Honours for ArtLinks students

Two of Central’s current ArtLinks students, Chris Johnson and Colleen Fletcher, recently won awards for their work, both of which were exhibited in the ‘Open Minds Open doors’  exhibition during October in Fremantle.

Chris won the Kay Merrin Art Award for her piece entitled ‘Contemplation’, while Colleen won the DADAA WA Art Award for her picture entitled ‘Out of My Hands’.

'Out of my hands' by Colleen Fletcher
‘Out of my hands’ by Colleen Fletcher

The exhibition is an annual event for people living with a mental illness and for people working in the mental health field.  It offers people the opportunity to exhibit their work and win an award. Now in its 13th year, the exhibition is run by DADAA and held on the grounds of the Fremantle Hospital’s Alma Street Centre.

DADAA is a not-for-profit community arts and cultural development organisation, focusing on creating significant positive social change and opportunities for people with a disability or a mental illness.

'Contemplation' by Chris Johnson
‘Contemplation’ by Chris Johnson

Congratulations Chris and Colleen.


Conservation is the name of the game

Central’s Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design students were given a unique opportunity to design a board game for workers on the Chevron-operated Gorgon Project.

Gorgon is being constructed on Barrow Island, a Class A Nature Reserve. The island’s terrestrial and marine environment is unique – it supports 24 terrestrial species and subspecies not known to occur elsewhere and another five terrestrial species with restricted distribution.

To preserve the integrity of this unique environment, a rigorous quarantine system has been implemented. Considered ‘likely to be world’s best practice’ by the Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia, the Barrow Island Quarantine Management System is the world’s largest non-government quarantine initiative.

A range of awareness and communication initiatives are in place to ensure the workforce understands and embraces the quarantine obligations specific to their role on the project. To support this, Chevron approached the Central design students to create a board game. Not a simple task, the game needed to provide Project personnel and their families with an engaging and fun way to learn about life on Barrow Island, with a particular focus on quarantine and the environment.

The two winning designs with students (l-r) Tahlia Allen, Sandy Jurewicz, Toni Northall and Alison Collier
The two winning designs with students (l-r) Tahlia Allen, Sandy Jurewicz, Toni Northall and Alison Collier

The game needed to be easy to understand, educational, engaging and immersive. Working in pairs, students were required to create a mock-up of the physical game and devise marketing concepts with an overall, clear promotional goal.

Chevron’s commitment to the project is evident through the comprehensive feedback they have given to students, which has been invaluable in their development as designers. The students have acquired significant professional experience from this industry exposure.
Shortlisted students were treated to some fantastic hospitality at Chevron HQ in Perth for presentation of their final concepts. They were accompanied by Central Graphic Design lecturers Peter Lawton and Brendan Hibbert. The judging panel included Gorgon Quarantine Manager, Johann van der Merwe and Gorgon External Affairs Adviser, Jen O’Reilly.
Despite a difficult decision given the high quality of all the designs, two winning games were selected:

Junior Game: Sandy Jurewicz and Tahlia Allen

Family Game: Alison Collier and Toni Northall

Shortlisted Central students were also awarded letters of commendation and certificates (coupled with great little goodie bags).

Chevron is looking to go into production early in 2014 and will make the games available to the island workforce.

Budding beauticians take out the trifecta

Three Beauty Therapy students from Central Institute of Technology took out the gold, silver and bronze positions at the recent WA WorldSkills Australia competition.

Natasha Webster, from Cottesloe took home the gold with her friends Maftuna Eshankulova and Liana Lenzo taking home the silver and bronze respectively.

The WorldSkills regional competition provides young people, working in a trade or skill, with the opportunity to showcase their passion and talent in over 50 competition categories. Categories range from the traditional trades such as carpentry and hairdressing through to the more contemporary professions of mechatronics and web design.

The three medal winners are now in a position to progress through to the national 2014 WorldSkills finals where they will test their skills against the nation’s finest during three intense days of competition in Perth next year.

Shuffling the deck

Have you ever felt like changing your career, but felt the odds were stacked against you? Christine Hendroff did. Despite a successful career in the gaming industry, her desire to have a family – and unforeseen health issues – meant she needed to change tack. With the help of Central, her gamble has paid off.

