Kahoot fun for Adult Learners Week

Cire Everyday Learners celebrated Adult Learning Week with our students and staff on Monday, September 6 2021. Lockdowns weren’t enough to stop us from gathering together online, with a bake-off and Kahoot quiz that was enjoyed by all. Learners who participated are part of our Everyday Learning pre-accredited program, which runs courses five days a week at our Lilydale and Chirnside Park sites (or online during lockdowns). With classes ranging from Kitchen Kaos to Smart Money, these learners benefit from a wide range of educational options tailored for adults.

Students in Friday’s Explore the World Around Me class developed a Kahoot quiz of trivia questions based on their own interests. They then presented those questions to other students and staff who joined us online on Monday, September 6. Players were able to answer the questions on their own phones/devices and a final tally of answers kept us all on our toes!   Congratulations to new Reconnect Case Worker Marli Wilson for taking top prize in the Kahoot!

While students presented their Kahoot, pre-accredited staff led the group in a bake-off where we all made muffins simultaneously in our own kitchens. We had a really interesting discussion about baking substitutions, dietary requirements and how to save a recipe-gone-wrong!  We all learned something and had a good laugh along the way.   Thank you to everyone who participated!

This year’s Adult Learning Week is based around the theme “Change Your Story”.  Here is what learner Robyn had to say on that theme:  “Cire’s Everyday Learning classes give me opportunities to be able to do the things I want to learn and persevere at, and to gain independence.”

From the Adult Learners Week official website:

Adult Learners Week is celebrated at the beginning of Spring with hundreds of events and activities promoting the benefits of learning. There are so many opportunities to learn available across Australia.

Adult Learners Week is a UNESCO initiative supported in Australia by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment and coordinated by Adult Learning Australia. Adult Learners Week runs from 1–8 September and incorporates International Literacy Day, which is celebrated annually on September 8.

Adult Learners Week in Australia is part of an international festival of adult learning.

The move to create a broad celebration of adult learning began with the American Association for the Advancement of Education (AAAE) in the late 1980s. In 1990, governments met in Jomtien for the Education for All world conference. The aim of this conference was to set goals for:

  • universal access to and completion of primary education
  • reducing the adult illiteracy rate to one half its 1990 level by 2000. Click here for further information on the adult literacy day.

For further information on our pre-accredited courses, including our Everyday Learning courses, please visit our Everyday Learning webpage.

First Aid skills critical for all ages

First Aid saves lives, making it an essential skill set for people of all ages, as you never know when you may it may be needed.

To extend the safety nets within our communities and to put into action 2021 World First Aid Day’s theme of “First Aid in Schools”, Naomi Taylor from Cire Training recently met with Peter Beams, one of our valued trainers, to discuss how children and young people particularly can be equipped with a basic skills ‘toolkit’.

Peter, who has previously shared first aid tips with staff and children at Cire Early Learning centres and local primary schools, emphasised that each child is different, and parents and carers should use messaging that best align with their family’s language.

Some of Peter’s key tips and advice include:

Calling 000: Teaching children how to call for help is a great way of including them in a safety plan.  Basic information like how to utilise the “Emergency Call” option on a locked mobile phone, could save crucial minutes.  Learning your address, or having details somewhere children can see them, will also help in an emergency, but this can be age-appropriate.

Finding someone unconscious: Most people know ‘DRSABCD’, or some variation of it, however Peter reminds us that any action is better than nothing.  If you (or your child) encounter someone who is unresponsive, simply rolling them on to their side, and tilting their head back can be the key to saving their life.  Call 000 as soon as possible. As a refresher, DRSABCD is an acronym for Danger, Response, Send for help, Airway, Breathing, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Defibrillation

Nose bleeds: It is now considered best practice to have the patient bend their head forward slightly (not back, as previously encouraged).  If available, add a cold washer or ice pack to the back of the neck.

Choking: If someone is coughing, they should continue to do so, as this is the body trying to dislodge the blockage.  If the coughing ceases, lean the patient forward and administer back blows in an upward motion to assist them.

