Navigate Up
Sign In

Journey takes students to apprenticeships

​Former St Francis students, third year apprentice carpenter
Matthew Nichols (left) and first year apprentice carpenter
Troy Howie (right) with current students (from left) Jake Cummins,
Tamsin Koch, Shayna Naidu, Natalie Tafai and Tiarna Ambrams

​ST Francis College at Crestmead is giving students the practical skills needed to find a job once they leave school through an innovative program.

Driven by the desire to provide employment for students and with feedback from industry, the college’s Design Technology Department has been taking students on a “personal journey in construction”.

The journey begins with designing and putting together a simple wooden tray in Year 8, moves on to designing coffee tables, cabinets, evolves to brick laying, helping build school facilities.

Year 12 students even built the college’s own concrete bridge.

All of this is done with help and advice from their peers in the construction industry.

St Francis Design Technology coordinator Mark Yeates said throughout the journey students charted and assessed their own progress through the use of photographs.

Mr Yeates the aim was to develop self-motivated and self-driven learners in the broad area of the construction industry.
He said the college was passionate about the student journey from age 11 to self-driven adult learner.

“As a team the department looked carefully at the student cohorts, their skills and the needs of their local community,” he said.

“The decision was made that the most important aspect of their education was ‘their value’.

“From that moment forward the ‘personal journey in construction’ story became about the students understanding their value to the design department and the whole school community, which tied in beautifully with the college values of: ‘Respect Self and Respect Environment’.”

Mr Yeates said he believed the greater values needed in society were for young people who are self-motivated and self-driven learners who were capable of being given responsibility.

“It seemed the students did not feel valued until they were also shown the consequences as this meant they truly had responsibility for their actions.

“So we handed over the department, the decisions were collaboratively theirs and the environment and tools were totally theirs and they now had a clear understanding of the dollar value of every action and reaction.

He said students were charged with the ability and choice to look after their facilities and the consequences of these actions were made very apparent.

“It was this process that lead us down the track of creating the ‘personal journey in construction’ idea and the mapping of the journey was simply another after thought.

“The use of digital images to record the journey as if the students were on a holiday has been the most powerful part of the process.

He said the use of digital literacies for the purpose of assessment was another story in itself.

“However, the ability to celebrate the success of this journey is one we would like to share with all educators.

“It has been astounding how the students have reacted to the understanding of the journey and how theirs will change along the road to their future as young adults in the construction industry,” he said.

Brisbane Catholic Education Office

243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102

GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia

Phone: (07) 3033 7000

Fax: (07) 3844 5101