EPPP Ambassadors go back to school

A group of new and returning EPPP Ambassadors recently attended a three-day workshop where they brushed up on their presentation skills, explored the art of influencing and got some helpful advice on engaging student audiences.

Image: Arcadia Meldrum in front of the camera

The EPPP Ambassadors are the poster children for the Educational Pathways Pilot Program. Each ambassador epitomises the value of vocational education and represents the career success VET training can lead to. However, like all of us at the NSW Department of Education, they’re also big believers in the concept of lifelong learning, which is why they were more than happy to attend a three-day training workshop from 13-15 April at Bustle Studios and San Telmo Studios.

The training focused heavily on communication with the ambassadors learning from some of the best in the business. In addition to hearing from our in-house comms experts, the ambassadors were treated to valuable advice from Natasha Munasinghe and Aime Morris from FRANK, a Sydney-based education company that specialises in face-to-face and virtual training in leadership, employability and entrepreneurship for people aged 18-35.

A key theme of the training was how to relate to different kinds of students. NSW public schools cater to an incredibly broad cross-section of society, which is why it’s important for the EPPP Ambassadors to know how to communicate with people with different backgrounds, interests and life experiences to their own. As part of that session, the ambassadors created avatars of students from different schools, an exercise that helped them better understand the subtleties involved in effective communication.

The ambassadors also brushed up on their self-promotion skills over the three-day workshop. On Day 1, ambassadors were tasked with preparing a 10-minute presentation on themselves that covered who they are, where they’ve come from, and what got them to where they are today. After that, it was time for dinner at a student-run restaurant.

Day 2 kicked off with the ambassadors presenting their stories to the group. After each presentation, our ambassadors received immediate feedback from their peers and EPPP staff. The presentations were also filmed, giving each ambassador the slightly awkward experience of watching their pitch while receiving some helpful tips on body language and posture.

While the EPPP Ambassadors travel around to schools and do a lot of on-the-ground work to promote vocational education, there is only so much that the ambassadors can do amongst their work and study commitments. With that in mind, ambassadors have been making good use of social media to broaden their reach.

To help them become even more effective on that front, the group attended a session run by Kirryn Zerna, author of The Stand Out Effect, titled ‘How to become your best influencer.’ The session covered the concept of ‘building your own person brand and the power of influence’ and armed the ambassadors with actionable advice on everything from establishing credibility to storytelling and creating connections.

After three-days of learning, conversation and inspiration, the EPPP Ambassadors walked out with some great new headshots for their socials thanks to Salty Dingo photography and some new tips to apply to their important work.

EPPP Ambassadors in attendance

  • Arcadia Meldrum (Newcastle), 2019 NSW Training Awards School-Based Trainee of the Year
  • Rose Cox (Sydney), 2017 NSW Training Awards VET in Schools Student of the Year
  • Mark Doughty (Sydney), 2017 NSW Training Awards School-Based Apprentice of the Year
  • Jordon Peterson (Grafton), 2020 Apprentice of the Year for North Coast Region
  • Theo Scholl (Lismore), 2020 School-Based Apprentice of the Year for North Coast Region
  • Kelsey Commons (Sydney), 2019 VET in Schools Student of the Year
  • Madison Camilerri (Sydney), 2018 Trainee of the Year for Central & Northern Sydney
  • Josh Nickl (Mittagong), 2020 NSW Apprentice of the Year
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