Peter’s information prompted Naomi to reflect on her real-life experience with First Aid; “When he was a toddler, my son tried to eat a full apricot and started choking on the pip. Fortunately, I was able to react promptly by laying him over my knee and giving him some back blows to help him cough it out.  I never thought I’d need to use this knowledge, but I am so thankful that I had learnt it.”

As research and knowledge improves, so do the recommendations for various treatments. It is best to refresh First Aid skills every three years and CPR education every 12 months, at least, to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.

Cire offers a range of training options, from our “First Aid Fast” sessions targeting parents and others who care for children. We also have a series of accredited short courses, from the base level, to the additional skills needed for those working in an education or care settings.  Individualised training can also be arranged for groups and businesses.

For more information visit the Cire Training website.

Cire Training in top 3 for Victorian award

Cire Training has further demonstrated its excellence in the adult learning space after being been named one of three finalists across the state in the 2021 Victorian Community Training Provider of the Year Awards.

The exciting achievement highlights Cire Training’s leading reputation for excellence and its innovative and inclusive programs designed to enhance the employment pathways of people throughout the Yarra Ranges and beyond.

The 2021 awards focus on service delivery in the previous calendar year so particularly acknowledge how Cire successfully pivoted to support its learners in our new COVID environment, transitioning from face-to-face to online delivery almost overnight.

Cire was named the Victorian Community Training Provider of the Year in 2019 and was a finalist last year.

The awards are the most prestigious event on the Victorian Department of Education and Training’s TAFE and training calendar, showcasing the ‘best of the best’ in the sector as well as highlighting how Vocational Education and Training (VET) makes a powerful and enduring difference to individuals and communities.

Cire’s CEO Gus Seremetis commended the Cire Training team for its continued excellence in service delivery, innovative approaches and ability to rise to unprecedented challenges in order to support and empower all learners.

“Last year was particularly significant because it highlighted Training’s tireless work and level of expertise in supporting learners and providing a level of stability during very uncertain times,” she said.

“We are proud of our quality and innovative approaches to upskilling people to enhance their employment pathways, and the positive difference this makes at so many levels and well beyond the classroom.”

Cire Training’s senior manager, Nina Bekker described the shortlisting as a wonderful acknowledgement of the extra hours, hard work and support that teachers, trainers and support staff offered local learners in 2020.

“Fingers, toes and everything crossed for October 16th when winners will be announced!”

The other finalists for the Victorian Community Training Provider of the Year Award are Wellsprings for Women and the Williamstown Community and Education Centre.

Click here for further information on our courses and programs.

Kick-start your career with VETiS

It is that time of year when secondary school students need to make decisions about the year ahead, as they work towards an exciting future in their chosen field.  For those in years 10, 11 and 12, the choice used to be “stay in school, or get a job”.  But does it have to be one or the other?  The pathways that previous generations navigated have now changed for the better, offering young people more opportunities than ever before.

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) like Cire Training, now operate alongside other education institutions to help students find their own way to achieve their goals.

For students looking to kick-start their progression to employment, Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses are a great option.  VET provides secondary school students with an opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification that contributes to VCE or VCAL. These programs are delivered by trainers with expert knowledge in the field and increase the employability skills of students.

I like coming here because it’s more hands-on, and it’s easier for me to learn that way, and it’s interesting and fun. – Grace

Cire Training provides flexible learning and extra support to help students succeed.  We draw on the depth of expertise we can access from across our broader organisation through Children’s Services, our Community hubs and Cire Community School.  At Cire, we use our extensive networks to provide students with unique opportunities for work experience, placements and industry knowledge while also studying.

We proudly offer courses that align with our community-centric stance and look for education options that will lead to a range of employment prospects for our students.   For young people considering their futures, qualifications in Community Services and Early Childhood Education and Care will see them graduating job-ready to address ongoing industry skill shortages.

