Students engaged with real life clients, producing goods and services and creating products-such a strength and opportunity the Shadow Minister singled out for praise. From training Restaurant and Cafe, through Hair and Beauty treatments, community projects and engagements, it was the Outdoor setting/bench the Furniture Making students are producing that captured Jihad’s attention-one of which has been ordered and likely to find a home in Macquarie St!

We thank Mr Dib for his time, his interest and acclamation, and look forward to his continued support-be it in opposition or government.