What you were doing before you came to Central?

I started at Burswood in 1995, as a croupier.  I really enjoyed the work, doing acting inspector roles and dealing in the private rooms to the high rollers. A position then came up in surveillance.  I had previous nursing degree experience which involved psychology units. I moved into the surveillance unit, and enjoyed quite a successful career there.

Essentially, this entailed acting shift manager roles and a period where I was asked to work on secondment with the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor, to set up policies and procedures for Burswood Casino, to ensure they were complying with the Casino Control Act.  I moved around a fair bit.  Unfortunately, although I had a lot of experience from my 16 years at Burswood, I came out without a single qualification!

Why did you choose to switch careers?

My son was born in 2004, at 27 weeks and was really tiny and subsequently went on to develop autism and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome – a connective tissue disorder. So I was doing a lot of therapy with him.  We had a lot of medical commitments. This started to get in the way of a full-time role. So I was starting to realise that I would have to make a career change, but as I said, I had no qualifications.  So it was in this 2005-6 period that I seriously began to think about what I was going to do next.

Then in 2006, I was pregnant with my daughter and concluded, “Well, after this child, I’ll move on to a career change.”

Then my husband promptly went into complete renal failure while I was pregnant. He went on to dialysis immediately and was basically at hospital every second day. So immediately, I was pretty much a single parent. As supportive as Burswood were, there aren’t many job roles that could encompass those sorts of complications.

So I started jumping on the internet to begin looking.  I spoke to friends and looked for career choices where I would have the autonomy of being able to work at home if I wanted to, or also be able to work in a formal workplace.  It also, had to be flexible in terms of location as well.  Plus, I was seeking skills that would be transferable.  The skills I had at that time were for a high-end casino and there aren’t many of those around!

My husband was already in the publishing field.  I naturally knew friends and colleagues of his within the industry and I began by chatting with them.  I started to realise that printing or graphic arts would be a good starting point for me.

Why did you pick the Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts?

I think the reason why I chose that course was because it encompasses wide aspects of the industry. This includes the printing, which is very hands-on.  It involved working with printing machines and presses, making books, binding, and also covered design and layout, which is more graphic design, which itself then leads on to other courses in Central.  Namely, graphic design or web page design which often tend to work hand-in-hand.

The Cert III was a snapshot of pretty much the entire industry, a platform from which you could then choose to specialise.

Was Central convenient for you?
You worked in your own group, doing the various different units together. The lecturers and timetable organisers were excellent at making opportunities for some of the younger people to enable them to take on part-time work after study hours.

I was studying with another mature age student and we both had young children.  The arrangements were family-friendly and enabled us both to collect the children from day care.
We were given an opportunity to collaborate a little with lecturers, where they presented me with options.  For example, they might say, “Would you like to compress your hours into fewer days?” or “Would you like to have a bulk here and then possibly half a day off?” The lecturer sorted this out directly with me, under supervision of the portfolio manager.

They were also employing a lot of part-time lecturers as well, so it gave Central some additional flexibility. Many of them are still working in industry, so they had their own commitments to work around as well.

I’ve been to a couple of Perth universities. You just wouldn’t get that level of flexibility/opportunity (apart from study groups) to actually negotiate times for your lectures. I understand that this cannot be offered across the board, but the opportunity came up for me and it was great.

How did you secure your first work?

I began by doing three months work experience at Pilpel Print.  Basically it was a design, as well as pre-press, role.  I then picked up work on publications and promotional material for a company in Margaret River called Mika Muesli. It’s organic muesli. I arranged the production of their commercial material, business cards, posters, etc. I did a photo shoot for them of all their products and photography for their web page.

Then another job came via Central’s Deb Whittington. A fashion company called Flower were looking for someone who could re-interpret fabric designs that they had found on their travels around the world. They had found certain swatches and wanted something similar, perhaps in different colours.  They needed someone to re-colour to suit the fashion swatches they had chosen for that particular season. I started working for them in 2011 as well.

Then, in March 2012, my husband had a double kidney transplant.  So our lives changed once again.  We’re getting used to a new routine again, which is great, and I have now had my third child.  In the downtime, my husband and I have been setting up a business and beginning early promotion.

Your story is great in that it shows how you can come to Central and instantly apply what you learn.

