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Bridging Futures: Aimee’s Journey through School to Work

An SWL Placement Case Study by Northern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network


Aimee James, a VCE VM student at FLO Connect Campus Mildura (Red Cliffs Secondary College, FLO Campus), successfully participated in the Northern Mallee LLEN (NMLLEN) School to Work Program in 2023 through events organised by the FLO Campus. Initially introduced to the program during a School to Work Presentation by NMLLEN School to Work Coordinator Dale Harvey on May 4, 2023, Aimee engaged in a workshop on the School to Work Portal, learning to explore and share opportunities with teachers.

During a NMLLEN Industry Visit to Mildura Working Man’s Club, Aimee engaged keenly with the club’s operations and facilities. Steve Banks, the Executive Officer, introduced students to the club’s history, operations, and career opportunities. Aimee’s genuine interest in the club’s operational aspects prompted Steve to suggest a rewarding career in club operations (Hospitality Industry) and encouraged her to consider a work placement at the Club.

Dale Harvey facilitated connections between Aimee, Samantha Thorpe (Functions Manager), and Leisha Pound (FLO Connect Mentor), resulting in discussions about a School Work Experience Placement at Mildura Working Man’s Club. Aimee underwent a well-designed 5-day placement, experiencing various departments such as administration, bistro, kitchen operations, and cellar. Her exceptional performance during the placement further fuelled her interest in pursuing a career in Hospitality and Club Operations.

Additionally, Aimee participated in a NMLLEN Industry Visit to SuniTAFE Mildura Campus, gaining insights into Hospitality facilities and discussing Vocational Education in Hospitality, Australian Apprenticeships, and post-secondary study programs.

Aimee has progressed to casual employment as a Food and Beverage Assistant at Mildura Working Man’s Club while continuing her studies in the VCE VM program at FLO Connect. She is contemplating enrolling in a VET Hospitality subject in 2024, potentially pursuing a Certificate II in Hospitality (Operations).

Pic: Aimee at SWL Work Placement at Mildura Working Man’s Club Reception.

Student Comments:

Aimee James, VCE VM student at FLO Connect Campus Mildura (Red Cliffs Secondary College)
commented “The SWL placement was arranged after an industry visit with Dale from NMLLEN where I showed interest in this field. I’ve gained work skills like time management, teamwork, and communication, along with personal skills such as good communication and a strong work ethic. The surprising part was the high volume of people we served daily. I’ve developed new networks and intended to pursue this field further after the placement, aiming to continue employment. I highly recommend SWL as it’s an eye-opening experience.”

Teacher Comments:

Leisha Pound (FLO Connect Mentor) commented “SWL plays a pivotal role in students’ development by providing invaluable life experiences within a work placement context. It significantly aids in their transition from an educational setting to work or further study, offering crucial support during this transition phase. Through industry visits, we’ve successfully ignited curiosity among students, paving the way for potential work placements and even opportunities for paid employment in their areas of interest. Throughout this process, students have been well-supported, ensuring a conducive and empowering experience for their growth and exploration.”

Pic: Aimee learning to be a barista and make a latte, at Mildura Working Man’s Club.

Employer Comments:

Steve Banks, the Executive Officer, Mildura Working Man’s Club commented “The involvement with School Work Experience (SWL) stemmed from Mildura Working Man’s Club’s commitment to the School to Work Program managed by NMLLEN within our region. Meeting Dale Harvey, the School to Work Coordinator, at the inception of my role as the club’s Executive Officer paved the way for our active participation as a Host Employer. We prioritise offering industry opportunities to young individuals like Aimee and contributing positively to our community. Our partnership with NMLLEN and regional schools has facilitated work placements, work experience, and organized excursions to the club. I’ve also engaged as an Industry Guest Presenter at Mildura Specialist School, shedding light on the Hospitality Industry, specifically Club Operations, and career pathways at Mildura Working Man’s Club.

Regarding Aimee’s placement, the program established by FLO Connect in collaboration with NMLLEN and our club effectively identified Aimee’s interest in Hospitality as a potential career pathway. Aimee’s current employment as a casual food and beverage attendant while she attends school is a positive outcome. Her dedication and eagerness to learn are evident, fostering a sense of appreciation for the opportunity provided by the club. We’ve received substantial support from NMLLEN and FLO Connect throughout the process, from organising industry visits to arranging Aimee’s SWL work placement. Aimee’s presence has injected a fresh, positive vibe into our work environment. Her proactive approach and eagerness to understand our operations have been well received by our staff. Aimee’s work placement report, compiled by Samantha Thorpe (Functions Manager) at the club, highlighted her excellent employability skills— specially her teamwork, responsibility-taking, and leadership.

This experience has not only allowed staff to impart their industry expertise to Aimee but has also developed their mentoring and training skills. The club is open to considering Australian Apprenticeships or Traineeships in Hospitality for students like Aimee, tailoring opportunities based on their interests and capabilities. Our commitment to the School to Work Program for 2024 stands firm, indicating our sustained involvement in work placements, events, and guest presentations with NMLLEN and our school communities.”


The School to Work Program, facilitated by NMLLEN and embraced by Mildura Working Man’s Club, has proven instrumental in bridging the gap between education and industry for students like Aimee. Through proactive engagement and support from both NMLLEN and FLO Connect, Aimee’s journey from identifying her interest in Hospitality to securing a casual role at the club while studying showcases the program’s effectiveness. Aimee’s positive attitude, eagerness to learn, and the club’s commitment to mentoring and training have not only enriched her skill set but also inspired considerations for potential future pathways in Hospitality. This success story underscores the program’s collaborative spirit, fostering meaningful connections between LLENs, educational institutions and industry, paving the way for continued involvement in SWL and Work Experience initiatives in the upcoming years.

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