Wee Waa High has a proud history of a highly successful School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships program, also known as its abbreviation SBAT.

More than just part-time jobs, school-based apprenticeships and traineeships are a great way for students to set themselves up for the career they want while completing their HSC.

This year, 12 WWHS students are participating in the popular program.

Future editions of The Courier will feature more stories from students about their experiences.

Lydia Moon

Certificate III in Health Services Assistance at Wee Waa Hospital

With a shortage of health care professionals in rural Australia, Year 12 student Lydia Moon’s aspirations for a career in the health services sector is good news indeed.

Lydia is pursuing a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance at Wee Waa Hospital, and is another fine example of how the School Based Apprenticeship and Traineeship program is providing meaningful career pathways for many students.

As part of her SBAT, Lydia works one day a week at Wee Waa Hospital during the school term, and has worked many hours during her school holidays to meet her course requirements.

Her SBAT experience has confirmed for Lydia that she is committed to pursuing health studies at university.

After graduating from Year 12 this year, Lydia plans on pursuing health studies at the University of New England.

Hayden Shearin

Certificate II in Agriculture at Merced Farming

Year 11 student Hayden Shearin is another of WWHS’ great young School Based Trainees.

Hayden started his SBAT this year at school and this is complemented by his work at Merced Farming.

Merced Farming is providing Hayden with the opportunity to put into practice what he has been learning in the classroom, as well as a great deal of other valuable farming experience.

Hayden has long been passionate about agriculture and said he “really enjoys the opportunity to work once a week, and during his school holidays with Merced Farming”.

Hayden will graduate at the end of 2022 and hopes to continue to work in the area of agriculture.

Kirrily Johnson

Certificate III in Property Services at JMW Real Estate

Year 10 student, Kirrily Johnson is WWHS’ first School Based Trainee to pursue a Certificate III in Property Services.

Her host company is local realtor, JMW Real Estate where she works one day a week during the school term, and full-time during the holidays to gain the practical experience required as part of her SBAT.

Students undertaking a SBAT need to achieve 100, eight hour days of work experience to complement their weekly TAFE studies.

Currently Kirrily is studying how to list a property for an open house and to script emails to landlords.

Kirrily’s practical experience at JMW Real Estate has given her excellent experience in the sales process.

It has also inspired Kirrily to pursue her Cert. IV in Real Estate while on a gap year after graduating from Year 12. Her longer-term plans are to study Architecture at University.

Chloe George

Certificate III in Health Services Assistance at Wee Waa Hospital

Year 11 student, Chloe George is forging a career path for herself in the health sector.

Chloe is highly motivated and very passionate about her Certificate III in Health Services Assistance studies at TAFE.

Most of the theory component of Chloe’s course is online, however she enjoys meeting up and studying with other students from the region at Gunnedah TAFE once a term.

The practical component of Chloe’s course is achieved through her work at Wee Waa Hospital.

A wonderful endorsement about the great value of SBATs is hearing Chloe regularly speak of the positive experience she is having and the great people she is working with.

“Working in a smaller rural hospital has given me a greater sense of my community and in understanding the vital role the hospital plays in rural towns like Wee Waa,” said Chloe.

Her SBAT experience has been such a rewarding one that Chloe is keen to continue her studies at university when she graduates from Year 12 in 2022.

Sarah Hamilton

Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy – Visage Beauty and Day Spa

Year 12 student Sarah Hamilton, who is nearing completion of her SBAT in Beauty Therapy which she began in 2020, is at Visage Beauty.

Sarah commenced her studies in Beauty Therapy in Year 10 and completed a Certificate II in Retail Cosmetics Beauty at Narrabri TAFE.

Once Sarah completes her traineeship she will continue her apprenticeship with Visage Beauty and work out of both the Narrabri and Wee Waa salons.

Zoe Zawada

Certificate III in Business Administration – Medical, Wee Waa Community Hospital

Year 12 student Zoe Zawada is another example of WWHS’ talented young SBAT program participants.

Beginning her SBAT with Wee Waa Community Hospital as an administrative assistant – medical (Indigenous Identified) in Year 11, Zoe completed her Cert. III in Term 2 this year.

All of Zoe’s studies have been online which she said has worked well.

“I’ve had wonderful support from my TAFE teacher who went above and beyond to make sure I had access to the curriculum online,” said Zoe.

“She would support me outside of weekly lessons if need be.”

WWHS Careers Adviser, Stephenie Blewitt added, “Zoe’s dedication and reliability have paved the way for her to begin her studies in Aged Care Nursing at Whiddon aged care in Wee Waa.”

Ashily Williams

Certificate III in Retail Services, IGA Supermarket

Year 10 student, Ashily Williams is the first WWHS student to undertake a School Based Traineeship with IGA, Wee Waa.

WWHS careers adviser, Stephenie Blewitt explained, “I saw our local IGA store as a wonderful workplace opportunity for Ashily.

“IGA around Australia are very supportive of SBAT trainees, so we were really pleased to welcome IGA Wee Waa into this important skills development program.”

Starting the work component of her SBAT in June this year, Ashily said, “I am really enjoying the role and the people”.

“I am a people person, so I love helping and getting to know our customers.

“I also enjoy being a part of the IGA staff team.

“They have all been really welcoming.

“I am learning register operations, stock fulfilment and how to maintain a hygienic environment.

