England Children's Home Burwood
The Weldon Centre extended its HELP program by establishing a partnership
with TAFE Outreach to offer an introductory computer graphic arts
course. Students responded enthusiastically to the creative elements
of the program. Learning to use graphic arts software applications
led to a noticeable improvement in their literacy and numeracy skills.
The course comprised accredited modules and students received a
TAFE Statement of Attainment at the end of the project.
The Weldon Centre is a community based organisation operated by
the Church of England Children's Home Burwood in the inner western
suburbs of Sydney. It provides a HELP program, a youth refuge, family
support services as well as children's services, including vacation
care, occasional child care and before/after school care.
Staff believed the HELP students would benefit from receiving a
TAFE credential as part of the HELP program. They felt that the
confidence gained from receiving formal recognition of their skills
might encourage the young people to pursue further education and
The Strategic Pilot Project allowed the Centre to offer an introductory
graphic arts course leading to a Statement of Attainment. The objectives
of this bridging scheme were to:
- use creative
art tools and the graphic elements of computers to improve the
numeracy and literacy skills of young people in the HELP program
- offer an
interest among participants in pursuing further education and
stronger links between the Centre and the local TAFE college
- help participants
increase their understanding of social values and responsibilities
participants' confidence and self-esteem.
The bridging project was run as part of the creative development
activities offered at Weldon. These include photography, print making,
sculpture, painting and drawing.
The partnership with TAFE allowed the Centre to offer a computer-based
graphic arts program. Students were enthusiastic about using the
interactive medium of computers. The creative nature of the project
maintained the students' interest, resulting in high attendance
rates and low drop-out rates.
TAFE staff helped develop the courses and projects for the pilot
project, which consisted of three bridging modules. For one of the
projects, participants attended the TAFE college and one module
was run by TAFE staff at the Weldon Centre.
By undertaking part of the project in a community environment, the
students realised it was possible to learn and gain a credential
without attending a formal training institution.
Students received a TAFE Statement of Attainment at the end of the
Both staff and participants felt that the project led to increased
self-esteem and self-confidence amongst participants.
The project clearly helped young people become familiar with the
creative aspects of using computers. It also provided a 'user-friendly'
introduction to the TAFE system and vocational training in general.
Literacy and numeracy skills were increased in the non-threatening,
engaging and creative environment of an introduction to graphic
The project succeeded because it skillfully integrated creative
activities within a bridging framework that incorporated effective
links with the mainstream VET sector.
The direct involvement of TAFE staff was particularly valuable,
as they were able to use their educational expertise to develop
projects and tools that focussed on developing language, literacy
and numeracy skills.
Using computer technology and the creative arts engaged the students
and maintained their interest throughout the ten-week project.
Both TAFE and
Weldon Centre staff felt that the project would have been more effective
over a longer period and would have welcomed an increase in the
number of teaching hours.
staff is important. Both the HELP teacher and the Head Teacher from
TAFE Outreach left towards the end of the project. This means that
new staff will have to re-establish the networks and redevelop the
project. More formal links with TAFE could help ensure continuity
of project staff.