Senior Pathways &
VET programs for Secondary Students

Updated June 2017

Melanie Hope
Orange High School

(Trained in 2011)

"Always aim for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. " - W. Clement Stone

My School:

Orange High School is located in a rural community located 3 hours west of Sydney. We are a co-educational school with approximately 1050 students and have a 100 year history of educating children from Orange and surrounding villages. We have approximately 90 Indigenous students and pride ourselves on being a school that caters for all students' educational needs.

My primary roles in the school:

I am currently relieving in the position of Careers Adviser. I also teach Stage 6 Hospitality and Dance and hold the role of Indigenous Support Worker.

My role as Transition Adviser:

I worked in conjunction with our Deputy Principals, Year Advisers and Principal. There was a thorough cross sectional approach to identifying students that needed assistance to achieve at school. Students that had behavioural and/or attendance issues were my main clientele. As the Indigenous Support Worker I also worked closely with the Indigenous students and the community. My main duties were to mentor the at-risk students to ensure educational outcomes were met, act as a mediator in regards to classroom issues, organise work experience for the students, co-ordinate their entry into applicable TAFE/external provider programs and assist students to pursue jobs/ apprenticeships such as help with resume writing.

My major achievements in this role:

I established a one-on-one case management approach with the students allowing them to feel valued and translating into their increased in engagement at school. I also enlisted external agencies who provided programs with key areas of interest for targeted students. Students' participation in these also assisted in their re-engagement with school. My communication with parents and the involvement of the community also created a network that provided the students with extra support.

The challenges I have experienced:

The main challenge that I experienced was that after going through hours of organisation for a student to attend work experience, the student decided not to attend. One of the strategies I employed to overcome this situation was to personally escort the student to the workplace, ensure paperwork was completed correctly in the lead up to the placement, and make sure they were comfortable with their placement, as well as the people and the requirements for the actual placement. I would then also maintain regular phone contact with the employer to assess how the student was coping.

What I have learnt in this role:

I have learnt a number of things! However the three key messages I want to share are:

The impact of the Transition Adviser initiative on the school and its community:

The Transition Adviser initiative was a very positive one for Orange High School. It allowed me to work with at-risk students who were on the verge of disengagement from school and their education, and who were unable to be dealt with effectively by the Careers Adviser purely due to time restraints. We created a positive relationship with a number of employers and the community, as well as reaffirming existing relationships with TAFE and other external agencies such as VERTO and Youth Connections. Parents also valued being involved in decisions and the pathways of their child's academic experience.

NB: VERTO is a community owned not-for-profit organisation delivering a range of vocational services to assist individuals, employers and industries.