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Carpentry students' cubby makes Roxburgh Rise primary students smile

07 Dec 2015

Dealing with a bunch of excited grade one students is hardly what you’d be expecting when you’re a teenager enrolled in a trades course. The hammering and sawing – yes, that is predictable. But running the gauntlet of small, curious children is hardly run of the mill.

However, Melbourne Polytechnic’s VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) students completing their Certificate II in Carpentry had a valuable real-life experience with their ‘clients’ as part of their vocational training.

Their course includes a component that requires them to complete a community project, giving them the chance to negotiate with a client, develop a design brief, and erect the final product on-site.

“The community project is all about developing teamwork and leadership skills,” says Jeff McGee, one of the teachers in the VCAL trades program. “The kids complete a double certificate, in VCAL and in carpentry, and this type of experience really helps their job readiness.”

In this case, the students worked with Carmel Lancuba, Assistant Principal of Roxburgh Rise Primary School, to design the cubby house. Ms Lancuba visited the students at Melbourne Polytechnic’s Heidelberg campus and discussed safety issues with the carpentry students, such as potential jammed little fingers, which resulted in the cubby house design not including a door or window. The end result resembles an iconic bushman’s hut.

“I was invited to come in and discuss what we wanted, where I wanted things located,” says Ms Lancuba. “I was very impressed with their professionalism.”

Ms Lancuba’s visit to the campus included a tour, which resulted in a windfall – the cabinet-making course located at Heidelberg campus had a kids’ kitchen that they donated to the cubby house.

The final step was a visit to the primary school, where the VCAL students spent 3-4 hours erecting the cubby house, under the watchful eyes of the people who would be using it.

“It was a great experience for everyone,” says Ms Lancuba. “I discussed occupational health and safety and Work Care considerations for the worksite, and they spent three to four hours building the cubby house. I was very impressed with the way they worked – they were very team orientated and showed great leadership.”

Roxburgh Rise Primary School has a significant proportion of English as an Additional Language (EAL) students, so Ms Lancuba asked the Melbourne Polytechnic students to describe the tools they were using.

“The carpentry students talked with our students about the tools they were using, and went through the names of each tool with them. Our kids were so appreciative of the new cubby house and the time they spent here. They made them thank you cards and gave them a box of chocolates,” she says.

The next step for the Melbourne Polytechnic students is to now complete their Certificate III in Carpentry and secure an apprenticeship.

And for the Roxburgh Rise Primary School students – the next step is to enjoy their new cubby house. We hope they get many years of enjoyment out of it.


Media enquiries should be directed to Melbourne Polytechnic Communications Officer, Anita Coia, on 03 9269 1251 or ua.ud1477266674e.cin1477266674hcety1477266674lopen1477266674ruobl1477266674em@ai1477266674dem1477266674 

Melbourne Polytechnic operates across six campuses and five specialist training centres throughout Melbourne. The institute delivers high quality vocational education in industry-standard facilities.

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