If you’re a regular reader of these pages, you’ll know that the EDGE workshops are an EPPP initiative designed to help students get job ready. What you might not know is what EDGE stands for. The brainchild of Sharna Dawson, EDGE stands for Education, Deportment, Grooming and Employability Skills. With a big emphasis on presentation, the workshops are an opportunity for students to get some valuable guidance on how to make a good impression on an employer. The workshop at Campbelltown Performing Arts was also an opportunity for department staff to see what’s involved.
A number of senior staff from NSW Education, including David Collins, A/Executive Director, Skills and Higher Education, Ellen Lintjens, Director Pathways & Transitions, Hilary Moore, R/Senior Policy & Projects Officer, EPPP Secretariat and Eduardo Carvallo Carrera, Senior Marketing and Social Media Project Officer, travelled to Campbelltown to experience the workshop at close quarters.
“It’s great for EPPP stakeholders, and people from other parts of the organisation, to be able to see the impact that this initiative is having on students,” says Eduardo Carvallo Carrera.
Over the course of the day, 39 students participated in sessions devoted to grooming, dress and skincare. Some students even received complimentary haircuts, although one of the boys may live to regret his decision to have his tresses trimmed by one of the professional hairdressers on site.
“It was my first school visit and it was great - I even got to see a guy get his mullet chopped off,” says EPPP Ambassador Maddison Camilleri.
Before witnessing the death of an impressive ‘do’, Maddison shared her story with students. The 2019 Trainee of the Year for Central and Northern Sydney spoke about VET, the advantages it offers over university, and why she decided it was the right pathway for her. In short, a childhood fascination with interiors led Maddison to the realisation that she was really interested in plans, which in turn led her to drafting. Fast-forward 10 years and Maddison is now a lead drafter at SCP Consulting, the firm she did her traineeship with. And unlike some of the over-qualified architects working as drafters that Maddison has met along the way, she has no HECS debt and recently bought her first investment property.
After her speech, Maddison floated around the groups where she got to see the workshop in action and talk one-on-one with some of the students. According to Maddison, they were all really engaged and keen to learn, but one stood out from the rest.
“I had one girl come up to me, and she was really interested in studying engineering but was concerned that it was a male-dominated industry,” says Maddison.
“I could definitely relate to that - I even had teachers try and discourage me - but I explained that while it’s still a male-dominated industry, things are changing and there are companies out there, like SCP, with plenty of women in their ranks.”
It’s good advice, and who knows: It might just give the student the edge when she goes to apply for first engineering job in a few years.
As always, there’s a huge amount of work that goes into putting on a workshop like this, and the whole team at Campbelltown Performing Arts High School should take a bow!