What students thought about this year.

If you thought Geelong students were feeling sorry for themselves, you might be surprised. A group of Geelong business leaders recently found quite the opposite. Responding to a call from the GRLLEN (Geelong Regional Local Learning & Employment Network) to support young people with virtual employment industry training (VEIT) online, the interviewers found an inspired and inspiring group ready and willing to take on the challenges the future might throw at them.

“All the students knew what they wanted to do in their working life and had determined a path, including an alternate route, to get there.” Shannon Goodall, HR Coordinator, Harwood Andrews, was impressed with the aspirations of the students she interviewed. 

“Everyone has had to make sacrifices this year. You just have to get on with it,” states  Charlotte, from Christian College, who is aiming for a career in Community Services and was heartened to hear that her industry of choice is one of the top performing in the region.

Interviewer Shannon Goodall was also inspired. “Given the Covid environment, the job search and ability to work during this period has affected most people. Despite that, all students had kept their goals in sight. I was impressed with the high quality of the students I interviewed. All coped and performed very well in an online interview.  Even as the interviewer, I find it more challenging as the cues you pick up when face to face aren’t there.”

With online interviews the new normal, the students reported they valued the VEIT real life learning experience. Many students suggested it would be a worthwhile offering it to next year’s Year 12s. 

Chloe from Clonard College said the interview helped her gain confidence.  “It was great to get feedback on what interview questions I did well on and what I could improve on.” Classmate, Mackenzie agreed, “I loved the program as it helped me gain some confidence. I was guided in what I said well and what I needed to add or elaborate on.”

Alicia Year 12, Clonard College, appreciated the real-life learning opportunity. “The benefits of the mock interviews were that we got to practice doing an interview on zoom. I think it was a really good experience and it helped me a lot to practice my skills for an interview.”

Clonard College VCAL lead teacher adds, “This opportunity provided the chance to have an advantage of what to expect during an interview process.  Whilst many of our students had participated in face-to-face interviews for casual jobs, this experience catered for the 21st century school leaver by preparing them for an online interview, that for many of them, may now be a common element of the job application process.”

After Bellarine Secondary College teacher, Angela Van Zyl watched her students go from nervous and uncertain to confident and encouraged, she felt prompted to send VEIT program designer, GRLLEN project officer Cheryl Linford, a heartfelt email.

All participants received oral and written feedback from their interviewers and a certificate to acknowledge their involvement in this training. Cheryl Linford continues, “You know it is a good project when all your partners are happy.”

Who participated? VEIT design partners GRLLEN and G Force

Three schools: Christian College, Bellarine Secondary College, Clonard College

Nine interviewers: G Force, Barwon Health, GRLLEN, G Force, Harwood Andrews, Head Start.

90+ students, Year 10, 11 and Year 12, Six VCAL and Careers Teachers

Story: Marianne Messer,              Photo: Supplied