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Students’ work ethic praised by minister

Federal Minister Michaelia Cash has praised Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College Burwood (SCCVC) for encouraging students to see a vocational education as equal to a university degree.

The Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education visited the college last week to explore how students could be offered opportunities to study practical courses while still at school.

She was impressed by the maturity of students and the number of young people who planned to start their own business in the future.

“I have literally been blown away by the young people that I’ve met, and by their recognition of what vocational education will actually give them by way of a career path as they look to the future,” Ms Cash said.

“You’re ready to go straight out there” – Kelsey Commons

“They very much understand the value of on the job learning, they understand that they will be ready to add value to their future employer from day one.”

Ms Cash said the college was singled out for a visit because of its impressive reputation and history of wins at the Australian Training Awards. The school has won the School Pathways to VET award twice, in 2013 and 2015.

Principal Patrick O’Reilly and Year 12 student leaders provided a tour of the school’s facilities and discussed every aspect of life at the college, including the practical nature of the training on offer. The college’s facilitators are all experts in their respective fields, and students undertake work experience in the industry and at the on-site restaurant and performance spaces.


Kelsey Commons, one of the minister’s student guides, shared her story of feeling disengaged at a more academic high school prior to flourishing at SCCVC. She said it was great to meet a politician passionate about building the profile of vocational education.

“You still get that stereotype of trade education being less, but it’s really not,” she said.

“The teachers here are very knowledgeable, and each industry has their own area dedicated to be set up exactly like the real thing, which is good because you’re ready to go straight out there.”


Article by Jill Stevens


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