West Gippsland Trader, June 18, 2015
Students from Warragul Specialist School got a taste of the world of work when they shared lunch with guests invited along to share the stories of their careers.
The guests – including a police officer, vet, greenkeeper, caravan mechanic, car salesman, administration officer, general manager and journalist – rotated so they could meet as many students as possible.
The annual lunch, held at the Warragul Country Club on Tuesday, was an opportunity for the students to make contacts in the community and to talk about their own skills and interests.
The ice was broken with a game in which each table of guests and students had to work together to construct an edifice out of a packet of straws. The highest free-standing construction won.
Baw Baw Shire’s volunteer officer Tracey Tuohy spoke about the benefits of volunteering, including developing skills, meeting new people and adding to jobseekers’ CV.
Warragul Specialist School teacher Phil Ashcroft talked about his own career path to the school and a range of programs to develop work skills in students.
Once a week, senior students go to the city where they have a paid job sorting fruit and vegetables for the Food Alliance program.
Students will soon start producing seedlings in a new hothouse attached to the school garden.
They also do a weekly car wash for staff, with the proceeds donated to local charities. The school is now looking at starting a barista course.
“We are always looking for different ways for our students to learn skills and become more employable,” Mr Ashcroft said.
Student Nicholas Duke pointed out that one of the day’s guests, Peter Cefala, was general manager of Warragul Mitsubishi/Nissan.
“Is there a devilish plan to market the car washing program to Mr Cefala?” he asked to general laughter.
Baw Baw Latrobe Local learning and Employment Network organised the lunch.