At our recent VET in Schools (VETiS) event for local secondary school staff, Danielle Storey from the Eastern Innovation Business Centre discussed the “Care Economy”.  Referring to the World Economic Forum, Danielle reported that almost 40% of projected job opportunities in emerging professions are being created in care professions including childcare, eldercare, and nursing.

I like doing VETiS at Cire because it’s not a big class and very welcoming and fun.  Because it’s not big, it’s like a little community where we all know each other and its lots of fun. – Lexi

Cire Training’s team understands how daunting it can be for teens, supported by their parents/ carers, to make decisions that impact their future directions and pathways. We pride ourselves on our personalised approach, supporting individuals every step of the way. Our training team offers 1:1 sessions, to discuss how Cire’s VETiS program will provide opportunities for each student to achieve their best outcome.

If you’d like to learn more, please register your interest here, and we will contact you to arrange a time to suit your family.

Applications are now open for our 2022 VETiS course, click here for further information. To discuss your options in more detail, please contact Cire Training on 1300 835 235.


Playing your part in children’s early years

Victorian families will be able to access funded three-year-old kindergarten from 2022[1], with the State Government officially recognising the extensive benefits for children. The initiative is expected to create 6000 new jobs in the sector which means that CHC30113 Certificate lll in Early Childhood Education and Care would well be your ticket to be part of this exciting advancement.

If a job in Early Childhood Education and Care could be for you, Naomi Taylor, from Cire Training, gained valuable insights from some of our Children’s Services leadership team about what makes a great early childhood educator.

“The most important thing we look for is passion”, said Executive Manager, Diletta Lanciana, “We strive to work with people who are committed to providing the best opportunities and inspire the best outcomes”.

Melissa Saaghy-Walsh, Service Director, agrees, “Our educators’ eyes light up when they talk about all the amazing things we get to do and see.”

Being part of a child’s first years is a privilege, and establishing confidence and connections with families, and other organisations, is an important aspect. As Melissa explains,

“I love meeting and working with a wide range of children, educators and families. I love the relationships you develop over time.”

As a trusted member of this network, you may be called on to help support children and families if challenges arise; our experienced course trainers will ensure you are well prepared.  In addition to learning how to provide quality care, you will gain the resources and knowledge to respond to a variety of situations.

A day in the life of an educator will certainly keep you on your toes!  As Melissa says, “every day is different, and you’re not quite sure what the day is going to bring”, adding that this is what keeps her energised, after 23 years in the sector. From creating craft masterpieces to promoting health and safety to sharing stories, educators provide experiences to engage children and support their play and learning.

Do you:

  • Have a passion for children, and the exciting developmental stages of their early years?
  • Communicate well with people of all ages and backgrounds?
  • Respect children and their families?
  • Have creative energy to share?

If this sounds like you, then Cire’s Certificate lll in Early Childhood Education and Care sounds like a great fit.

“Studying my Certificate lll in Early Childhood Education and Care at Cire Training, gave me the skills to be confident and ready to begin work.” Rhiannan – Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care student.

Funding opportunities may apply, including Job Trainer for individuals under 25, or currently unemployed. Like to learn more about Job Trainer? Job Trainer – your pathway to a secure career

Semester 2 intake commences in early August, so there is still time to register.


FICE goes mobile

Cire Training’s First Impressions Clothing Exchange (FICE) has gone mobile with the launch of a pop-up roadshow to connect with even more women in the region who would benefit from the FICE experience.

FICE goes mobileThanks to a Yarra Ranges Council 2021 Community Grant, FICE is reaching out to women who may otherwise find it a challenge to visit the Mooroolbark shop to access affordable quality clothing and, equally important, a range of support services and the opportunity to connect with others.

Cire’s Yarra Junction Community Hub hosted the first pop up event on Wednesday 28 April with others to follow at the Healesville Living and Learning Centre on Wednesday 12 May, Selby Community House on Wednesday 26 May and Warburton Redwood Centre on Tuesday 8 June.

The Yarra Junction event created much interest with its high visibility set up on the pavement outside the hub. Quite a few customers bought clothing and also received on-the-spot assistance through services such as resume writing.