Well, I think my story may be of interest in that it is not the formal way you go about it.  I mean, people usually go to school, come here, get a qualification, and go straight into industry and start working. That was never really my intention.  It was more of about developing something where I was going to be able to work from home, work for myself and under terms that I could actually incorporate into my life.  And it’s been brilliant.

I think it’s good for people looking for that flexibility, especially working parents who want to do something they think that possibly they can’t. But it is possible. There are different ways of getting there.

Would you recommend Central?

Definitely.  It was so convenient, that was the primary difference for me – the accessibility. Plus the flexibility I spoke of, being involved in setting timetables, compressing work hours, etc. That was ultimately the biggest thing for my family because most people have their own lives going on in the background.  So that was fantastic.

The lecturers had their own life experiences, as well as contemporary business experience from still working in the industry. They would then bring that into the classroom and introduce real-world situations which I think was more suitable.

At university, or other educational areas, you’re often spoon-fed information and it doesn’t really matter about the actual information that you’re taught.  It is just your ability to take it, digest it and regurgitate it.  Whether you use that information later on in your career is doubtful.  It is essentially an examination of your ability to learn, not the information that you will actually need on a day-to-day basis.

Whereas I think the information we were given was the hands-on, day-to-day information that we would need.  It was the tricks in the trade that the lecturers used themselves daily in their own professional careers, or in their previous history.  It was real-world information which was all so pertinent, even if we didn’t fully realise it at the time.

Plus it is also the Institute’s involvement with a lot of businesses outside of Central. I have noticed a lot of people coming back, previous students, managers and businesses coming back to Central and going “We value your students, we value the ideas here.  Have you got anyone in mind that can actually work on this?” We were hearing a lot of stories like that while we were studying as industry people would just drop in and visit the lecturers and classes.

Flower, the company my lecturers introduced me to after graduation, had come to Central because they were aware of the standard of graduates.  The lecturers have that standing and trust within the community and business community in terms of sourcing people and matching them to industry requirements.

All up, it was a lot of information over 12 months.  We were bombarded with it.   I think that it was good because everyone collaborated and it became less about some theory on a blackboard and more about people coming in with information on the latest bit of technology, or “I found this tutorial on the internet”, etc.  My course featured bulk exposure to such a broad spectrum of ideas.  It was great.

Student nurses REACH out

A new type of health and wellness service is available in Perth thanks to a new primary healthcare program placement program for student nurses.

The program offers three types of service – population health checks in community settings, a roaming Wellness Centre and a Nurse Practitioner Community Health and Wellness Centre operating from the Central Institute of Technology’s Harold Street campus.

The REACH program is a collaborative initiative between WA Health’s Nursing and Midwifery Office, Curtin University, and Central Institute of Technology. It is funded by Health Workforce Australia (HWA).

The outreach model of this program gives students invaluable practical experience in the management of chronic health conditions and moreover, ensures support and care is there for clients that traditionally fall through the net of established health services.

Under supervision of qualified nursing staff, the students operate mobile health clinics or ‘hubs’ that bring health and wellness services directly into the community.

Western Australia’s Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer, Catherine Stoddart, said that although the REACH clinics had been designed to complement existing health services, the Wellness Centres were open to all. The Centres give nursing students an opportunity to access a primary health care experience and provide health and wellness support to people who do not routinely access these services.

“Provided an individual is happy to have a student sit in on their appointment, the Wellness Centre offers a real alternative to support clients to maintain and achieve health and wellness”, said Ms Stoddart.

“The program is ideal for people who have chronic or complex health issues that require ongoing management.”

REACH’s population health checks involve teams of students visiting various sites to conduct free health checks that include blood pressure, pulse, blood glucose levels, total cholesterol, girth measurement and a lifestyle assessment. Participants are given feedback regarding their results and offered health education and resources when required.

The idea of Reach began as a means of extending the availability of work placements for students but it soon took on more profound proportions”, said Central MD Neil Fernandes.

“By extending the service to the community we tapped into a well of great need. I can’t imagine the benefit that our students gain from seeing, at very close quarters, the benefits of the services that they provide in the course of their learning.”

