TIA VICKERY, 17, Red Cliffs, Vic
Tia’s SWL placement at the Mildura Arts Centre provided her with an insight into some of the diverse career opportunities available in Arts and Design. The arts centre includes a 444 seat theatre, a regional art gallery and sculpture park, as well as heritage exhibits and hospitality services. A conversation with Tia’s career advisor, and the career advisor’s follow-through with the SWL coordinator, opened up the placement opportunity. It presented the possibility of ongoing involvement in the Arts sector for Tia, as she explores her career options.
A student’s perspective: Tia Vickery
“I’d love to have a career in Arts and Design and last year, I did a Design Fundamentals course at TAFE. The placement gave me the chance to learn employability skills, like communication, interacting with the public in a work environment and report writing. It gives you a really good idea of how workplaces functions, and the importance of being part of a good organisation. It also teaches you practical things, like how much work there is behind the scenes in setting up an event at the Arts Centre. It surprised me how big the Arts Centre is. The placement was a great experience and has given helped me form networks that I didn’t have before. The Arts Centre actually asked me if I would like to do a regular, ongoing placement and I’m hoping that I can do that next year while I am completing Year 12.”
A teacher’s perspective: Amanda Boulton
“It was great to be able to assist Tia through the SWL portal. I keep students informed about what comes up that might suit them, but in Tia’s case, there weren’t listings in the area she was interested in. The SWL coordinator was a great help in identifying opportunities for Tia in Arts and Design and making this placement happen. The SWL placements are terrific. We prepare the students well for their placement, and the experience gives them real-life working practice and prepares them for what’s next after they complete school. They’re able to build networks and the student is exposed to industry and finding out about what employer’s expectations are.”
An employer’s perspective: Heather Lee, Mildura Arts Centre
“The SWL placement, from our perspective, worked very well. Tia was very mature and intelligent which meant that we had more freedom in what we could offer her. It was great to have a young person interested in the placement. Because she showed initiative, we were able to expose her to a lot more things and we were able to give her quite a few tasks that required more responsibility. Having an SWL student, as opposed to a work experience student, changes how we structure the placement because SWL students come with a lot more skills. Internally, it’s a good process to go through as well, because it makes staff think about what we can offer students – but having a mature and motivated student makes things a lot easier.”