OPENING CEREMONY – Chevalier College Highlands Trades Skills Centre
On Tuesday 28 July 2015, the Chevalier College Highlands Trades Skills Centre was opened officially by Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services and Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney-General, Senator for New South Wales. A Blessing of the new facilities was celebrated by MSC Provincial Superior Fr John Mulrooney who was the Principal of Chevalier College from 1996 to 2001.
These exciting new facilities comprise two purpose-built educational buildings for teaching construction and primary industries courses. The project was completed with generous financial assistance from the Australian Government and the wider business community. $1.5m funding was received from the Department of Education’s Trade Training Centre in Schools Program; with a $30,000 grant from the Veolia Mulwaree Trust that went towards the fit-out of equipment for the centre. In addition, local firms Home Timber & Hardware, Mittagong and Gubbins Home Timber & Hardware, Moss Vale each committed to $30,000 supply of tools at cost price.
The Construction Building has a teaching classroom for 24 students, a workshop with the latest machinery and equipment, a covered outdoor workshop area and a large store. The Primary Industries Building also has a new teaching classroom for 24 students, a large show arena with theatre seating for showing cattle, and an outdoor cattle holding area for students to examine, wash down and learn about the animals. This new building complements the on-site working farm at Chevalier College.
“Whilst we have been delivering these courses for many years, this marks the beginning for students to study VET courses in agriculture and construction in purpose-built, state-of-the-art facilities, giving them skills and qualifications for future careers” said Bruce Shepherd who coordinates VET courses at Chev. “Courses now on offer include the Certificate II Construction Pathways course, leading to careers in the construction industry; and the Certificate II Agriculture course that leads to primary industries careers in beef, dairy and poultry production. These certificates can go towards an apprenticeship and are equivalent to what students would undertake at TAFE.”
Chevalier College Principal Chris McDermott said the College is well placed as a VET provider, in addition to its academic program, “Together with our commercial kitchen and cafe for the delivery of hospitality courses and our extensive sports facilities for the delivery of sports coaching, Chev is a fully comprehensive school able to cater for and enhance the learning of all students”.
Commending the wide support received for the project Mr McDermott said “Our Chev Community is very appreciative of the past and current Federal Governments for their foresight regarding learning and training needs of young people for the future. Their generous financial support has allowed us to construct these facilities. The advocacy and preparation for our grant application was a successful initiative of the Chevalier College Foundation Council with the involvement and support of many past students. It has always been and continues to be our hope and desire that these facilities will be part of the Southern Highlands training infrastructure – accessible to the wider community, including, but not limited to, local businesses, other secondary schools, training organisations and particularly TAFE Illawarra with whom the College has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to explore usage and training partnerships. We also wish to acknowledge the very significant support of our own Chev Community, the Diocese of Wollongong Catholic Education Office who are our Registered Training Organisation (RTO), and the Catholic Education Commission NSW. Their very helpful advice, direction and assistance was vital throughout the process of securing and constructing these facilities.”
At the opening event Mr McDermott also welcomed Trustee, Cr Geoff Kettle who unveiled the plaque on behalf of the Veolia Mulwaree Trust; Mr David Wansey of Gubbins Home Timber & Hardware of Moss Vale; and Mr Shane Wills and Mr Andrew Ryan of Mittagong Home Timber & Hardware.