Case Study: Catholic Regional College Sydenham

School-Industry Partnership in Melbourne, Australia

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Established in 1982, Catholic Regional College Sydenham is a co-educational specialist senior secondary college with enrolments in Years 11 and 12 only, located approximately 25 kilometres north-west of the Melbourne CBD. Catholic Regional College Sydenham is the senior secondary College for feeder Catholic Regional Colleges at St Albans, North Keilor and Caroline Springs. The school delivers both of Victoria’s principal senior secondary qualifications, the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). Students are able to choose from an extensive range of vocational education and training (VET) certificates offered either at the College or at an external training provider as part of their senior secondary studies, including the option of a School-Based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (SBAT) for those undertaking a VCAL program. The College is now the largest Catholic Senior Secondary College in Victoria.

The majority of Sydenham students can undertake a range of vocationally oriented courses in conjunction with their VCE or VCAL:

  • In Year 11, VCE students are able to choose from any of the 19 VET certificate courses on offer for students at the College;
  • Year 12 VCE students are able to choose from 12 VCE VET courses offered at the College, all of which have scored assessment. This means that students completing these subjects will be awarded a study score that will contribute to the ATAR in the same way as a VCE Unit 3 and 4 study; while
  • VCAL students are able to select from the above VET courses plus an additional 15 courses offered at an external training provider with the local cross-sectoral VET cluster.

The College led a cluster of five catholic colleges in successfully applying for more than $6 million in funding from the Australian Government to construct a Trade Training Centre (TTC). The cluster schools are:

  • Catholic Regional College, St Albans;
  • Catholic Regional College, Caroline Springs;
  • Catholic Regional College, Keilor North; and
  • Catholic Regional College, Melton West

The TTC provides on-site training in Hospitality, Retail Baking, Sign Writing and Picture Framing. The College has developed extensive industry linkages in each of these areas and actively promotes them on their TTC website. The TTC comprises the following facilities:

Quatrefoils Restaurant: a 100 seat fine dining a la carte full service restaurant. It is open to the public on two nights of the week and can be booked for corporate functions. It provides both front and back of house hospitality training up to Certificate Level III to students from the cluster schools as well as to students from the broader local VET cluster and a number undertaking the training in the adult education sector. The principal industry partners promoted through this enterprise are:

  • Stoddart Manufacturing, a Queensland-based company specialising in the manufacture, supply and turn-key installation of products for commercial kitchen applications. Separate promotion is also provided to international suppliers of key products to Stoddart including Halton Foodservice (kitchen exhaust systems), Koldtech (refrigerated and heated display cabinets) and Metro (shelving systems),
  • KBR Commercial Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s largest suppliers of Food Service Equipment, and
  • Futura Training, developers of eLearning training materials.

Sydsigns: delivers training in sign manufacturing and produces signage and support services to external businesses using state-of-the-art technology to produce vinyl and digital printed graphics, illuminated signs and custom corporate ID and directional signage. Business is also a key partner through the provision of equipment and machinery and signage materials based on a philosophy that through the exposure of students to state of the art industry standard facilities, if they progress into employment within the industry they will seek to do so using their products. Industry partners in this enterprise are:

  • Roland DG Australia, the Australian-based marketing, distribution and sales arm of Roland DG Corporation of Hamamatsu, Japan, a worldwide leader in the sign, graphic arts, fine art, vehicle graphics, UV, photography, engraving and 3D modeling industries; and
  • Connect Enterprises Pty Ltd is a local Victorian based family owned and operated business supplying sign vinyl, digital media, transfer films, tapes and panel products in Australia to the Signage, Wide Format, Garment Decoration & Vehicle Customisation markets.

CRC Bakery and Patisserie: provides training in the Certificate III in Retail Bakery and produces a range of breads, cakes and savoury products for sale to the public 5 days per week. Two of the principal industry partners promoted through the Restaurant enterprise are also promoted in the baking and patisserie. They are:

  • Stoddart Manufacturing (featuring Halton Foodservice and the Electrolux Professional range of commercial kitchen equipment; and
  • KBR Commercial Pty Ltd.

Frames @ CRC: supported by industry and working in conjunction with Box Hill Institute of TAFE, students are provided with training and education in the art of picture-framing, using the latest, specialised picture framing equipment in a state-of-the-art workshop facility, while working toward the Certificate II in Picture-Framing. This allows them to offer to the general public a custom, commercial or corporate framing service for pictures, posters, mirrors, medals and memorabilia. The industry partner is:

  • Megawood Larson-Juhl, a Queensland-based company which is an industry leading wholesale supplier to the Picture Framing trade.

The Sofitel Restaurant is an industry partner having taken on a number of students into apprenticeship and traineeship positions.

Industry links are also important in relation to managing work experience and work placement (structured workplace learning). All students attending the feeder Catholic Regional Colleges are required to undertake work experience as part of their academic program in year 10 and so compulsory work experience is not mandatory at CRC Sydenham. However, work experience is available to students who wish to explore various career options or where work experience is a requirement for entry into particular areas of employment or tertiary education. Work placement operates for those students where the experience of work is a compulsory component of their VET program. Work placement is also a compulsory component of the VCAL program where students are required to undertake an ongoing or block work placement. The length of time students undertake in work placement varies from one VET.

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