New partnerships for learning

New partnerships in Corio and Norlane have expanded learning opportunities for participants at two established support programs. Cloverdale Community Centre has joined with Northern Futures and the Northern Bay College Family Centre to give their participants a new way of accessing Getting Ahead.

Getting Ahead aims to help participants establish where their lives are now, to better understand other forces outside their control and to build resources for their future. It is being run in three modules over 15 weeks, with the backing of the Department of Education, and started at Northern Futures in May .

Cloverdale Community Centre manager Liz Bonner said a unique feature of the partnership program is that Northern Futures has a specialist case worker also join in every session. “This means our facilitator can lead the learning part of the program and there is extra support on-the-spot for anyone needing it.”

“We’ve been encouraged by the commitment of everyone so far and we know that having case worker there just to support participants is making a difference,” Liz said. “It’s given us the confidence to develop new partnerships.”

The program is also about to begin with a group of young parents of Northern Bay College Family Centre, using the same format.

Building on support success

There have been exciting changes at Northern Bay College Family Centre, with the addition of a brand-new building to run its family support programs from.

The new facility arrived in February and has been situated to also create an inviting new entry to the nearby childcare and kindergarten spaces. Manager Helen O’Connor said the new building offers a family playroom, office space, areas for drop-in services to operate from and a large parent education room.

“This new facility is the final link in all of what we do,” Helen said. “It’s at the centre of our aim to have a place that’s calming and inviting, so that young parents can expand their experiences in a positive environment.”

The Family Centre supports young parents and families, with a focus on promoting the best possible start to a child’s first 1000 days. This covers from pregnancy to two years old, which are identified as the key stages of early family life.

As well as running its own playgroups and drop-in service, the centre hosts a Maternal Child Health drop-in service on the first Monday of the month (10am until noon) and outside agencies who conduct specialised groups and services.

Helen said partnerships with organisations such as Barwon Children Youth Family, Bethany, City of Greater Geelong and Rotary Club of Kardinia aim to support transitions for young parents.

Further partnerships are being explored that will provide new education opportunities for students under 25 years who may pregnant or parenting and returning to complete their studies as a new parent. This could include access to VCAL either online or at NBC, as well as supported pathways  from Learn Local to advanced training.

 “We have also welcomed Allison Rose, who is a youth worker for young parents,” Helen said. “Allison is supporting the young parents’ program and will be part of future education programs.”

The centre is on the Northern Bay College campus in Goldsworthy Road. For more information phone 5224-9791.

Students as community leaders

Year 6 students from Northern Bay College are stepping up to take on community leadership roles, as they tackle Victoria’s leading schools-based philanthropy initiative for children aged eight to 12.

Kids as Catalyst is run by Kids Thrive, a not-for-profit creative organisation for child voice, choice and agency. Students from the Wexford, Tallis, Hendy and Peacock campuses have identified a diverse range of issues and are actively working on projects related to cultural diversity, the environment, elders, animals, gender and all abilities.

Andrea Rieniets, Co-Creative Director and Lead Artist, Kids Thrive said: “Kids as Catalyst is a two-phase, 16-week social action program. Students identify issues in the Geelong community that matter to them and partner with relevant community groups to develop solutions and take action.”

 196 students from a broad range of cultural backgrounds and abilities are taking part. 

 “We also have 20 year 7 students who participated in this program in the past and have returned as mentors for the younger students,” Andrea said. “They’ve been incredible in their support and continue to put into practice the program values, such as gratitude, kindness, giving and volunteering.”

This is the second year Kids as Catalyst program is being delivered at the College. It is aligned with the Victorian Curriculum through Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Civics and Citizenship, Literacy, Numeracy, Economics and Critical Thinking. In 2017 the program received the VicHealth Improving Mental Wellbeing Award. 

For more information contact Angela Thiel-Paul – angela@kidsthrive.org.au.

New principal at NBC

Northern Bay College started the school year with an interim principal to guide it through a transition period following the retirement of Fred Clarke at the end of 2018.

Scott Dellar (pictured) is an Executive Principal appointed to set the platform for the future of the school. He has worked in schools for more than 35 years, in both country and metropolitan areas.

Mr Dellar said his experience so far, during Term 1, has been positive. “Great kids, a hard-working, passionate staff and a supportive community; an excellent platform for a fantastic future,” he said.