“This is so important with COVID.”

Shortly, Ashily will commence the study component of her SBAT, a Certificate III in Retail Services with BELELMO Training (Indigenous Identified).

“Ashily’s studies will be complemented by working at IGA once a week and during the school holidays,” said Ms Blewitt.

“This opportunity will enable Ashily to quickly apply the retail theory she is learning.”

Like with many of the WWHS students participating in a SBAT program, Ashily’s confidence is growing and the experience she is gaining will enhance her work opportunities after high school.

Axel Currey

Certificate II in Agriculture – Gleeson Pastoral Company

Year 11 student Axel Currey has a passion and interest in agriculture, which has only grown since he commenced studying a Certificate II in Agriculture at WWHS last year.

Axel’s studies are complemented by the regular opportunity for practical knowledge application and skills development in his role working with Gleeson Pastoral Company.

For Axel, his School Based Traineeship is a fantastic way to gain great experience and knowledge while also studying at school.

It’s also enabling him to be well placed for work opportunities when he graduates in 2022.

Acacia Bell

Certificate III in Business Services at Narrabri Hospital

Year 11 student, Acacia Bell is thriving as she progresses with her School Based Traineeship, working at Narrabri Hospital as an administrative assistant (Indigenous Identified), and studying her Certificate III in Business Administration (Medical) through TAFE.

Like with most of WWHS’ SBAT students, Acacia balances the workload along with school study.

Acacia explained that the theory component of her TAFE course is all done via computer.

“We have a teacher online with us every week as well as a whole range of people there online to help with whatever we might be needing help with,” she said.

“I feel I’m really well supported by TAFE with my online learning.

“I do two hours every Thursday where I get to interact with my classmates.

“There are students from across rural NSW including Inverell, Moree and Tamworth.

“You definitely don’t feel alone studying online.”

Acacia explained that her interest in all things medical was ignited by having a cousin who is a nurse.

“I have always found her work interesting, so when my careers adviser, Ms Blewitt told me about this SBAT opportunity and I read up about it and I knew it would be something I’d enjoy and be interested in.”

Acacia is the first student from Wee Waa to be offered a SBAT work placement at Narrabri Hospital.

“Being at a slightly larger hospital is great,” she said.

“There are so many different departments and I get to experience all of them, from diagnostics, the wards, the medical records department to the front office where we assist people as they come into the hospital.

“I really love working with the team at the hospital, they are supportive and welcoming.

“What I’ve come to quickly see is that to excel in this area, you must have really good communication and interpersonal skills.

“You can be dealing with people who are quite stressed and understandably anxious, so having the ability to stay calm and help them is important. You also have to be focused and have attention to detail because you’re dealing with people’s medical records and their health,” she said.

Ally Stanfield

Certificate III in Business at the National Australia Bank in Narrabri

Ally Stanfield’s interest in business has been further enhanced through the School Based Traineeship she commenced in 2020. As a part of her Certificate III in Business Studies SBAT (Indigenous Identified), Ally works one day a week with the National Australia Bank.

The theory component of her SBAT is studied online through the Australian College of Commerce and Management.

Ally has excelled and her hard work and dedication was rewarded with her being announced as a finalist in this year’s Training Services Awards.

Ally has applied to the University of New England to study a Bachelor of Agribusiness next year.

Billy Brodigan
Certificate II in Automotive Services Technology at Peel Valley Machinery

Growing up on a farm means Year 10 student Billy Brodigan has been around a variety of vehicles and machinery from a young age.

“Getting involved in servicing and repairing them with my dad was where my interest in machinery and engines started,” said Billy.

“So, I’ve known for quite a while that working with engines is the direction I want to head in my career”.

Last year Billy completed a Certificate I Basic Automotive at TAFE as part of a Technical and Vocational Education and Training program.

“This experience really confirmed for me that I wanted to follow it up with further study, so this year I started a School Based Traineeship doing Certificate II in Automotive Service (Technology).

“I study at Narrabri TAFE one day a week while also working one day a week, and every day during the holidays with Peel Valley Machinery,” said Billy.

“I really like the hands-on nature of my work at Peel Valley.

“It gives me the opportunity to immediately put into action what I am learning at TAFE.

“It’s been great and all the staff there are really good at talking you through what they are doing and with teaching you.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to be working with them.

“I feel that SBATs really are the best thing.

“It gives you a good taste of something while you’re still at high school, and it helps make it clearer for you what you want to do when you graduate.

“Your SBAT studies can be used as a credit towards an apprenticeship, so it enables you to be a jump ahead in your training and studies when you finish high school”.

Careers adviser Stephenie Blewitt said Billy was “really dedicated and a great example” of the invaluable experience SBATs offer students.

“For the host employer, it gives them the opportunity to get to know a potential future employee,” added Ms Blewitt.

Jacob Hopman

Certificate II in Engineering at Cotton Seed Distributors

Year 12 student Jacob Hopman has been enjoying his School Based Traineeship in Metal Fabrication with Cotton Seed Distributors since 2020.

He said he loves the practical side of his traineeship.

He also said he is really grateful for support he has received from everybody at CSD.

Before COVID restrictions, Jacob had been travelling to Tamworth TAFE regularly to learn the theory component that goes with his SBAT course.

Upon completing his HSC, Jacob will continue his CSD apprenticeship.

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