New Aboriginal and CALD-focused YES+ programs

This term, TAFE NSW is running two brand new YES+ programs designed specifically for Aboriginal students and students from culturally diverse backgrounds in south-west Sydney.

The team delivering the Educational Pathways Pilot Program (EPPP) are big believers in the value of the Youth Engagement Strategy Plus initiative, otherwise known as the YES+ program. The TAFE NSW program gives students a chance to ‘taste test’ a range of different industries and career pathways as part of an immersive, practical learning experience.

“We have a significant number of young Aboriginal and culturally diverse students in the area and in our local schools, so we designed two new programs specifically for them,” says Nola Lucre, Manager TAFE NSW Services for Macarthur.

The Aboriginal YES+ program at the TAFE NSW’s Campbelltown campus was designed to introduce Aboriginal students to careers in key front line services, including the Defence, Health, Corrections, Fire and Police services. Students enrolled in the program work with Aboriginal educators to learn about these carer pathways and experience what it would be like to work in these fields.

The program kicked off with a ‘baptism by fire’ at the busy Liverpool Fire Station. This saw students complete exciting drills including safely extinguishing simulated food stuffs on a stove using extinguishers and fire blankets and performing a search and rescue exercise in a blacked out shipping container set up to simulate a one bedroom apartment

They also learned about the key personal skills required to be a good firefighter, including having a good work ethic, excellent communication skills, the ability to work in a team, and an aptitude for leadership.

At the end of the day, the students had a much clearer picture of what the job of a NSW Fire and Rescue worker involves.

A few kilometres away, on the other side of the M5, a group of culturally diverse students was getting stuck into a different YES+ program, featuring Carpentry and Legal and Small Business skills at TAFE NSW’s Miller campus.

“We have a high percentage of young people from families with diverse cultural backgrounds in this part of Sydney and many of these parents expect their child to go straight to university after they finish school,” says Nola.

“The CALD Program is intended to showcase some of the opportunities and career pathways that vocational education opens up, and has been developed specifically for people who might be unfamiliar with the education and training environment in Australia.

The Carpentry component of the program introduces students to the joys of working hands on with timber. Over the course of the term, students will complete a carpentry project, developing useful skills and knowledge along the way. The Legal & Small Business component supports a common aspiration of CALD students and parents, helping students to understand what’s involved in setting up and running a successful business.

Unsurprisingly, EPPP pilot schools had no trouble finding students for the two new programs. Nola reports that the 15 places for each YES+ program went quickly.

“We had really strong interest from the schools, and so far the students are responding well the course material and the interactive mode of learning.”​
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