Even though today was the official launch day, Reach is already an award winner! Earlier this month, Reach won the Innovation in Clinical Supervision at the 2013 WA Clinical Supervision Awards. A new health and education industry event that celebrates clinical supervisors, and the teams that support them, as they develop and inspire our future health professionals. Congratulations to the Reach team for such early recognition.

Reach will enable people to:

  • Access primary health care services at a local level
  • Engage in the self-management of their health and/or chronic disease
  • Address the determinants of ill-health via improved health literacy and education; and
  • Partner with Reach to identify and achieve their health goals.

In partnership with key organisations Reach will:

  • Accept individuals that have been referred by the partner organisation
  • Promote healthy lifestyle choices
  • Identify risk factors and chronic conditions early
  • Support setting health goals and the self-management of risk factors and conditions
  • Offer continuous care and support ensuring regular reviews of consumers’ care plans in partnership with the consumer
  • Develop effective referral pathways with primary health care providers and other community service providers that offer an integrated and holistic model of care

In essence, Reach is about ‘reaching out’ and extending care into new territory. A ground breaking approach that maximises real life practical experience for the next generation of nurses, while extending a network of care out to the homeless, the disadvantaged and all those without ready access to health and wellness services.

View Central’s Health courses.

Two big wins at State Training Awards

Central had a couple of major wins at the WA Training Awards at the Convention Centre on Friday evening.

Engineering student Marjan Ghadirian (picture above, left) won the WA Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Training Award. Marjan only came to Australia in 2010 and is taking giant strides in her goal to gain an engineering degree and ultimately become a fully qualified Mechanical Engineer.

Three out of the four finalists in this category were from Central with the other two being Narges Feyz Bakhsh (Education Support) and Ahmad Sadiqi (Community Services).

Central was also successful in winning the WA International Training Provider of the Year award. This is the third time we have won this award in four years, which is testament to the quality of our programs and services for international students.

WATA 2013
Sarah Emmerson and Jan Tekely, Central’s international team members

Central also had three of the four finalists in the Vocational Student of the Year category.  Congratulations to Leilani Underwood (Education Support) Amanda Guthrie (Human Resource Management) and Terry Taplin (Screen & Media) for their achievements.

Other Central finalists on the night were Holly Johnson (Sport and Recreation), for WA School Based Apprentice of the Year, and Roderick Manton, a trainee studying a Diploma of Engineering (Mechanical Technical), for WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year.

Congratulations to Marjan and all the Central students for their achievements in making the finals in their respective categories.

Find out more about the awards at the Training WA website

Find out about studying at Central as an international student

Inspirational Breakfast with Biggest Loser

Career counsellors and teachers from across the metropolitan area converged at Central’s East Perth campus for a breakfast with two inspirational guest speakers; Brett Martin, a Central employee who was also a contestant on the recently aired Biggest Loser Next Generation and Sofie Bosevski, Central’s Trainee of the Year.

Central staff member Brett Martin and his mother weigh in on The Biggest Loser Next Generation.
Central staff member Brett Martin and his mother weigh in on The Biggest Loser Next Generation.

Brett gave attendees an insight into the challenges he faced through The Biggest Loser contest and described his ‘lightbulb’ moment when he was given the opportunity to meet a personal hero, Shane Heal, former professional basketball player and current coach of the Sydney Kings. Brett’s subsequent determination led him to lose over 57 kilos through the reality television program, and he remains focused on reaching his target weight.

Sofie shared her experience of deciding to do a school-based traineeship in Year 11. She was given the opportunity to balance her schoolwork with a traineeship through Central, completing a Certificate II in Business within her first year of study, but it wasn’t without some difficult days.

“I can’t say it was a walk in the park, it was hard at first. I failed my first lot of units, I had no idea what I was doing and I was asked to redo them. By the second time round, I had mastered the assessment process and before I knew it, it was the end of the year and I had completed all my units”, she said.

“My long term goals are to become a manager in the next few years.”

Trainee of the year with counsellors
Sofie Bosevski (centre) with Mt Lawley counsellors Catherine Smith and Alana Young

Sofie’s VET counsellors from her former school, Mount Lawley Senior High School, Alana Young and Catherine Smith were attending the breakfast. Mount Lawely’s CareerLink program offers a pathway that combines employment experience within the high school structure.