Meet the team: Moree

Behind the scenes of each Educational Pathways Program school group sits an experienced, passionate and dynamic team. In our ongoing ‘meet the team’ series we head to Moree to speak to Head Teacher Careers Rachael Shearer, SBAT Engagement Officer Melissa Daskey, and School Administrative Officer Shakiyah Jasper. Find out what makes their school group unique, why they chose to take on these roles, and what makes them feel supported in their day-to-day work.

Image: Meet the Moree team! L-R: SBAT Engagement Officer Melissa Daskey, Head Teacher Careers Rachael Shearer and School Administrative Officer Shakiyah Jasper.

Our ongoing meet the team’ series highlights the people within the Educational Pathways Program who are working to ensure students are provided with comprehensive careers education and vocational training support.

We all know the saying “it takes a village” and this sentiment is particularly fitting when we deep dive into the work that happens behind the scenes of the Educational Pathways Program. Each school group is supported by a dedicated, ardent and experienced team. In the New England and North West region, we have SBAT Engagement Officer Melissa Daskey, School Administrative Officer Shakiyah Jasper and Head Teacher Careers Rachael Shearer, steering the helm for the Moree group of schools.

The Moree group of schools includes 7 schools in the New England and North West region: Moree Secondary College - Carol Ave Campus, Moree Secondary College - Albert St Campus, Mungindi Central School, Boggabilla Central School, Collarenebri Central School, Lightning Ridge Central School and Goodooga Central School.

Each team member contributes a unique set of skills, experience and vision for creating better educational outcomes for young people.Learn more about their group of schools, what they hope to accomplish and how they create positive change.

What interested you about this role?

Rachael: I am keen to build a team across the North West that includes stakeholders in all sectors of the community to develop 'engaging' and 'real' career learning opportunities for students. I love career learning and linking education to employment.

Shakiyah: This is my first job coming out of school and being able to work alongside those who have helped me through my schooling makes me feel relaxed. Also seeing what goes on behind the scenes with preparing and organising school events is a great learning experience

Melissa: I have a passion for assisting young people to find their career path and recognise the value of undertaking and completing a nationally recognised training qualification. SBATs provide students with valuable employment skills, hands-on industry experience and a nationally recognised qualification while completing their HSC. Undertaking and completing an SBAT gives a student a head start in life.

What experience are you bringing to the team?

R: From the education sector, I have led a careers and transition team and worked as Head Teacher of Secondary Studies. I worked in the finance and agriculture industry as a corporate banker, focused on agribusinesses. I still operate a mixed farming enterprise with my family in North Western NSW.

S: As someone who was fresh out of school I know the dilemma of students and I try to connect with students and hopefully be someone who could act as a guide for them.

M: I bring to the role experience in human resources in local government, and have extensive experience in employment and recruitment. I have also undertaken mentoring of SBATs in this working environment, so I can offer an employer’s perspective to the students.

What do you hope to accomplish in your role?

R: I hope to build an innovative team to deliver authentic career education opportunities for students and one that allows students to have a meaningful secondary education that leads into future employment and further education.

S: To gain more experience as I continue to grow and most importantly to help students to further their education and job skills for future endeavours.

M: Like all of the SBAT Engagement Officers, I am striving to increase the uptake of SBATs, improve program completion rates and broker new local employment opportunities for the students who would like to undertake a SBAT. In addition, I hope to continue the good work that is currently being undertaken within some of the schools in the Moree group and share 'best practice' within these schools and the wider Program.

Are there any opportunities or challenges that are unique to your schools?

R: The Educational Pathways Program provides so many opportunities that this area would not have access to, like TAFE YES+, Apprenticeship and Traineeship head start and a dedicated Head Teacher and SBAT Engagement Officer.

Unique challenges for my group of schools are distance and lack of resources. Schools in the Moree group all average 100km distance or more between each one. Five of the seven schools do not have access to public transport, so we rely on school and community to assist with transport and getting students to opportunities. The unpredictability of internet and phone access also causes problems.

Our communities are small but very strong and all want the best for their youth.

S: Many people believe that there are no job opportunities in small town areas. Some people might not want to take the risk of leaving home. With pathways I believe that it opens up areas of possible career opportunities that I personally didn’t know about before working here. And with our expos it shows students that there are many career paths to choose from in our local areas.

M: I am working with rural and very remote communities that have been severely impacted by drought, flood and fire in recent times.These communities have also been greatly affected by the pandemic and hard border closure between New South Wales and Queensland.These areas, regrettably do have fewer job opportunities, limited access to healthcare, fewer education opportunities, (e.g. very limited access to face to face training by RTOs), limited services and conveniences, and isolation compared to Sydney and other larger centres. Despite this, a number of these schools in the Moree group are being so creative to ensure that they do provide their students with these SBAT opportunities.The schools of the Moree group are doing phenomenal work which is so commendable.

What are you most proud of since starting in your role?

R: Increased student participation in career education.

S: Being able to work in a professional setting and making connections throughout our areas but most importantly is making my family and community proud and being a role model for my young relatives here.

M: Meeting with the principals and other representatives from the schools in the Moree group to get a brief idea of their students’ needs moving forward and in particular the discussions with Collarenebri and Goodooga Central Schools who are doing amazing things in regards to work experience and SBATs for their students. Also working with the Head Teacher Careers, Rachael Shearer, who has a wealth of knowledge in regards to SBAT opportunities for rural and remote students.

What do you enjoy doing on the weekend?

R: Spending time with family and friends. Competing in campdrafting and Polocrosse.

S: I usually enjoy watching my favourite series or go on small trips with my family.

M: I have a variety of hobbies and interests.To name a few, I do really enjoy getting outdoors and particularly love spending time in my garden. I also love cooking the produce from my garden as nothing tastes better than something that you have grown yourself. I also enjoy reading and have always been a voracious reader. I do appreciate going for a walk, playing team sports and completing a regular pilates session. I also relish spending time with my family and friends.

Where is your favourite place? This could be anywhere - a holiday spot, special restaurant or the patch in the backyard that gets just the right amount of sun!

R: The vast North West Plains of Rowena where I live. The beautiful big skies and fresh air. Anywhere outdoors really.

S: I like to drive to the weir when it’s full. I usually sit in my car listening to some music while eating and watch the fish jump out of the water.

M: I do enjoy living in the bush as it is so beautiful and tranquil but I also love spending time at the beach and getting a regular dose of that gorgeous salt water. I just really love being outdoors!

For our binge watchers or book readers - do you have any recommendations for TV shows, movies, or books?

R: I am currently reading 'Horse' by Geradine Brooks.

S: Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit films or books. Did you know that Viggo Mortensen actually broke his toe when he kicked the helmet?

M: I have recently watched Derry Girls which is based in Northern Ireland during the civil conflict in the 90's. It probably does not sound like it, but it is a very funny dark comedy. I have also enjoyed watching Stranger Things, Bridgerton and The Crown. I am also going to watch Inventing Anna as I have heard really great things about it. My favourite books in recent times have all been written by Lucy Foley who is a modern day Agatha Christie style writer.

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