FICE trainer Renee Cook (pictured) said it was great to see so much interest in FICE and to answer questions about the social enterprise which has gone from strength to strength since opening its shop front at Mooroolbark in mid-2019.

She also said there is now a permanent rack of FICE clothing for purchase at the Yarra Junction Hub. It will be refreshed regularly so spread the word. Donations can also be dropped off at the hub.

FICE emerged from Cire Training’s successful Women’s Warehouse program, BY long-term unemployed women in the Yarra Ranges region FOR local women experiencing financial disadvantage.

FICE is unique to our region with its innovative and bold approach to empowering women and fostering meaningful community engagement.

The initiative provides women with affordable quality clothing suitable for job interviews or other important occasions. However, the benefits go much deeper. Through volunteering in the shop, women gain a huge boost to their confidence and self-esteem, a sense of purpose and pride as well as a raft of skills sought by employees, particularly in the retail sector. The experience also provides pathways to other support services and referrals, training and potential employment opportunities.

The broader community has enthusiastically embraced the project as volunteer mentors to assist the women on their journeys as well as donations. First Impressions participants have been touched by the random acts of kindness and help from strangers, seldom experienced before.

First Impressions is a real-life training space, mentoring women to stand tall by preparing them for employment. Experienced trainers provide ongoing support to instil confidence and develop the skills necessary in the paid workforce, and transferable between jobs, as well as overall support. Some of the tangible benefits include project management/store management/retail skills/merchandising, sewing, design, and customer service/communication.

Of significance, Cire is looking forward to renewing its work-for-the dole partnership with local job provider, Employment Plus, in the not too distant future. Volunteers gain recognition for their hands-on work experience as well as access to lifelong employability skills, assisting the transition toward sustainable employment.

FICE supporters include Yarra Ranges Shire Council, Voices of Women (VoW), a not-for-profit organisation based in the Yarra Valley that provides advocacy for women in the region, the Australian Women Donors Network, Good360 and L’Oreal and the Commonwealth Bank.

Runaway success for FICE Fashion Show

A sell-out fashion show on 12 February was the perfect event to celebrate a runaway first 12 months for Cire’s First Impressions Clothing Exchange (FICE).

An enthusiastic crowd of more than 50 women gathered for the fun at FICE’s Mooroolbark Terrace shop where they were treated to a taste of the quality fashion on offer as volunteer models gave it their all on the catwalk.

Everyone was on a high to have the opportunity to come together face-to-face to enjoy each other’s company as well as acknowledge the success of the social enterprise in helping provide women in need with positive pathways.

Local traders were also ecstatic because the event created such an exciting and most welcome vibe at The Terrace.

The event featured six volunteers modelling casual, business and formal outfits and stories of how FICE had given them a sense of purpose and confidence and helped them upskill and/or find employment.

Special guests included the multi-talented Kerrie Stanley, makeup artist for ABC Breakfast Television and award-winning milliner and who is also working on the production of Harry Potter, the Musical in Melbourne. Kerrie shared some of her make up tips with those present. Other special guests included Cr Sophie Todorov from Yarra Ranges Council, Alexandra Hale, owner and director of Johnstone and Reimer Lawyers, one of FICE’s gold-level sponsors, and Cire CEO Gus Seremetis.

FICE emerged from Women’s Warehouse, a Cire Training initiative. It is the brainchild of long-term unemployed women in the Yarra Ranges for women experiencing financial disadvantage.  FICE offers access to affordable clothing suitable for job interviews and other important occasions and equally important, the opportunity to upskill by volunteering in the shop and through mentoring and additional training and support networks and referrals.

Those at the recent first birthday fashion show learned about the growing community support and acknowledgement for FICE and its mission. Women throughout the Yarra Ranges have supported the shop from day one with donations of quality clothing. This gives other women, not normally able to access such quality items, the opportunity to purchase them at a much lower price and help boost their self-esteem.

