Supporting Schools in The Arts

Supporting Schools in The Arts

In the heart of Kambrya College in Berwick, Victoria. There’s a corner buzzing with creativity—the Performing Arts Department. Here, Trainee Tahlia Leedekerken, a former student of the school, is revelling in her role, crafting her path with a blend of nostalgia and newfound purpose. In a recent catch-up, Tahlia shared her thoughts and experiences about her traineeship so far and her deep connection to the school community and the world of arts.

We caught up with Tahlia in one of the music rehearsal rooms at Kambrya College. The background ambience was nothing short of magical, with the distant sounds of flute practice and a guitar strumming in the next room.

Her face lit up as she described the place:

The school has a nice buzz about it, and the Performing Arts Department, in particular, is teeming with creativity and positive energy.

Tahlia’s own experience at Kambrya College was marked by the challenges of navigating Year 11 and 12 during a period of lockdowns and uncertainty due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, her dedication to the arts remained steady, providing her with a constant anchor.

The transition from a student to a staff member was a pivotal moment in Tahlia’s life. Her former drama teacher, Leya, now her supervisor, extended a unique opportunity with an arts traineeship.

Tahlia’s eyes sparkled with excitement as she recalled her response:


The prospect of continuing her artistic journey within the familiar walls of Kambrya College was irresistible.

During her school years, Tahlia immersed herself in a diverse range of creative activities. Including music, drama and participation in the grand school production. Her connection to the Arts Department was profound, with Tahlia describing it as:

like a second home!

This deep attachment played a pivotal role in shaping her perspective on life and career.

One of the standout moments in Tahlia’s school years was the annual production. However, the pandemic presented an unexpected challenge, leading to the extension of the production process over two years. Tahlia shared a remarkable feat:

We managed to piece together the entire show in just four weeks.

The determination and resilience of her fellow students paid off when the performance finally graced the stage in December 2021, earning rave reviews.

The pandemic posed a unique set of challenges, prompting some Year 12 students to drop out of the production due to the uncertainty surrounding school re-entry. Tahlia and her peers had to adapt swiftly, re-auditioning for roles and reorganising responsibilities to keep the production alive. The outcome was a testament to their ongoing dedication and love for the arts.

Transitioning into a staff role, Tahlia maintained a great connection with the students.

Her former peers recognised her, particularly those who had been part of the production. While the shift from student to staff member involved adjustments. Overall everyone has been respectful and accommodating of this change.

Tahlia’s traineeship at Kambrya College has been characterised by unwavering support within the school community. Leya, and the Head of Music, Adrian, have been guiding lights throughout her journey. The school’s strong staff culture ensures mutual support and Tahlia also receives assistance from an ex-Trainee who now works full-time at the school.

Notably, Tahlia’s traineeship is also defined by the flexibility and support she receives for her studies. Pursuing a Cert 3 in business, she appreciates the school’s accommodation of her needs within work hours. Her Educator, Matt, and Field Officer Yvonne extend a helping hand whenever required.

Tahlia’s candid words paint a clear picture:

I feel supported, without a doubt.

Tahlia’s traineeship is a magnificent blend of her passions and a nurturing work environment. Her role encompasses a wide array of responsibilities, from assisting with art projects to contributing to sets and the opportunity of taking on a directing role. She relishes this opportunity to view the creative process from a unique perspective, stating,

I thoroughly enjoy experiencing things now from the other side.

Looking ahead, Tahlia envisions several possibilities for her future. She contemplates a return to performing or the continuation of a similar role within a school community. Tahlia speaks warmly of Kambrya’s inclusive culture, the principal team and friendships she has made along the way.

Trainee Tahlia’s story highlights the power of passion and a supportive community.

Her experiences remind us that, with dedication and the right environment, we can continue to grow and pursue our dreams.

As she embarks on her journey in the world of arts, Kambrya College stands as a hub of creativity and inspiration, where the arts thrive and aspiring artists like Tahlia have found a stage to shine.

If you’ve recently completed your Traineeship, join our Alumni!

With over 29 years of experience providing quality job opportunities and launching the careers of thousands of young Australians. AFL SportsReady offers diverse and thrilling opportunities that could take your career to the next level.
Whether you’re just starting your career or looking to take it in a new direction, AFL SportsReady has something to offer. With a commitment to quality training and support, you can be sure that you’ll have the tools you need to succeed.
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We have taken the successful AFL SportsReady model and applied it to the arts, cultural and creative industries.

The ArtsReady program assists employers in engaging young Australians in traineeships. ArtsReady is delivered by AFL SportsReady, a not-for-profit organisation specialising in education and employment for over 29 years. The national program prepares participants to graduate as job-ready. Offering on-the-job work experience.


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