Meet the team: Shoalhaven

In our ongoing ‘meet the team’ series we head to Shoalhaven to speak to Head Teacher Careers Shanna Fuz, SBAT Engagement Officer Sharon Justice, and School Administrative Officer Rae Studdert. Find out what makes their school group unique, why they chose to take on these roles, and what they enjoy doing in their downtime.

Behind the scenes of each Educational Pathways Program school group sits an experienced, passionate and dynamic team who are working to ensure our students are provided with comprehensive careers education and vocational support.

In the south-east of NSW we have Head Teacher Careers Shanna Fuz, SBAT Engagement Officer Sharon Justice, and School Administrative Officer Rae Studdert supporting the Shoalhaven group of schools.

The Shoalhaven group of schools includes 5 schools in the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands region: Bomaderry High School, Vincentia High School, Ulladulla High School, Nowra High School (Base school), and Shoalhaven High School.

We spoke to Shanna, Sharon and Rae about their group of schools, why they chose to take on these roles, and what makes them feel supported in their day-to-day work.We also get a little insight into their hobbies and how they enjoy their time away from work.

What interested you about this role?

Shanna: I am passionate about providing opportunities for students in the Shoalhaven. Working alongside our amazing career advisers and schools, who are so supportive of students, really is the best job in the world! I love linking career education and employment, working with the variety of local employers we have in the area, and assisting students to develop their own skills and employability. Nothing gives me a greater thrill than students discovering what motivates them to develop their perfect career, and then help them create experiences that link to that. It's so exciting!

Sharon: I am very excited about this role, keeping students engaged in their education whilst developing their career through the opportunities School Based Traineeships and Apprenticeships can provide is very exciting!

Rae: I was looking for a more structured job than my fast paced 50-60 hour weeks (everyday, every weekend, late nights, etc) that I was doing in my previous role. I am excited to work in a team environment and have the opportunity to see students receive valued training to kick start their careers.

What experience are you bringing to the team?

Shanna: I have a long history of career experience in local industry, local Government, and a variety of careers of my own before I moved into teaching. I feel that this experience allows me to fully understand the needs of industry and the changing world of work, and I can develop experiences and events that give students the best possible opportunities to engage with their own interests.

Sharon: I have recently come from the Employment Services Sector where I worked specifically with young people who did not complete their High School education. Knowing the challenges that creates and the value of education I'm able to apply my skills to inspire students to realise their potential and embrace VET opportunities.

Rae: I have a passion and years of experience in events. I’m a people person and love giving anything a go. My two teenagers have just finished Year 12 so I can relate to students' wants and needs.

What do you hope to accomplish in your role?

Shanna: My goal is to provide meaningful opportunities and experiences to all students in the Shoalhaven so they can make informed decisions when designing their own careers. I want to ensure that all students are provided opportunities to engage with and learn about their chosen field, and are well equipped to move from school into work, further study, or both!

Sharon: Quality placements where young people can grow in a nurturing environment.

Rae: To be the best that I can be and to provide support to the Head Teacher Careers, teachers, students and other staff members in our group of schools. I hope to educate my contacts on what the Educational Pathways Program has to offer.

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

Shanna: Some of my schools are in a regional area which lacks transport so it can be challenging to provide the same opportunities to schools that have to travel further to get there!

Sharon: I have had a welcoming response from all of my schools, there are always challenges in day to day business. In regard to opportunities, they will come!

Rae: I see everything that we do as opportunities to build on what we offer and make this program a success story for all students into the future.

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

Shanna: In Shoalhaven we have hit the ground running! We have embraced every opportunity provided to us through the EPP, and are going above and beyond to create further events and experiences for our students. We have been working very closely with Regional Industry Education Partnerships (RIEP), local industry, TAFE and our local university to create immersive experiences in health, emergency services, pool lifeguard/learn to swim, just to name a few. These opportunities have immersed students in the industry and provided meaningful partnerships with council and other employers. We are excited to create further opportunities towards the end of 2022 and into 2023, including a trip to Cape York to work with local Aboriginal park rangers and conduct scientific research and beach regeneration for the turtle population into the breeding season!

Sharon: Establishing relationships with current School Based Apprentices and Trainees.

Rae: Organising a successful expo and seeing the students get so much out of it. I am proud of our great team and the connections I have made with the other EPP support staff.

What do you enjoy doing on the weekend?

Shanna: Running and sport, reading, spending time with family and friends, movies, going to the beach.

Sharon: Where do I start? Hanging with my dogs, talking to my chickens, catching up with friends, live music, paddle boarding, meeting people, gardening, quality time with the grandkids, visiting my Mum, playing bass and walking on the beach. You asked!

Rae: After working pretty much every weekend since I was 12, I’m now not holding back and making sure that every weekend is filled with activities! Travelling in our caravan, going to the races, dinner and cocktails with friends, long walks, hanging at the beach, in the garden or spending quality time with my super amazing and supportive husband and gorgeous family.

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!

Shanna: Hawaii!!

Sharon: The fish trap in the Hacking River right near Audley.

Rae: Gerringong on the NSW south coast, the town where I grew up and moved back 8 years ago. I didn’t appreciate all its beauty or realise just how lucky I was until I was about 30.

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

Shanna: Too many books to count! Anything by Liane Moriarty, Richard Osman, John Grisham, Dervla McTiernan. I am a huge reader.

On TV I love Ted Lasso, Modern Family, Big Little Lies, Bridgerton and Truth Be Told.

Sharon: Books - The Cloud Atlas, Two Weeks with the Queen, Boardshorts

Rae: If you like 50 Shades, my friend T L Swan writes these types of books and then some! She is number one in 5 countries over the world (tip: read them in order).

Podcast – “The lady vanishes”. The story is of my best friend’s mother who went missing and I have lived pretty much every minute of it with her. It has about 16 million listeners and it would be great for all those long trips that some of you take from school to school. There will be a book in the near future and it has grabbed the attention of Hollywood for a movie or Netflix series too.

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