Putting Maths in Trade skills to the test

A handful of schools in south-west Sydney that have embraced the Maths in Trade Pathway for Stages 5 and 6 recently joined forces to give students the chance to apply their learning in practical, industry-specific ways.

Image: Daikin helped facilitate the Maths in Trade workshop where students worked through real-world scenarios

An initiative of the NSW Apprenticeship Engagement Forum, the Maths in Trade Pathway (MITP) aims to equip students with the numeracy and mathematical skills needed to succeed in trades. A little while ago, Glenda O’Brien, the Rural and Pathways Workplace Learning Coordinator, invited Andrew Bryson from the Forum to present the MITP to EPPP schools in the hope that they would take up the opportunity. Joyce Choucair, the Head Teacher Careers for the Liverpool cluster of schools, didn’t hesitate to jump on board.

“I took it on because none of our schools were delivering Maths in Trade and I thought their students could benefit from it,” says Joyce.

However, Joyce is quick to point out that it’s school staff who deserve credit for getting MITP up and running and then giving their students opportunities to apply their learning.

“James Busby High School has really been leading the charge on Maths in Trade,” says Joyce.

“The careers/transition staff and executives have a clear vision of how MITP can work in their school and they’re actively promoting it.”

They’re also going above and beyond simply delivering the course. On 5 May 2021, James Busby staged an automotive workshop which allowed students to apply their learning to scenarios they’d be likely to encounter in the automotive industry. Run by Apprenticeships R Us, a Parramatta-based employment agency, the workshop was a hit with students. It also inspired the James Busby team to try something bigger.

As soon as the Automotive workshop wrapped up, Careers Adviser Soon Kwon, Maths Head Teacher Sam Irani, Maths in Trade teacher Kevin Luo and Transition Adviser Amko Suljevic set about brainstorming a workshop that would give Stage 5 and 6 students a good idea of how mathematical concepts apply to another industry. Joyce introduced the team from James Busby to Kevin O’Shea and Joy Shen from the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (RACCA), and before long they’d hatched a plan for an interactive workshop.

On 23 June 2021, Maths in Trade students from Ashcroft, Liverpool Boys and Miller Technology High Schools travelled to Green Valley to join James Busby students for the RACCA workshop. RACCA had enlisted the help of aircon industry heavyweights, Daikin and Kirby, to help facilitate the workshop, which gave students an opportunity to access some great expertise and learn from people who are currently working in the industry.

Over the course of the workshop, students worked through different scenarios that tested what they’d learned in their Maths in Trade classes. For example, students were required to measure rooms and pipes to determine suitable air conditioning solutions. In another scenario, students used equations to measure the mass flow of a refrigeration unit.

“The students had a great time and got to see what they’re learning in class applies to real world situations,” says Joyce.

Importantly, the schools also made some great contacts. At the conclusion of the RACCA workshop, both Daikin and Kirby expressed interest in having students from the Liverpool cluster do work experience placements with them. Beyond that, there might even be opportunities for students to do a school based apprenticeship or traineeship, which is something that Joyce and Suzanne Taylor, the SBAT Mentor, are especially excited about.

The EPPP would like to thank the following staff for contributing to the success of the RACCA Maths in Trade practical application workshop.

James Busby High School

James Busby Executive, Careers Adviser Soon Kwon, Maths HT Sam Irani, MIT teacher Kevin Luo and Transition Adviser Amko Suljevic

Miller Technology High School

Maths HT Maria Ayrton, MIT teacher Christopher Mc​Rae, Careers Adviser Mariane Benitez and Transition Adviser Anjani Singh

Ashcroft High School

Maths HT Megan Boltz, MIT teacher Kinh Luu and Careers Adviser Petar Matic

Liverpool Boys High School

Belinda Stanton HT Community, Gail Tucker Careers Adviser, Kim Bertoia Careers Liaison Officer and Petar Kolundzic Trades Teacher

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