NSW Training Award finalist says VET in schools opens doors

Emmaus Catholic College Kemps Creek vice-captain Chantelle Gordon
Emmaus Catholic College Kemps Creek vice-captain Chantelle Gordon


Emmaus Catholic College Kemps Creek vice-captain Chantelle Gordon has used her nomination for the VET in Schools Student of the Year Award to highlight the importance of VET programs in gearing up students for success after school.

Chantelle’s nomination proved successful as she was named one of six finalists for the VET in Schools category at the 2020 NSW Training Awards (Southern and South Western Sydney Region). The awards celebrate achievements in vocational training among students and education providers.

Chantelle, who is completing a Certificate II in Business alongside her HSC studies at Emmaus College, drew on her personal experience of seeing her sister struggle to find work to emphasise how students can benefit from VET programs such as those being recognised at the Training Awards.

“My older sister is intellectually and physically disabled as a result of a fall when she was just a baby,” Chantelle explained. “She can still walk but does have significant disabilities. It has impacted us all watching her struggle to find a job, especially for the past five or six years - it has been a very hard process.”

“That struggle really aligns well with these Training Awards because VET is all about opportunities,” she added. “It's all about opening doors, transferable skills and giving opportunities to people who might not normally get them through more traditional ways.”

Emmaus College offers a variety of VET programs that enable students to complete a nationally recognised vocational qualification alongside their HSC studies - they’re designed to give students experience, choice and alternative pathways to employment and further education.

“Chantelle is a diligent, humble and highly motivated student whose application to her HSC studies is meticulous,” said Emmaus College Principal Robert Nastasi. “She works closely with all her teachers and is highly regarded by all in the Emmaus community. It’s no surprise she was a finalist for such a prestigious award. Everyone at the College is so proud of Chantelle and long to see the impact she will have on our society beyond school.”

In being named a finalist, Chantelle was commended for her strong work ethic and determination which resulted in her achieving excellent outcomes in her VET Business Services course.

“There's definitely a lot of opportunities that my business course has given me,” Chantelle explained. “It has helped me develop lots of skills such as customer relations and communications. Another way is through innovation and sustainability. I work as a dance teacher outside of school and the skills helped me set up remote zoom classes with students during COVID.”

“Being a vice captain, I’ve also got the skills to co-ordinate our school leadership team meetings,” she added. “Setting agendas, taking minutes, managing timing aspects and things like that. They're really versatile skills that I've been able to apply to all aspects of my daily life.”

Chantelle also highlighted the proactive approach taken at Emmaus in helping students prepare for the future.

“One of things I really valued from Emmaus was work experience,” said Chantelle. “My teachers supported me in finding work experience both last year and this year. I worked at a nursing home and a local primary school where I was able to put a lot of those business services skills into practice. Those two experiences were fantastic in opening my eyes to what the workforce is like.”

“Emmaus has provided such hospitality and has been so amazing helping prepare me for the future,” Chantelle said. “I'm going to be so sad to leave my teachers and peers who I've built very close relationships with. It's such an awesome school, it's like my second home. I'm excited for what the future holds.”

Four other Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta students were also named finalists for the Western Sydney and Blue Mountains regional awards. Jessica Libreri and Chloe Pelle (Certificate III in Early Childhood Education) from CathWest Innovation College McCarthy Campus were finalists for the School Based Apprentice/Trainee award with Jessica winning and progressing to the state finals. Arthur Sadek (Certificate II Hospitality) from Delany College Granville and Yuyin Zhang (Certificate II Business) from St Agnes Catholic High School Rooty Hill were finalists in the VET in Schools award.

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