Dominique began her VCAL course with Melbourne Polytechnic when it was called NMIT at the beginning of 2013, after deciding that hair dressing wasn’t for her. “I had dropped out of school to do hair dressing, but I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I decided that I wanted to go back to school to get a year 12 or equivalent and I thought that NMIT was the best option for me.”
For Dominique, the class environment at Melbourne Polytechnic is different to what she had experienced before. “There’s always someone there when you don’t understand something. There are often a couple of teachers for the fifteen of us, and there’s always someone you can talk to. Even if it isn’t about work, there are people who want to help, even the other students. They listen to you, and hear what you have to say. It’s like a little community.”
With her class, Dominique researched the lives of war veterans. They made a mural to donate to the Austin Repatriation hospital that incorporated stories that they had uncovered. “We were researching more than just people’s names. When we presented it to the veterans they were really pleased. They liked that there were young people who had become really interested in their stories.”
The different sort of work Dominique has been exposed to as part of VCAL is a welcome change for her. “The work is easy to understand, but also really challenging. Most of the time in classes like English we’re doing a lot of class discussions, and because there aren’t many of us we can really get our opinions across and communicate.” She also finds Numeracy classes a lot easier to understand, and has found confidence in her ability to learn skills like research and communication, which she needs in order to go on to complete higher education.
Even though Dominique is enjoying the VCAL program, she’s looking forward to the future. She aims to complete Melbourne Polytechnic's “Bridging Sciences” program (either a Certificate III or Certificate IV in Science) before moving on to a diploma, and then a degree, in Nursing.