Long Time School Partner Explains why they still take on Trainees

Long Time School Partner Explains why they still take on Trainees

Long-time school partner Notre Dame College, located in regional Victoria, has been a supporter of AFL SportsReady’s Schools program for over 19 years.

In that time, they have taken on 32 trainees with four currently working at the school. Thanks to the traineeship program and the staff’s nurture and guidance, every trainee has made a significant impact on the school and after completion has gone on to find rewarding careers.

We sat down with staff and trainee supervisors at the college to talk about their experiences. As Host Employers and why taking on a trainee is fundamental to their department.

Anthony Brophy is the Deputy Mayor of Shepparton and Notre Dame College’s Head of Media and Engagement. His media trainee, Leah Doyle, has reformed the school’s media department with her brilliant ideas and skills.

“It’s the first time we have had a media trainee and the experience Leah has brought to this role is truly remarkable,” said Mr Brophy.

She has done incredible things for our department. She recently went on year 9 camp to six different locations around Victoria, and captured photographic images and footage to produce an excellent video.

Leah manages our social media platforms; she takes fantastic photographs and produces amazing video content. She helps to organise media opportunities and that is just the tip of the iceberg.” added Mr Brophy.

Leah was a former student at the school as are the three other current trainees. Including Stephanie Romeo who is studying Cert III in Business Performing. Connor Fleming is earning a Cert III in Sport and Rec Outdoor Education.
And, Olivia Archer is working towards her Cert III in Sport and Rec.

“This means that our trainees really understand the environment, they already understand who’s who in the zoo and where everything fits.

It is a real culture shock to go from year 12 and then to an employer but at Notre Dame they already know the students and the teachers, it’s just a great win all round and from this program we see absolute success stories, so we know what we have going on here works.” said Mr Brophy.

One of their former students, Nonie, took on a traineeship in 2021. Has just been employed at the school as a part-time Sports Coordinator.

Mr Brophy also added, “the traineeship and the school environment provide a really nurturing space for our young people. It provides them with a pathway in order for them to decide what they want to do.

Just look at Noni for example, she completed her traineeship and decided that she really enjoys working for the school and so we gave her the opportunity to do exactly that.

Every trainee has got to the end of their journey at the school and said, that was well worth it. They may have had their ups and downs but it’s a win for them at the end of it. Whether they go to uni, or whether they get a job.

In addition, it is a huge win for the college and the school community because of the essential support they provide. So, it’s clear to see why we continue to take on trainees every year.”

Another advocate of the program is Casey Fogarty, Notre Dame College’s Performing Arts Teacher. She explains the importance of trainees in order to keep the department running.

“I can’t speak highly enough of our trainees; they are worth their weight in gold.

What we get out of the program is incredibly valuable to our school community and what the trainees get out of the program is truly indispensable.

Every trainee we have had brings something different to the school and although they learn from us, we learn from them.

They enrich the school, they enrich our programs, and they enrich the lives of our students,” said Ms Fogarty.

Ms Fogarty is currently supervising the school’s Performing Arts trainee. Stephanie has been instrumental in organising plays, monologues and college productions.

“I have said it once and I will say it again, without a trainee our performing arts centre would not run.

Trainees do everything and anything from sourcing costumes to painting sets. They help me direct and so much more, the sheer amount of time and effort it takes to put on these events and productions at the college, I can’t stress enough how fundamental it is that we have trainees at the school to support our department and also to support the students.” Ms Fogarty explained.

AFL SportsReady thanks Notre Dame for their 19+ years of continuous support of our program and for helping to launch the careers of 32 young people. We look forward to this continued partnership and congratulate the college on its success.

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IMAGE: (In this picture from left to right, Stephanie Smith, Casey Fogarty, ArtsReady General Manager Andrew Murray, Anthony Brophy, Leah Smith, Noni Shipston and Olivia. Andrew Murray recently presented the school with an award to honour the partnership).