Country schools have to work together to give their students the best opportunities in the classroom and beyond, the head of a unique cluster training program says.
In officially opening the new state-of-the-art vocational training centre at Cobden Technical School on Thursday, Corangamite Trade Training Cluster project leader Rohan Keert said there was strength in numbers.
“You can’t underestimate the potential of our schools working together to improve opportunities and outcomes for our students,” the Cobden Technical School principal said.
“I think we’re onto something. It is essential for small schools in country Victoria to work together and we’ve done that.”
Cobden Tech is one of six schools involved in the trade training cluster, which shares training facilities across Corangamite schools to offer VET Certificate II qualifications in a range of trades.
“We now have state-of-the-art vocational training facilities for our students in five locations across Corangamite Shire,” Mr Keert said.
Officially opened yesterday were automotive, building and construction and electro-technology workshops at Cobden.
Timboon P12 School has also had an upgrade to offer hospitality and engineering.
“Across the remaining three sites of the cluster, provision has been made for hair and beauty at Camperdown, community services at Terang and agriculture at Derrinallum,” Mr Keert said.
“The Corangamite Trade Training Cluster commenced operation this year. We currently have students involved in building and construction, electro-technology, automotive, engineering and hospitality.
“In 2019 we hope to increase participation and enrollments in hair and beauty, community services and agriculture at the other sites.”
Mr Keert acknowledged the hard work of many people over the past decade to bring the program to reality.
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan told the crowd gathered at the Cobden opening that he could already see the benefits of the more than $4 million of federal funds invested in the program.
“I commend all the schools for having the foresight to come together and form a cluster and making that work. It means in small country communities we’re gathering together to make sure that we get excellent outcomes on behalf of our kids,” he said.
“We’ve got to make sure now that we keep all the kids in the community coming through this outstanding facility and the outstanding facilities at all the other schools. Children are our future, they’re the future of our communities, making sure that they’ve got the skills to feed into our communities and keep them thriving is so, so important.”