By Jordyn Grubisic
STUDENTS at Broadford Secondary College, BSC, are bringing new life to historical items through a restoration project.
The students are participating in Project Ready – a year-long work readiness and personal development program incorporating Certificate II in Active Volunteering, requiring 20 hours of active community volunteering.
Project Ready was developed in 2017 by Central Ranges Local Learning and Employment Network, CRLLEN, to re-engage students with their education and prepare them for the workforce.
CRLLEN facilitator Silvia Tozer has organised the program for two years and said a big part of the program was connecting students to the community.
“This program is designed to get those disengaged students reconnected within the community,” she said.
“It used to focus on students that were disengaged but now the school has opened it for everyone because it actually works.
“Students change from how we start to how we finish and it’s amazing. We’re like a big family now.
“I’ve seen confidence built within the community and the respect for the students within the community changes dramatically.
“Last year I had some students that were very disengaged but if you see them now after completing this program, it’s amazing.
“They’ve got respect, they’re more open to learning and more open to getting out there and saying ‘I’m a volunteer and I want to help’.”
In collaboration with Broadford Men’s Shed and Broadford and District Historical Society, the students have been restoring items in the society’s outdoor pavilion including a wheat wagon, cart and a stove, and cleaned historical buildings.
Guest speakers and industry tours were also completed by the students throughout the year, exposing them to different local industries and career opportunities.
Year 10 BSC student Alana said the program taught valuable employment skills.
“We learnt about communication and hazards in the workplace as well as information that can help us both navigate the workplace and make ourselves good employees in the workplace,” she said.
Fellow student Sean said he would continue volunteering while Spencer said their people and communication skills had developed.
Students have also begun volunteering outside of the program.
Year 10 student Mick has also volunteered with Broadford Men’s Shed over the school holidays.
“I helped a group of very nice men and I think I will go back and keep helping. It was fun,” he said.
BSC have signed on for another year of Project Ready.
“I’m a big believer of the program and it’s one of the best programs I’ve ever worked with in all of my years facilitating,” Ms Tozer said.
“It’s just eye-opening and even as a facilitator you start growing in your role because these kids give you strength and you can’t wait to come back every week. I’m going to miss them so much.
“I will miss them but they are going places – each and every one of them.”
Australia Post postal service officer Victoria Bramich was instrumental in the men’s shed receiving a grant to help facilitate the program.
“Nominations are allowed for everybody who works at Australia Post – they can nominate a local community grant or project that they think is worthy of it,” she said.
“I was chatting to dad and he said the men’s shed would use it for the historical society to be used with the kids and this project.
“I went through the nominations process, contacted the society and put through the application. They were successful and got $1000.”
Victoria’s father, Paul Bramich, is president of Broadford Men’s Shed.
“We’ve been using the grant to help the historical society and Project Ready has been supplying the kids to help,” he said.
“We’ve been using the money for paints, paintbrushes, thinners, gloves – basically what’s needed to restore the stuff down here at the pavilion.
“I think we’ve had 16 kids rotate through and they’ve all been really helpful.
“A few of them were a little quiet when they came down but they’re all quite willing to come down, get paint all over themselves and get themselves dirty, working hard.”