Jeweller Jason gets his own piece of Gold

North Metropolitan TAFE graduate Jason Nesbitt from Duncraig has just returned home from the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition (6-8 October, Melbourne) with a gold medal around his neck.

Jason (aged 23) who works as a Jeweller at Egoli Place of Gold in Glengarry, was one of 500 participants aged 16-24 competing across 60 different skills areas in the competition which has been dubbed Australia’s largest trades and skills showcase.

Competing against five other participants, Jason was tasked with creating a gold piece of jewellery to strict specifications based on a sketch provided to him. Under the watchful eyes of industry experts, Jason used techniques such as saw piercing and soldering to create what he believed to be the perfect piece.

“I didn’t finish my piece but I followed the marking guide to a tee and in the jewellery profession, it’s about quality and perfection not speed,” said Jason. “I’ve been working towards this competition for many years and the hard work has finally paid off so I’m over the moon.”

Jason’s passion for a career in jewellery began in Year 11 during one weeks work experience with Solid Gold Jewellers. After finishing Year 12 at St Stephen’s School, Jason enrolled in a few short courses at North Metropolitan TAFE to be certain that a job in jewellery was the right one for him.

Very soon after, Jason enrolled in the Certificate III in Jewellery Manufacture (Apprenticeship) at North Metropolitan TAFE in Northbridge and was offered employment with Egoli Place of Gold where he still works today, repairing and making jewellery for a range of clients.

“I’ve learnt a lot of new skills over the years through my TAFE training and my job as a jeweller,” said Jason. “The look on a client’s face when I hand them a piece of jewellery that I’ve created from scratch is priceless and is definitely the best part of being a jeweller.”

Not resting on his laurels, Jason is moving overseas next year to expand his skills and work as a jeweller in London.

Graphic Design Young Gun Scoops Gold

North Metropolitan TAFE graphic design student Chris Williamson from Warnbro has just returned home from the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition (6-8 October, Melbourne) donning a gold medal.

Chris (aged 17) was one of 500 participants aged 16-24 competing across 60 different skills areas in the competition which has been dubbed Australia’s largest trades and skills showcase.

Chris competed in the Graphic Design category against seven other students for six hours each day over three days. Chris had to plan and design the branding, packaging and advertising for a specific company. His work was assessed by a panel of industry experts and he was awarded a gold medal.

“Winning gold in this competition means everything to me,” said Chris. “I was up against people who had already graduated, who were working in the industry and it proves to me that in the future, I should be able to get out there and do some pretty amazing stuff.”

Chris may now be selected to represent Australia as a Skillaroo at the 44th WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in October 2017 and compete against over 70 member countries.

After completing Year 10 at Warnbro Community High School, Chris enrolled in the combined Certificate III & IV in Printing and Graphic Arts at North Metropolitan TAFE in Northbridge. Now in the final term of the Diploma of Graphic Design, Chris believes that his TAFE studies have put him on the road to success.

“I’ve gone from knowing very little about Adobe PhotoShop to having internationally recognised certifications in software programs like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign. The quality of the TAFE lecturers and the training I’ve received at TAFE is phenomenal – every skill I know has come from my training.”

North Metropolitan TAFE Graphic Design Production Lecturer Chris Schnell was proud of Chris’ gold medal win but said he wasn’t surprised given his skills, knowledge and dedication.

“Chris worked on several live work projects during his studies so he went into this competition with the very best technical skills to create high quality design projects up to industry standards,” said Mr Schnell. “This combined with his creative mind and approach has seen him compete against some older competitors and have so much success at such a young age.”

Chris plans to complete the Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design next year and look for employment within a graphic design agency. Ultimately he’d like to work in Sweden or Germany for a large agency where he’ll get the opportunity to work on some exciting designs and brands.

Radio Graduates go BOOM

Radio graduates from North Metropolitan TAFE have been racking it up at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRA), with three graduates each receiving a nomination.

2013 graduate Gemma Maddox who works for Max FM, Taree NSW and Super Radio Network C won the ACRA for Best Music Director in a country market for the second year in a row (see photo)

2014 graduate Jodie Williams who works for ZOO FM, Dubbo NSW, Super Radio Network C was nominated for Best Music Director in a Country Market (defeated by Gemma Maddox).

