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Taking On A Trainee During Lockdown Can Be The Best Thing For Your School

Taking On A Trainee During Lockdown Can Be The Best Thing For Your School

Taking On A Trainee During Lockdown Can Be The Best Thing For Your School

Principal of Holy Rosary Primary School in White Hills, Victoria, Paul Wilkinson, firmly believes that taking on a trainee provides schools with invaluable support in a time where teaching and education has had to evolve.

Paul currently supervisors Chelsea Furlong, a new Education Support trainee at the school.

“Our school has many special needs children so we are classed as an essential service and remain open through lockdown and Chelsea has been able to come in and supervise, so our teachers can focus more on delivering the online learning,” said Mr Wilkinson.

“Teaching is different now; it is not what it was normally, and the traineeship role has now become more dynamic.

 It’s unfortunate because Chelsea organises a lot of events and sports activities in her role and most of the time, they can’t come to fruition.

However, she now has a much better chance to work on site with the kids which is allowing her to progress a lot further in her traineeship and give her that real insight into teaching, while at the same time she is providing extra support to our teachers and staff which in turn creates better learning outcomes,” he added.

Having taken on more than eight trainees in his career, Mr Wilkinson is a long-time supporter of the AFL SportsReady traineeship program.

“I have worked in three different schools as Principal and have had trainees on in every school.

I heard of the program 15 years ago and loved that the trainee not only provided extra support to teachers and staff, but it introduced them to teaching, like a try before you buy.

It’s a huge positive for us and a huge positive for the trainee – it’s a win win.”

Mr Wilkinson also believes having a young person work within the school brings a fresh and youthful perspective.

“In addition to being a great way to staff your school, a trainee brings an incredible amount of energy, fun and enthusiasm.

  We take on trainees every year and they bring a sense of renewed motivation to the school.

Being closer to age with students, they also tend to connect more with the kids, and become a mentor figure. It changes the whole dynamic of the school, in a positive way.” 

Another part of the traineeship program that stands out is the support provided by AFL SportsReady.

“You don’t just get a trainee; you get a support system which is second to none. The staff at AFL SportsReady, have been brilliant and meeting people like Paul Broderick, Ralph White and Mick Caruso has been a real highlight.

The communication channels are always open. Even through lockdown you are fully supported every step of the way.”

As a supervisor, Mr Wilkinson believes the most rewarding part about taking on a trainee is seeing his trainees succeed after their traineeship.

“It’s definitely a real highlight seeing the success these young people have in their lives and knowing that we have had an influence in that.

 Not all the trainees may go into teaching but every trainee I have had in my life have all reached success and all achieved something great because they have participated in this program,” said Mr Wilkinson.

The traineeship has continued to benefit Mr Wilkinson through his career as a principal and even through lockdown he is finding the support the trainee provides is just as important as ever.

“I tell other schools about the program all the time.

 I tell them of the benefits and the extra support they can receive from the trainee and the support as a supervisor they receive from AFL SportsReady.

Especially during lockdown, schools might need that extra support and our trainee has been a huge benefit to us during this time. It’s really a brilliant program and I’ll continue to be a big advocate for it and the benefits it offers.”

To find out more about our school’s program please click here.

DATE: 17th of September 2021

AUTHOR: Marissa Pagliarello

IMAGE: Chelsea with past trainee Harrison Campbell, who still works at the school