New initiative lets students try before they buy

Students at EPPP schools are jumping at the chance to ‘test and try’ vocational training.

22 October 2020
Two hands leaning into a mechanical machine with a small rubber tire
Image: Test before you have a go!

Term 4 is shaping up to be an exciting one for some lucky students at EPPP schools. Thanks to the new EPPP initiative, “Fee free ‘test and try’ VET subjects for high school students,” a select group of students is about to embark on pre-apprenticeship and pre-traineeship courses through one of seven Group Training Organisations (GTO) that have partnered with the EPPP.

Students will complete between two and four Units of Competency with a Smart and Skilled training provider. They will also gain valuable industry experience or contact with a local employer, brokered by the GTO. And perhaps best of all, they’ll be able to put their accredited training towards further study, fast tracking their vocational training.

“The accredited training undertaken as part of the ‘test and try’ initiative can be used as credit towards an SBAT, for example,” says Sue Outhwaite from Training Services NSW.

So, who can access the initiative and what’s on offer?

The ‘test and try’ initiative is open to students 15 years and over and the options run the gamut, from butchery to construction and electrical engineering.

In south-west Sydney, a group of students is gearing up to start an intensive Pre-Apprenticeship Skills in Automotive course, which will be delivered at the TAFE NSW Wetherill Park campus. The course promises to be a great learning opportunity for the students and, potentially, a real eye opener.

“The students will learn technical skills as well as general life skills,” says Stephen Ryan, GTO Manager for Apprenticeship Careers Australia.

A former TAFE teacher, Stephen makes the point that TAFE NSW is a completely different learning environment to school, and one that really benefits some students.

“I’ve had some fantastic TAFE students who were not excelling at school,” Stephen says, noting that the added responsibility involved with TAFE study can be a powerful motivator for students.

But what if students don’t adjust well to their new setting?

The GTOs that are working directly with schools and Smart and Skilled training providers offer valuable mentoring to students. Sometimes, this can involve helping students become more independent, but it can also extend to helping students figure out what career pathways best suit their skills and personalities.

And therein lies the beauty of the ‘test and try’ initiative. Students get to try out a course, free of charge, without having to commit to a full apprenticeship or traineeship. That’s a win in our books.

If you want to learn more about this initiative please email the EPPP team.

  • Student voice and leadership
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