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Media release - NMIT students receive Olympic appreciation

22 Mar 2013

Thirty-four NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) Ticket to a Trade students were presented with certificates of appreciation from Banyule Council for their work on the West Heidelberg Neighbourhood Renewal Project.

The certificates, presented by council representative Rebecca Olsen, were in recognition for the students' work on Heidelberg's Olympic Village Shops, an area identified by the local community as in need of beautification.

Ticket to a Trade student Reed Borg worked on the sign for the milk bar and newsagent, a job that he found satisfying. “It helped bring the community together. It was something different, something new. We got to run the whole project - talking to the shopkeepers, developing the design and painting the signs.”

NMIT's Ticket to a Trade program is a VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) course providing a qualification for students wanting to enter an apprenticeship after finishing school. Students study literary and numeracy, personal development, work related skills and industry specific skills while trying a range of trades including carpentry, tiling, plastering, painting, engineering, plumbing, bricklaying and landscaping. Students gain skills while discovering where their particular interest lies.

Vicki Rose, NMIT's VCAL Program Coordinator (Youth Unit), says the project allowed the institution to put something back into the local community. “We're based in West Heidelberg so it's good to strengthen our connection to the community. A project like this is perfect; sometimes students can struggle a little in a classroom environment, but when they have a hands-on project like this they put in 100 per cent. Now they've got something they'll be able to point to in the future and say 'I built that'.”

NMIT launched Ticket to a Trade in 2007 and now runs the six month program twice a year. Vicki says the program, run in conjunction with NMIT's Building and Construction and Engineering Faculties, is very successful. “We have a great dedicated workshop space and a full-time trade teacher working on the program. After the course about 80 per cent of students enter pre-apprenticeships, others go directly into work or further study.”

Previous VCAL groups have assisted Banyule Council with renovating their IT hub, as well as painting, landscaping and fencing. They have also assisted a local primary school to develop an edible garden. Later this year a Ticket to a Trade group will work on another council renewal project in a local housing estate constructing outdoor seating and planter boxes.

Reed recommends the program. “I loved it. It's a great idea for people who want to work in a trade but aren't sure which one. I probably tried over a dozen trades but I liked landscaping the best. I'm starting my landscaping pre-apprenticeship in a couple of weeks.”

Reed's also happy with the group's work on the Olympic Village Shops. “It's seeing what we could accomplish as a group, it's far more than you could do individually.”

Vicki hopes the Olympic Village Shop project encourages the students. “This is the kind of thing they can achieve as they develop their trade skills. This project is not only something they can be proud of, but it has allowed them to develop their team work, communication skills and problem solving abilities.”

For more information on the Ticket to a Trade program contact NMIT's Youth Unit on 03 9269 8665.

Interview / Photo Opportunity

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 six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north plus a regional campus at Ararat, 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.