Students resume bushfire relief

EARLIER in the year, some of Catholic College Sale’s senior students were planning to partner with local volunteer group BlazeAid to help out in bushfire relief programs.

Repairing and building agricultural fences was the chosen project, but all preliminary planning was put on hold, and subsequently abandoned, because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning staff and students enacted their ‘plan B’ as soon as the period of remote learning ended in May.

Following advice from BlazeAid about how the college could reset its contribution to relief programs, students began building dog kennels, mailboxes and nesting boxes.

They had missed a significant amount of ‘hands-on’ learning and instruction during the remote learning period, so an intensive eight-day integrated VCAL unit was implemented as soon as they returned to school.

At the end of last month, VCAL coordinator Tim Johnson and trade skills centre officer Roger Bradley, with the support of assistant principal learning and teaching Cindy Foat, delivered multiple items to east Gippsland families identified by BlazeAid.

The deliveries included other care-package items, donated by the school community.

Principal Chris Randell said all partners benefitted from the collaboration.

“Not only was BlazeAid delighted with the outcomes, but our VCAL students fulfilled the requirements of several units of study associated with vocational skills and project planning and delivery,” he said.

“They also experienced in tangible ways the rewards of outreach and support for their east Gippsland neighbours so badly impacted by the bushfires.

“The support of our local businesses and the high regard our local community has for our graduates is resulting in increased demand for places in the 2021 VCAL program.

“This will see the expansion of our VCAL centre and continued investment in infrastructure within our trade skills centre.”