Education and lifelong learning during COVID-19 times

Welcome to issue #3 Cire Training SkillsHub. As you can see we’ve moved to an online version for Term 3. Don’t worry the much loved printed version will be back for Term 4, and we will also continue to deliver this online for those of you who prefer to check out what’s on offer on your phone or tablet (it’s even better for our beloved planet).

As the end of Term one was fast approaching so was the Victorian Governments initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the weeks leading up to the Easter holiday’s Cire training were concentrating on setting up our online training platform. We decided to go with Google classroom and Google Meet, as the adult students were somewhat familiar with this platform. So while the students were rewarded with an extended school holiday break, from the 21st March staff worked tirelessly to prepare for remote learning for the start of term 2.

On the whole Term 2 has been a success, much reliant on this preparation from the Cire training staff. I know that I am now quite the expert at uploading resources, videos, weblinks and classwork to the Google classroom and can even insert a virtual background to a Zoom online meeting. I can appear to be in my lounge room or on a beach, complete with colourful umbrellas and clear blue skies. I mostly choose to be seen in my lounge room due to the poor internet connection, but I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with internet issues.

During this term I have indeed worked from home in my front lounge. I had a large window to work next too and have enjoyed the comings and goings of traffic, both vehicles and humans in and out of my street. I have loved watching people and small family groups going for their daily walks, and all the different dogs that have accompanied them. In particular, there is a large golden retriever who runs ahead of his family and bounds onto my lawn and driveway with such delight that I can’t help but smile. My cat, Monty, is not quite so impressed! I had a tree just outside my window, which was at the beginning covered in bright green leaves. Over this time it transitioned through autumn into beautiful leaves of yellows, oranges and reds until now it stands bare with not one left remaining.

I have been increasingly proud of how all of our Cire students have continued their learning journey during Term 2. Many of our students had issues with access to suitable devices, internet access. They needed to juggle other responsibilities such as working and caring roles, but they still signed in to their sessions to stay connected and learn new skills.

It was with such pride that the First Impressions Clothing Exchange (FICE) re-opened its doors on Wednesday 10th June, celebrating with a 50% off sale. During Term 2 the FICE shop was closed, but training and support for community continued online. Although this was a fantastic way to stay in touch, the team are over the moon to be open and trading and supporting the local community.

Now, as Term two is coming to a close, and we look forward to Term 3 and the changes that it will bring to our training space. Where possible we will return to in class, face to face learning, maintaining COVID safe guidelines. This will significantly improve some learning journeys and bring our students back together to continue their connections. A number of our courses will continue to be delivered remotely; some will be blended (online and on-campus) as we continue to comply with social distancing.

I would like to finally thank all of the Cire family, both students and staff, for sticking together during what has been a challenging time. It has been truly amazing to be part of a team who just got on with the job at hand to enable our students to continue their learning journeys with Cire.

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So onwards and upwards, watch out, Term 3 here we come!

Enjoy SkillsHub online
Nina Bekker – Business Development Manager – Cire Training & Hubs


Working from home – a student’s perspective

COVID -19 has disrupted the lives of everyone in the world. While schools were closed and other support services were finding new ways of operating,  it’s important to still stay healthy both physically and mentally.

No chance to say goodbye

As humans we are social beings, being taken away from that social interaction hits most people pretty hard. Not being able to go see your friends or even just people at work & school can be difficult. I found it hard not getting out every day and seeing people at school. It can be pretty hard at some points as we go through this time being at home, there will be times where it’s hard and stressful, but you have to remember that feelings don’t last forever. Also making time to see people in person whether that’s a walk or talking over the fence, making time to still see different people is really important.

Thinking creatively and problem-solving

Working from home can be tough, and there will be times that you will have to think out of the box and come up with an alternative to something you are doing. For example, doing school work from home takes you away from that sense of being taught, and not having someone there to ask questions to in person. But there are some good things too like being able to be more concentrated on your work with fewer distractions, being able to get more work done and have time to really think about your work.