2014 graduate Lauren McWhirter who works for Loz & Todd, Power FM, Nowra NSW and Grant Broadcasters P was nominated for Best On-Air Team in a Provincial Market.

All three graduates are alumni from North Metropolitan TAFE’s BOOM Radio station.

“It’s evident that our radio courses are developing world class industry talent across multiple disciplines in radio,” said Radio Lecturer Phillip Vinciullo.

The Australian Commercial Radio Awards are the annual event held by Commercial Radio Australia. The Awards weekend is the only event in Australia dedicated to the commercial radio industry, and is the largest gathering of radio industry professionals in the southern hemisphere.

Kylie is restoring her future

38-year old mother of two Kylie (surname withheld) joined her classmates in a practical work experience project at Bull Creek’s John Creaney Park last week as part of her studies in AgriFood Operations.

Kylie enrolled in the Certificate I course at North Metropolitan TAFE after seeking refuge following a domestic violence situation.

Leaving school in Year 10 and marrying her husband at the age of 17, Kylie had spent the last 20-years as a stay-at-home mum and carer.

“I’ve been stuck inside the house all these years and I’d lost a lot of skills and confidence,” said Kylie. “My garden with my chickens was the only thing that kept me sane all of those years – I grew everything and it was my therapy and medicine.”

Once Kylie was free from her troubled life, she decided to use her passion for agriculture to learn new skills, meet new people and improve her employment prospects.

“Having been out of school for more than 20 years, I was very nervous about attending TAFE but once I got to know the group and we all shared our life stories, I realised how amazing the course was and I haven’t missed a day of TAFE since starting,” she said.

“I had never even caught the train before coming to TAFE. Now I have skills and confidence that will help me get a job doing something I love. I’m strong, independent and I’m getting my life back.”

Kylie hopes to secure an outdoors job in agriculture once she graduates and move out of a Women’s Refuge and into her very own home with her 16-year old daughter.

North Metropolitan TAFE’s General Education Lecturer Paul Clarke explained that the tree planting initiative with the City of Melville provided students with a practical, real-life project that taught them skills in communication, professionalism and time management.

“Many of these students have come from challenging backgrounds so this project has given them the skills, motivation and confidence required to improve their lives,” said Paul.

“Students have had to manage this project from woe to go – communicating with the City of Melville representative about supplies required, learning about the trees they are tasked to plant and planning all aspects of the planting day.”

The students have spent two days per week restoring the over-grown gardens of vacated houses for Uniting Care West, to prepare the houses for families in desperate need of a home.

Becoming a finalist is music to Lien’s ears

29-year old Lien Vanmaele from Inglewood has been short-listed as a finalist for the “WA International Student of the Year” award at this year’s WA Training Awards for her dedication to pursuing a career in the music events industry.

Belgium born Lien moved to Perth two years ago to experience living and studying in another country and says it is the best thing she has ever done.

“Studying and spending time in a different country has had such a huge positive impact on my life,” said Lien. “I have become fluent in English, obtained two qualifications and secured a job that I absolutely love.”

Lien studied a Diploma of Music Business at North Metropolitan TAFE in Leederville whilst participating in an internship at West Australian Music, where she gained experience working on gigs like the State of the Art Festival and the West Australian Music Festival.

Lien went on to obtain a Diploma of Events at North Metro TAFE’s Northbridge campus and now works in a front of house role at the Perth Arena where she has had the opportunity to work on events such as The Prince Concert, The Cure, Disney on Ice and Canada vs USA Ice Hockey.

“My dream was always to work in the music industry, for a big festival or concert venue and now I’m living my dream and I have to pinch myself some days to make sure I’m awake.”

Lien admits that her journey hasn’t always been an easy one, particularly with the language barrier she faced when she arrived in Australia. She knew she had to overcome her fears of not being understood because she wouldn’t only have to speak in English, she’d need to study in English as well.

