Jarrod Holt and Emma Brown

It was a pleasure to last week attend the atEAST awards for school-based apprenticeships and traineeships in the outer east. I particularly want to congratulate two Upwey High School students, Jarrod Holt and Emma Brown, for being awarded first-year apprentice of the year and second-year trainee of the year respectively.

Jarrod’s award citation says that as this year’s recipient he is one of those young people who loves to be actively involved in many fields. He is always actively involved in fundraising activities at school, he excels at TAFE beyond all his teachers’ expectations and surpasses the achievements of the full-time apprentices. He trials his own recipes for inclusion on the menu at Taxi Dining Room at Federation Square, where he is employed as a school-based apprentice chef. On top of that, he is also a Country Fire Authority volunteer.

Emma Brown has been a mentor to other business administration trainees and a leader within her VCAL (Victorian certificate of applied learning) class, and she always plays a key role in fundraising activities at her school. She has completed certificate II and certificate III in business administration in the past 18 months and been employed at Heathmont College and Yarra Ranges Shire Council. Both employers realised within a few weeks of her commencing her employment that they wanted her as a permanent member of staff.

Unfortunately, whilst atEAST covers a huge geographic area across the outer east, not one government member was at this awards ceremony. Because of the government’s funding cuts to TAFE and VCAL school-based traineeships are now out of the reach of so many families. Business administration now costs $4000 when it previously cost $400.