By Max Davies
The Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Network, LLEN, has hosted a series of workshops aimed at giving secondary school students an opportunity to learn trade skills.
Run by registered builder Jason Perry on his property in Moranding, the workshops have allowed students to work together to build two wooden picnic tables – all while learning building and carpentry skills and gaining hands-on experience to help provide work placement opportunities.
Central Ranges LLEN engagement officer Lexi Economou said the workshops were created to help students with trade employment difficulties after graduating high school.
“Across the Mitchell Shire and the central ranges region, young people are finding it harder and harder to gain access to hands-on experience with qualified tradesmen, so this has come about because of that,” she said.
“Over the five weeks they have looked at going through anything from handling certain equipment and tools to the assembly and final preparation, so they’ve gone through all the different phases of constructing things and gaining skills and learning things along the way.”
The 10 students, a majority from Seymour College, have an interest in learning a trade and while Mr Perry’s workshop has focused on skills relating to building and carpentry, the workshops have provided knowledge and experience to help find employment in any preferred trade.
“There aren’t that many opportunities out there for them, and it’s particularly important for them to work in a safe environment and safely learn about everything,” Ms Economou said.
Ms Economou also noted the female participants in the group and said it was good to see a mix of students interested in learning a trade.
Central Ranges LLEN two years ago ran a similar program, where the group made a table that was donated to the Salvation Army in Seymour.
Mr Perry said he was happy to be able to help teach students important skills to help them get involved with a trade.
“[The students] needed to get up hours for work experience, so I semi-volunteered to help out and took Fridays off from work to start teaching,” he said.
“They had no skills with power saws or planers or anything like that so I’ve just educated them how to use tools safely and taught them the best way to do things and the little tricks of the trade that most people wouldn’t be able to tell them.”
Central Ranges LLEN is looking to continue hosting the workshop into the future, with the group hoping the two tables built this year can be donated to the community.