Organising your day

Being at home all day doing school work can feel like there are lots to do, making a solid plan/timetable of your day can really help with managing your work and getting it all done in time. Making time for breaks and snacks. I found that I needed to make time for a walk each day to get out in nature and have some fresh air. It is really important making yourself stay focused and motivated to get yourself through the day and getting the job done.

Trying something new

Trying something new that you wouldn’t usually do can be a great way to learn new skills and learn how to be better at existing skills. I have learnt how to write better emails and how to communicate online better. Also, I’ve enjoyed getting better at participating and showing up for online classes. I’ve also learnt how to manage my time and how to stay motivated.

Working at home can be difficult at times, but overall I’ve found it not too hard. And I quite enjoyed working from home and I’d be happy if I had to do it again.

VETis Tourism student 2020

Education Support – learning during COVID-19

Term 1 2020 saw the Lilydale group of students come together as learners to undertake Certificate IV in Education Support at Cire. During the term, we developed positive relationships by learning about each other, taking part in team activities and working together to build our skills ready for Term 2 placements.

However, early in Term 2, we had to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions which involved changing our approach and continue with our studies virtually rather than face-to-face.

We were unable to undertake our planned placements and could not meet in person in our Lilydale training room – the space that had become so familiar to us each Thursday and Friday.

The transition to online learning has been a steep learning curve! We now get together via Google Meet to work through our units, covering the requirements of our course.  This has enabled class members to show the qualities they will need to be effective and capable education support workers.

Many of the students have astounded themselves with their vastly improved abilities with technology. Back in February, several students had no knowledge at all of the programs they are now accessing and using. Have there been high levels of anxiety? Yes. However, to their credit, all students are still in the course, using the online resources and completing their assessments online. They have also all presented a project using our online platform. The class has demonstrated excellent perseverance, communication skills and great examples of overcoming fears and rising to the challenge when overwhelmed.

We could dwell on the frustrations and the many adaptations we have had to make to ensure we keep on track, but we have focused on the positives, supporting each other and working to complete the units. Because we had developed a supportive team relationship before COVID-19, we have been able to reach out and support each other. We have shared a laugh about the lags in video production, the sending of multiple meeting links, and the talking over each other as we try to ‘read’ the best moment to make a contribution.

Teaching online requires a different preparation, different resources and is exhausting but the participation and interest of the group make it all worthwhile. I am so proud of the students for their adaptability, flexibility, perseverance and resourcefulness and know they will take these skills into the next part of their course and to the workplace when they move into their new careers.

Julie Legione

Cire trainer

My experiences with Cire

Hi, I’m Irene, currently studying Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care with Cire. I am from the Philippines and moved to Australia four years ago. I have a Certificate III in Individual Support and currently, work as a personal care assistant for an aged care facility in the Yarra Valley.

After some time working in the field, I wanted to expand my career options so enrolled for Certificate III Early Childhood Education. Why this course? Because I’ve always had a passion for working with and relating to children and have dreamt of becoming an early childhood educator. Why Cire? Because Cire’s local; the course cost is reasonable; the class size is small; delivery is flexible and Cire was very helpful and accommodating when I enquired about the course.

I am confident a career in childcare will be rewarding and worthwhile and I am confident about future employment opportunities in the sector. According to an article published by Rhianon Gent in on the 19th December 2019

“Childcare is an incredibly fast-growing industry. It’s estimated that there are likely to be a whopping 184,000 job openings in childcare over the next 5 years. This is most likely due to the growing population and the increasing demand for both parents to return to work after maternity leave.”

 I believe I have been successful in the course so far by submitting assignments on time and getting through the first two sets of placements. Our trainer has a friendly and approachable personality and teaching style and Cire provides excellent resources for the course which greatly benefits the class and enhance learning.

My main challenges have been overcoming my nervousness during placement and building my confidence so I can express my thoughts and participate better in the class

Due to COVID-19, we transitioned from face-to-face classes to online delivery. It was a bit overwhelming at first and I was worried because I didn’t have home internet. I have surprised myself with how well I have coped. Cire has done a tremendous job in transitioning to online delivery and the support from our trainer has been amazing.