Students shine as vocational training boosted in Docklands
After migrating from Afghanistan, Ali Akber Rezaie worked in a meat factory before a friend introduced him to automotive body repair. In August, Ali won bronze in “Autobody Repair” at WorldSkills Australia’s 2023 National Championships.
Ali studies at Kangan Institute’s Automotive Centre of Excellence in Docklands and described the National Championships as “the greatest experience I’ve ever had”.
“It was only three days, but the experience was far beyond my expectations,” Ali said.
Other medallists include Tom Saxon (Silver) and Josh Darmody-Schembri (Bronze) in the Motorcycle Mechanics division, and Dylan Hoskin (Silver) in Automotive Refinishing.
Kangan Institute’s marine mechanical technology apprentice Joachim Lopez-Valoa has also been named Victorian School-based Apprentice of the Year, who is also pursuing training in Docklands.
The students’ success coincided with National Skills Week from August 21 to 27, which aims to raise the status of practical and vocational qualifications and training.
The Chair of National Skills Week, Brian Wexham, spoke about a need to “debunk the perception that Vocational Education and Training (VET) is a secondary option rather than a first choice.”
Mr Wexham highlighted the fallacy that VET “is somehow less prestigious or valuable than a university qualification,” saying “there is a need to disseminate career information to students and the wider public providing a more comprehensive understanding” of occupations that required a vocational training.
During the past year 60 per cent of total employment growth has been in occupations that require a vocational qualification while 36 per cent has been in university qualified professions.
National Skills Week comes with the theme of “What are you looking for?” and aims to celebrate the diversity of career pathways available, including New Energy and Women in Non-traditional apprenticeship programs.
Ron Maxwell, CEO of VERTO, a sponsor of National Skills Week, said, “while there is a common misconception that apprenticeships are for those who don’t make it into university, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Apprenticeships offer a wide range of career options that can see you earning more than university graduates on qualification.”
According to Jobs and Skills Australia, occupations in highest national demand range from Registered Nurses and Child Carers, to Chefs, Electricians and Gardeners.
In conjunction with National Skills Week, Lord Mayor Sally Capp was in Docklands on August 25 to launch “Future Skills” at Monash College, a newly established division of the prestigious institution aimed at providing students with skills and qualifications designed to meet industry challenges and future workforce needs.
The college, opened on Collins St in Docklands last year, says that it will offer students, corporates and the community vocational skills-based programs focusing on IT, cyber security, leadership and business, and courses to bolster the health and care industry.
Monash College’s executive director Future Skills Jane Trewin said, “the establishment of the ‘Monash College Future Skills’ is in response to industry demand for micro-credentials and digital skills.” •