WHEN students head to the school administration office it is usually for one of three things.
They are making their excuses for being late to school, they need time in the sick bay, or they have been asked to pay a visit to the principal’s office.
However, for one Bega High School student, it means she is showing up for work.
Kirsten Carter has been successful in enrolling in a school-based traineeship, completing a Business Administration Certificate III as part of her Higher School Certificate studies.
The Year 11 student works part time in the BHS admin office answering phones, assisting with staff and other student inquiries, and day-to-day paperwork and filing.
It is part of her acceptance into the Elsa Dixon Aboriginal Employment Program (see separate story below).
“The staff here are really nice and they make me feel welcome – even as a student,” Kirsten said.
“It’s different, but good – you get a different perspective and you are not just looked at as a student.”
Kirsten has dropped a subject to accommodate her work duties.
However, the role she has taken on counts as four units towards her HSC studies.
Principal John Salmon said there had been some “blocks and hurdles” to negotiate before a student was allowed to work in the school administration area, but they had made it and it has been positive for all involved.
“There comes a time when you are responsible and you have to get to a point where you are trusted,” he said.
“We are looking for Kirsten to be a leader and mentor.”
Mr Salmon said with employers increasingly looking at what else a student has learnt other than in a classroom, students should “take these opportunities when they are on offer”.
Mr Salmon has other plans in the works to further engage the school’s Indigenous community.
For the first week back in Term 3, staff will be heading out on a bus tour to local Indigenous sites.
“It will be a profound experience for staff in Indigenous cultural learning, the outcomes of which I hope will include developing relationships and empathy for the Indigenous students of the school,” Mr Salmon said.
NAIDOC Week celebrations and activities will also take place later in Term 3.
By Year 11 BHS student Kirsten Carter
BEGA High School significantly values the education of Aboriginal students, assisting them with use of support networks, mentors, tutoring and special programs.
I am an Aboriginal student at Bega High School, and I have been given the wonderful opportunity to complete a school-based traineeship in Business Administration Certificate III.
With help from Louise Lander, Mark Rose and Steve Diprose, I have been accepted into the Elsa Dixon Aboriginal Employment Program.
The Elsa Dixon Aboriginal Employment Program provides funding to organisations to support Aboriginal employment, education and training by subsidising salary, support and development costs of Aboriginal employees in a public service agency.
As a result of this, I have decided to complete my training at Bega High School, assisting SASS staff in the front office with duties such as answering the phone, assisting students/teachers, creating documents, organising/filing, using computer programs, photocopying and other required tasks.
John Salmon, Alison Hibburd and other staff members will educate and assist me with learning these tasks, as well as training from Katrina Hergenhan, a representative of TAFE.
The traineeship commenced on March 13 and I have been working every Thursday and will continue this until the end of the HSC year (October 2015) including working on staff development days.
I am very grateful for this opportunity as I can gain work experience, knowledge and skills for future careers, it provides me with beneficial references for my resume and I can still complete my Higher School Certificate.
I would like to thank John Salmon, Louise Lander, Alison Hibburd, Steve Diprose, Katrina Hergenhan and other participants who have supported my interest in this traineeship and have helped me get this far.
Bega High School is a magnificent learning place, whose first interest is in the education of students.
It is an honour to be a part of such a great school.