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Community Project for Local Charity and NMIT

18 Jul 2007

For more than 20 years, Open Family Australia has been collecting second-hand bookshelves from various premises to store its thousands of educational books for its young students.

Now, the Footscray-based charity has received 15, new, purpose built bookshelves from Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) as part of a community project for the Institute's 12 pre-apprentices in joinery/shopfitting/stairbuilding.

The bookshelves, made from medium density fibre board are 600mm wide and 2400 mm high with about seven shelves in each unit.

The project was funded by Harcourt Education which has provided educational books to the charity for its educational programs.

Open Family Australia Back to School Program Coordinator Richard Tregear said the organisation was' absolutely over the moon' with the bookshelves as it could now store its thousands and thousands of books in one quiet room which students could access far more easily.

'The books are now collected more neatly and more orderly and we've been able to create a quiet space for students,' Richard said. 'We have between 300-600 young people in our various Back to School and scholarship programs and books are donated to us from various schools and organisations.

'The shelves have made a big difference.'

NMIT student Shane Norman who helped build the bookshelves said it was 'awesome' to help people in the community and learn his skills at the same time.

'Community charity is very important and I've learned about what Open Family Australia does as well as working on a project that directly benefits people.'

NMIT Joinery/Shopfitting/Stairbuilding teacher Roger Bain met with Richard Tregear to ascertain the charity's needs so the design of the bookshelves could meet these specific needs. Roger was assisted by another teacher, Bruce Smith, in the design.

Roger said it was a great opportunity for the pre-apprentices to work on a real live project where they cut the fibre boards, then sanded them and put them all together.

'The students had to work accurately and cleanly to meet exact measurements and acquired a range of skills as they worked. Helping the community at the same time was a real eye opener for them too as they saw what Open Family Australia does for the disadvantaged.'



Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.