“The first few weeks were really tough,” she said. “I was translating every single word in my head trying to work out what it meant and on top of that, I had the Australian accent to get used to”.

“After a while, something started to change. I felt myself getting used to it. I was no longer translating every word and actually caught myself thinking in English!” said Lien.

North Metro TAFE Events lecturer Liz Bindon-Bonney said that Lien has transformed into an independent, confident and extremely motivated student during her studies.

“Lien is a hard-working and talented student who has used her strength and enthusiasm to overcome the many challenges faced by an international student,” said Liz. “She will go far in the events industry and I wish her the very best.”

Not resting on her laurels, Lien now studies Leadership and Management at Sterling Business College which she hopes will assist her to gain a management position in the future.

Lien is competing against three other finalists for the “WA International Student of the Year” title which will be awarded at a Presentation Dinner on Friday 23 September at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Japanese students get a taste of Perth’s culinary scene

A Japanese study group from Kagawa College of Culinary and Confectionery Arts (KCCCA) undertook a four-week study tour to North Metropolitan TAFE in Joondalup recently during their summer break.

The group of fifteen 19-20 year old students enjoyed two weeks of cookery classes; one week of English language classes; and one week on work placement at various restaurants at the Crown Casino Complex.

North Metro TAFE’s Director of Hospitality Patrick O’Brien said the program is designed to teach the students new skills and techniques that differ from those used in Japan.

“They get to cook with an abundance of different local foods such as Kangaroo, truffles and Marron and get to view demonstrations by industry experts in butchery of a lamb and breaking down and portioning various fish species, for example.”

During their stay in Perth, students were billeted out to homestay families across the northern suburbs where they got to experience the Australian culture and easy going lifestyle first hand.


KCCCA student Rina Mikami enjoyed her four-week stay in Perth and said the highlight was getting to work in one of Perth’s top restaurants at Crown Perth.

“It was a challenge to understand the different accents of English spoken by international staff at restaurants, but the working atmosphere was so much fun,” said Rina.

“Prior learning in TAFE kitchen and English classes certainly helped me working in the busy kitchens.”

KCCCA Principal Mitsuo Furukawa travelled to Perth with the study group for a 3-day visit where he got the opportunity to participate in cookery classes and see the students in action.

“It was a pleasure to meet staff and see the students learning new and different methods of cooking including sous vide and pasta machine, using unfamiliar and interesting food material. More individual teaching such as completing and presenting a plate on their own was thoroughly enjoyed. ”

This partnership between KCCCA and North Metro TAFE is in its third year, with the popularity of the program and student numbers continuing to increase.


Lifetime Award for a Lifetime of Volunteering

Perennial volunteer Hank Koster was celebrated at a gala dinner at the Hyatt Regency on 11 May where he received a Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award from Volunteering WA.

If one man could epitomise the spirit of volunteering, you would be hard pressed to find a better candidate than Hank Koster.

‘Mr Hank’ as he is known to the hundreds of people he has helped over the years, has dedicated much of his life, a remarkable 54 years all up, to helping others.

Whether it be a tutor for the Read Write Now (RWN) program, a carer at the Albany Hospice, visiting inmates at the Albany maximum security prison or providing foster care, Hank humbly goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Hank arrived in Albany from Holland as a 23 year old with no English and a speech impediment. This experience formed the foundation for a lifetime of volunteering and a commitment to make a difference to the lives of people in need.

2016 VolWA Hank Awardblog

To complement Hank’s award, Greg Elliot received the Western Australian Volunteer Award for Ethnic Communities for his work with Centacare and RWN, helping people from diverse backgrounds learn, work and prosper in the community.

A RWN volunteer since 2001, most of Greg’s students are refugees who face a myriad of barriers to learn and succeed. Greg teaches his students literacy and numeracy and is directly involved in changing their lives for the better.

Volunteering WA aims to build stronger communities by connecting volunteers to community organisations. It provides a range of resources, services and support so West Australians better understand the nature and scope of volunteering.

North Metro TAFE has proudly hosted the RWN volunteer program since 2006. The program caters to those who fell through the cracks of the school system and need help with literacy and numeracy, as well as refugees and North Metro TAFE students.