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Alex Tanginoa

Alex Tanginoa, 18, St Joseph’s College

Alex applied for the School Based Apprenticeship and Traineeship (SBAT) Opportunity that was advertised by Northern Mallee LLEN on the Structured Workplace Learning State-wide Portal (SWL Portal). The SBAT was an opportunity offered by Southern Cross Farms as part of Northern Mallee LLEN’s SBAT Agriculture Project. At the time, Alex was a Year 12 student at St. Joseph’s College Mildura, studying VET, a Certificate II in Rural Operations. 

St. Joseph’s College VET Coordinators and teaching staff, Adele Kennedy and Fiona Dimasi then worked with Dale Harvey (NMLLEN) to educate Alex on the SBAT related career pathway opportunities in the industry, how it would integrate into his study timetable, his commitment requirements and the employer and their expectations. 

This process took several months and to Alex’s credit, he managed himself very well. An interview with Peter O’Donnell and Kelly James of Southern Cross Farms confirmed Alex as the successful applicant for the SBAT. Both Peter and Kelly highlighted Alex’s genuine desire to want the SBAT and his understanding of how the SBAT could lead to a rewarding career in the Agriculture Industry in Production Horticulture with Southern Cross Farms. 

Of note was how well Alex was supported through the process to commencement of the SBAT by the school, his parents, the employer, and Northern Mallee MLLEN. Alex has now finished year 12 and has commenced a full-time Traineeship in Horticulture (continuation of the training program from the SBAT).

A student’s perspective: Alex Tanginoa

I have always had an interest in Horticulture as I was raised around farms since my childhood. I found my SBAT opportunity through the SWL Portal and I notified my Careers Advisers. I have gained a lot of skills from the training in my Horticulture Traineeship like how and when to spray certain chemicals, using different machinery and safety around these tasks. 

I have gained more confidence by being encouraged to speak and ask questions. I am surprised that I can graduate from school and know that I will have a job after I graduate as a fulltime tradesman in Horticulture. I have the chance to learn in school as well as work at a job that I love and enjoy. My goal is to achieve Certificate III Horticulture and to own my very own farm/land and provide fruits and vegetables to Australia and worldwide.

I can fulfil my school life and work life commitments with the support of my teachers. I highly recommend an SBAT as a great pathway for students that are hands on learners and are eager to get out there and work in the workforce.

Teacher’s perspective: Fiona Dimasi– Careers practitioner and Adele Kennedy – VET Coordinator

The SBAT opportunity at Southern Cross Farms was brough to our attention by Dale Harvey, NMLLEN, SWL Coordinator. Fiona and I then discussed which of our current VET Rural Operations students might be most suitable to approach. Alex originally studied VET Building & Construction in 2020 and decided late last year that his preference was to move to VET Rural Operations. Studying VET in the first instance was a good basis for understanding what the expectations of a VET course is, so changing to Rural Operations was a considered decision for Alex.

We were able to get Alex to focus on the skills and knowledge that he has gained by studying VET at SuniTAFE to get him to self-assess his suitability to apply for the position. Alex has undergone a change in maturity and commitment to his VCAL studies, his SBAT and his continuing studies in VET Rural Operations. His personal growth through undertaking the SBAT has been very rewarding for him. This SBAT has also prepared Alex for the transition from full time student into the workforce. 

Fiona and I will continue to support the SBAT path for our students. We always ensure that we counsel and inform our students, VCE or otherwise to ensure that the student, and their parents are aware of the learning load and commitment required to undertake that path. We discuss the future benefit of study and an SBAT as it eases the student from study into the workforce and prepare for necessary skills and employer expectations.

Employer’s Perspective:

We saw the SBAT opportunity as a way to encourage a young person into the farming industry while still being supported by the school. We were well supported by both Dale Harvey at NMLLEN and St Joseph’s College. The process was seamless for us. The process to meet, offer, induct, and employ Alex was made very easy for us. Alex is motivated and polite and got along well with other employees. The only initial challenge was to work around his hours and travelling to the farm for work, but this problem was easily solved.

Alex is a good worker, very respectful and wants to learn. Having people with these qualities in our business is a great outcome for everyone. We are keen for Alex to progress through our organisation.

I would recommend using the SBAT opportunity. It shows support for the industry, introduces young people to farming and creates positive team dynamics on the farm.

From left to right: Dale Harvey (NMLLEN, Kelly James (Southern Cross Farms), Alex Tanginoa (SBAT), Taiana Tanginoa (Parent) and Peter O’Donnell (Southern Cross Farms)