“I’m here to make a positive difference to students and the community, where the focus will be on learning, and I’m looking forward to working with groups and individuals to make this happen.”

An early initiative introduced by Mr Dellar is presentation of leadership blazers to 200 students across the college’s five campuses. They are part of a desire to show that leadership is valued and respected.

Mr Dellar said recognition of the leaders and opportunities to help them develop their skills will be celebrated across all campuses. He said the Northern Bay Challenge remains a priority to helping remove barriers for students after they leave school. Developing the college’s community partnerships, such as Deakin University, is also an important part of his role.

Supported students say thanks

Fifteen Northern Bay College students have so far been given an opportunity to change their future thanks to the Skyline Foundation.

The Skyline Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to provide intensive financial, educational, emotional and practical support to gifted and academically talented students. They are students whose potential to realise their educational and career goals is compromised by circumstances – socially or financially – that are outside their control.

The Foundation included Geelong in its program in 2017, when five Northern Bay College students won scholarship. Five more student have won places each year since.

The support is over three years and the members join a large group of graduates who are ‘Skyliners’ for life and can access networking, friendships and peer support.  An event was held recently to thank the Geelong donors and congratulate the 2017 entry graduates.

Northern Bay College students Roghayeh Sadeghi, William Campbell and Nazdana Husseini talked to the guests about their gratitude for having had these opportunities as a result of partnership between their family, school, Skyline and donors.

The Skyline Program is funded by corporate and private donations, local businesses and foundations including Deakin University, Geelong Community Foundation, Southern Dental Specialists, Boomaroo Wholesale Nurseries, the Anthony Costa Foundation, Linfox Avalon Airport, and the Makybe Stud.

Proud career ends in the north

Northern Bay College started 2019 with a new principal following the retirement of Fred Clarke, who was the inaugural Principal of Victoria’s newest school when it opened in 2011.

Mr Clarke told Northerly Aspects:

“It has been a very long and very eventful roller coaster career which has seen unbelievable changes in our lives.

“When I moved to Geelong, I had the chance to work with a large number of schools through the Regional Office. This was one of the important reasons why I wanted to work on the emerging plans for a great new school in the northern suburbs.

“Between 2006 and 2009 the state schools in the north desperately needed to be revitalised in many ways, but mainly in the infrastructure. Each school needed extensive renovation and so did Corio and Norlane.

“Some fantastic community members, businesses, services, the council and education sites came together in a regeneration project for the north, which is still going on. The nine local schools merged into one school with five campuses.

“The plans were still to have local schools for younger students and a central senior campus. So, the five current sites were selected and all were to be totally redeveloped and up graded.

“I’m very happy to have been the first College Principal and have been really pleased with the new facilities which provide modern, attractive learning spaces for our students and young people.

“My big disappointment is that we’ve never had funding to change the senior campus and the buildings look very much as they did many years ago. Perhaps the next budget will provide the elusive funding for construction of a state-of-the-art Senior School.

“It will be difficult for a while to sleep in on a weekday this year because for 50 years my work has been centred on putting things in place so that children can learn to their fullest potential.

However, I’ll think about how technology is changing the way children learn, that our new Australian families are so welcome in this country and their children have amazing potential for success.

“I’ll think of the extraordinary opportunities that Northern Bay College gives to families who don’t have the kind of resources that more affluent communities have. I hope the children attending Northern Bay College now and for many years in the future will be learning in a safe, nurturing, positive and exciting school.

“I have selected this picture as perhaps my last picture in Northerly Aspects because I think it represents very well what I value. I met Chantelle at the old Corio Primary and have watched her success, challenges and resolve to be the best person she can be with a strong vision of knowing that study and commitment will bring her a future.

New program of support

MatchWorks Corio has joined forces with GenU Training to provide extra language support for its multicultural clients.

The eight-day pilot program of Essential Work Skills was conducted for job seekers registered with MatchWorks who identified language as a barrier to them finding work.

Manager Fiona McIntyre said the program grew from a need of clients who wanted extra help with workplace English. “We’re running the pilot in conjunction with GenU over four Mondays and Tuesdays to give our clients practical experience, including some small team-based projects,” she said.

Among the topics covered are effective use of English in the workplace, verbal and written workplace communication, understanding instruction and health and safety practise in the workplace, networking in the community, and collaboration with colleagues.

