Putting work in the picture
BYRON Bay High School's new Vocational Learning Program introduced at the school this year is proving a popular choice among Year 10 students and its success could mean that many local youth may stay in our community instead of moving away after high school.
For 16-year-old Lily Smith it's a helpful pathway to her chosen career.
"I wasn't doing too well in my old classes last year. I wanted to learn more and in a different way."
"It's only the fifth week in school now and I'm so much happier; it's just good to be doing a course with work in something I'm really interested in like photography."
Her classmate, Kyle Lacy, also 16, agrees.
"I'm finding this class a lot easier this year. I have a good teacher and friends in my class. My dad is an electrician and I'd like to do what he does, or be a carpenter and build my own house.
This year 21 students are studying core school subjects and as part of the program each week undertake working in a place relevant to their career aspirations.
Their teacher, Mr Harley Schmidt says it's a way to give the students real-life experience.
"It gives them a dual perspective, both inside and outside of school. They gain real-life skills for use in the workplace."
"School isn't for everyone but at the end of the day it gives them an opportunity to try that job, so when they leave school they have an interest established already."
Principal Peter King says that while the school has a strong tradition of academic excellence, it needs to look at the end of the spectrum and provide opportunities within a vocational and learning framework that isn't necessarily academic.
He believes that opportunity so early on may encourage students to stay in their local community when they leave school.
"Our kids don't need to go away from what is the best place in Australia to live," said Mr King.
"They need to have work opportunities here and we need to take care of our young people and make sure their futures are assured so they can stay here and build a Byron Bay for the future because they're the ones that have got their roots here and they'll remain here."
The school is hoping that, with the range of industries in the Byron Bay community, businesses may be willing to take on a student one day a week as part of the program.
Contact Byron Bay High School for more information or mentor Nicqui Yazdi on 0402 013 177.
WHAT DID YOU DO FOR WORK EXPERIENCE AT SCHOOL?