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.

Focus on the future

The 3214 community and people beyond are being urged to invest in the future of education for Corio and Norlane children through the Northern Bay Challenge.

The challenge is an initiative of the Funds For The Future Board and aims to engage the entire community to support local education opportunities for young residents.

Northern Bay College Principal and Board member Fred Clarke said one of the key aims is to engage local families to support their children and the school. In return it will promise to do what it can to guide students towards tertiary education, apprenticeships or other work.

“We want local children to go to their local school and be proud of where they live, play sport and engage with the community,” he said. “We want families to value education.”

Mr Clarke said the college can provide support and make promises about future opportunities for students, but it requires effort by everyone to be successful. He said school leadership and staff are being challenged to make a difference and some key agencies are already helping with sponsorship of some students.

In what it believes is an Australian first, the college is calling on the community to sponsor all of its students. The Northern Bay Challenge is registered through the Geelong Community Foundation, which allows tax free donations to be made into the Northern Bay College Scholarship Fund.

Mr Clarke said donations have already been received from all over Australia and internationally. The aim is to establish a $10 million scholarship fund so that all children can be supported to stay at school.

“This really is a call to arms,” he said. “We’ve had quite a lot of media interest and some of the data we’ve quoted is quite confronting for some kids … but it’s their data. We just want people to care as a community and believe in us to deliver.”

To support the Northern Bay Challenge, contact Deborah Barclay, phone 5245-3501 or email barclay.deborah.d@edumail.vic.gov.au.

Workshops and activities at Corio Library

Corio Library is continuing to present a range of information sessions and activities for residents.

The library, on the corner of Cox Road and Moa Street in Norlane, hosts English Conversation Club every Tuesday from 3.30 to 4.30pm during school terms. All ages are welcome to attend each week.

A free workshop about Resume Writing will be held on Wednesday, March 28 from 3pm to 4.30pm. It will be hosted by Proven Resume Results, an award-winning resume writing service. Participants will learn how to create the perfect resume and cover letter, discover some essential interview and key selection criteria tips and more.

On Wednesday, April 18, a special session will be presented by Dementia Australia. The session, called 8 Things About Dementia, will run from 3.30pm until 5pm and will provide information about dementia and services provided by Dementia Australia.

Decluttering will the topic of a presentation by Marion Ivermee-Villarosa, a professional organiser from A Place of Calm. It will be held on Wednesday, May 18 from 3.30 to 4.30pm and will present information on how clutter can affect us, and hints and tips on how to go about decluttering your house.

For information about any of the activities at the library, phone 5275-2388.

Scholarship for future leaders of the north

If you live in the northern suburbs and are interested in becoming a leader of your community, you could be eligible for a scholarship in an eight-week leadership program.

Lara-based development company Bisinella Developments is offering eight scholarship places this year to participate in the Committee for Geelong’s (CfG) Activate leadership program.

Confidence, courage and ability to cope with change are just some of the skills to be gained in Activate, developing you to become a leader in your home and community.

2017 Activate participant Bradley Ower said he would “thoroughly recommend the Activate course for anyone who is looking to grow as a leader, both within their business and for their local community.”

The first Activate program will run from May 3 untl June 21, with the second intake from July 26 to September 13.

For more information about the 2018 Activate program and the Bisinella scholarships, contact Janelle Meyes, Leadership Co-ordinator: janelle.meyes@committeeforgeelong.com.au or 5227-8073.

STEAM hub at school

The Ford STEAM Hub is a new and exciting collaborative project involving Northern Bay College and the Ford Motor Company of Australia. Ford has been such an important employer in Geelong for many years and its engineers have been working with College students since 2015, supporting the Lego robotics program.

Last year, as Ford was closing its production line in Australia, in a gesture of support they contacted the college to set up a formal partnership in order to retain the Ford brand in Geelong, as well as support students in the development of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematical skills. Employment in STEAM, as is it commonly called, is the future for many younger people.

Ford provided funding from the sale of the last three vehicles off their production line to establish a Ford STEAM Hub at the Geelong Industry Trade Training Centre, which is hosted on the Goldsworthy Campus site.

The new partnership has also seen Ford employ a dedicated STEAM leader to work with Northern Bay and a school in Broadmeadows. It will provide engineers to mentor students at the Ford STEAM Hub, offer work experience to students at Ford, provide real world problems for students to work on, support student and staff excursions to Ford, allow access to the Ford makerspace and assist with the Formula One in Schools project.

Special books for families

The Smith Family has lead the way in providing specialised reading books for some of the area’s youngest students and their families.

The Smith Family’s ‘Let’s Read Program’ supports reading for pre-school children. Geelong Dimmicks Charitable Trust donated $1000 toward the Let’s Read program, which helped Northern Bay Family Centre and Early Learning Centre purchase special dual language books because of the growing number of non-English speaking families in the 3214 community.

As part of a program to provide reading material to the school, the Lions Club of Corio Norlane provided a similar amount to make sure that Prep children at the college could have dual language books too.

The wonderful stories are in English and also in another native language so that parents and child can read together. A library will be created at the Centre where kinder groups can come and do reading and where families can borrow the books and enjoy reading them together at home.