MatchWorks is a community-based, not-for-profit employment services provider. It specialises in finding and training job seekers from all backgrounds for businesses of all sizes.

For more information, call in to the MatchWorks office at Shop 88 (upstairs) at Corio Shopping Centre, phone 5275-8212 or visit www.matchworks.com.au.

All families are welcome

Northern Bay College Family Centre started the second half of the year with a change of governance, and the centre’s focus to provide support and services for young families is as strong as ever.

The Family Centre is now under the governance of Northern Bay College. Helen O’Connor is back as co-ordinator after her secondment at Barwon Child Youth and Family and is working with the College to create a place where all families feel welcome.

The centre has several local community agencies running playgroups and parenting groups, including Bethany, the City of Greater Geelong and Barwon Child Youth and Family. For the first time, it is also establishing a Playgroup Victoria Community Playgroup.

Helen said the overwhelming message for families is that everyone is welcome.

“We’re continuing to look at how the centre will operate in conjunction with the College’s Early Learning Centre and Kindergarten to continue to grow and provide child-friendly services for families,” she said. “We want to connect families with each other and with services, as well as connecting services with each other to create a vibrant early years precinct for all families.”

Weekly activities include:

Monday: Goldsworthy playgroup, 10.30am-noon; Bubs to Tots playgroup, 1.30-3pm.

Tuesday: Bumps 2 Bubs for young and pre-birth families, 1.30-3pm.

Wednesday: Kookaburras ‘Small Talk’ playgroup, 9.30-11.30am.

Thursday: Little Possums Community playgroup, 10-11.30am; Bringing Up Great Kids parenting program, 1-3pm.

Friday: Karen and Karenni Families playgroup, 10-11.30am.

A drop-in parent support service is available Tuesday 9am-noon, Wednesday 11.30am-4pm and Friday 11.30am-1.30pm.

The Northern Bay College Family Centre is at 25 Goldsworthy Road, Corio. For more information phone Helen O’Connor, 5274-9791.

Another award for Anis

Former Northern Bay College student Anis Gul Mohammad Ali is continuing her successful journey towards a career in nursing, and collecting awards along the way.

In April, Anis won the Gforce Trainee of the Year Award for her outstanding work during her school-based traineeship, after being nominated by her Gforce apprentice and trainee consultant Tracey Fulmer.

Tracy said Anis completed her Certificate III Health Service Assistant, combining class-based work and a work placement at St John of God Hospital.

“I nominated Anis for the Trainee of the Year award for the Gforce Awards, which she was shorted listed to five, who were all then interviewed,” Tracey said. “She was the only school-based trainee and went on to win the award at the Gforce awards night.”

Tracey said Anis was an outstanding student and Gforce trainee. “She is someone who has overcome challenges, including English as her second language, but is always respectful and willing to go above and beyond to help others,” she said.

Anis is aiming for a career in nursing at St John of God and, in addition, is studying Biomedical Science at Deakin University. In 2016 she won the prestigious Arda Duck Award for Northern Bay College’s highest VCE score.

Doris loves to help

Norlane local Doris Stewart has seen a lot of changes since arriving from Malta almost 50 years ago. She’s been living in Norlane since 1971.

But one thing that has never changed is her desire to help other people.

In 2011, Doris decided that she wanted to return to school and improve her English, so she joined the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program – a free, 800-hour program run by Wyndham Community & Education Centre at Corio’s Hendy Street Hall.

But Doris soon began to spend as much time helping in the classroom as she did learning.

“The teacher knew that I had lots of patience and understanding,” Doris said. “And the ones who were really struggling with their English said to me, ‘can you help me?’ And that’s how it started.”

Doris’ passion for helping English learners continued after finishing her SEE program, and now she’s at Hendy Street for up to four days a week, volunteering as a classroom tutor.

“I don’t want to be bored at home. Here it’s alive, I’m interacting with other people; they need me here because they can talk to me,” she said.

“Once you get the opportunity to volunteer, you never look back. You learn new things, and it’s fun. I enjoy every minute I’m here.”

The SEE program is available for people who want to improve their reading, writing and maths.

If you would like to join the program, or if you would like to be a volunteer classroom tutor, contact Wyndham CEC on 9742-4013. For more information, talk to your job active or Centrelink.