The fashion show was made possible by a grant from Yarra Ranges Council which has also awarded funding for a mobile FICE service in more isolated communities this year. Last year FICE received a $10,000 grant from the Commonwealth Bank to assist with operating costs.

Other supporters include Good360 and Lilydale Big W and Bunnings.

Bunnings Lilydale donated lucky door prizes for the fashion show and all those who attended received a handbag donated by Big W Lilydale filled with other donated goodies.

A huge thank you to all our volunteers and models (Mary, Sarah, Karon, Maryanne, Donna and Tammi).

Like to know more, visit the FICE webpage

Engaging the Community through Social Media

The response to the COVID-19 outbreak has created many changes in the tertiary education space. Students have rapidly transitioned to remote learning, while institutions worked to set up virtual classrooms and upskill their training staff. Perhaps the most difficult challenge for students during the transition has been attempting to complete their work placements in the Community Sector when most organisations have sent the workforce home. Indeed, the prospect of completing placement on time has been grim for some. However, for the students doing placement at Cire Training and Hubs, the experience has been quite different thanks to their ability to adapt to the changing landscape of community need.

As with many organisations, Cire Training and Hubs shifted a number of its services to online delivery and offered social and educational programs via Zoom or social media. The transition to this medium provided an opportunity for placement students to engage with the community in a new and exciting way. A handful of students jumped on board with the experimental venture and produced a “Social Isolation Survival Guide” filled with activities and information on personal wellbeing. The survival guide was distributed as a free resource to dozens of organisations and community groups with hospitals, early childhood education centres and schools among those who provided their clients with the guides, receiving an astoundingly positive response.

Following on from the success of the survival guide, students were eager to set up a program consisting of community interaction and engagement. After many planning sessions and Trello cards filled with ideas, the group came up with the concept of running an evening Zoom session for the community with special guest speakers. The name of this project was “Friday Night Live” and after a number of sessions, it became a hit with guests ranging from Pat Boucher from Yarra Ranges Life TV to Neal Taylor, CEO of Holy Fools. The program gave members of the community an opportunity to log on and ask the special guests questions and discover ways to become involved in their community.

The placement students have expressed the value they have found in learning how to deliver community programs in an online format. The process of adapting to new ways of doing things alongside our staff has helped immerse the students in what it is like to work in the community services sector. Furthermore, the ideas they have developed and the projects they have implemented have served ongoing needs within our community in a fun and inventive way. The possibility of delivering an online placement would not have been possible Box Hill Institute’s trust and support in the placement program at Cire Training and Hubs. For our students, this may have been an unusual placement, but they have risen to the challenge and delivered amazing results. Thank you!

Jarred Kellerman – Business Support Manager  – Training & Hubs

Welcome to Term 3 – Chirnside Community Hub

Welcome to issue #8 of OurHub term 3 Guide. 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).

What a whirlwind the last three months have been for not only for our community but for all communities worldwide. We have had to learn to adapt to many changes in our day-to-day routines with everything but essential services closed. For me, these changes meant that I had to adapt to working from home, homeschooling four children and being thrown into the world of virtual meetings and catch-ups. Reflecting on the past few months, I am really grateful for the experience as it has given me the opportunity to spend quality time with my family, enjoy a slower pace of life and gain the confidence that I can adapt to any situation and come out stronger.

We closed the Hubs on 23rd March and I was very unsure of how I was going to support the community and provide courses and programs, without being able to deliver them in the centre. I am very grateful for my amazing team and together we kept coming up with innovative ideas to support the community. Our Fit 4 Life program was the first to be delivered via Zoom and with the members that did not have access to technology, we sent them an exercise DVD and exercise information sheets. We connected our Wednesday morning craft group together on Zoom, and despite some technical challenges, with patience and persistence, we got there in the end. The weekly catch-ups have kept the ladies feeling connected during this isolating time.

Some of the other programs that went virtual included our Book and Movie Club which meets on the last Wednesday of the month and Majickal Belly Dancing launched a four-week course. Friday Night Live, a program created by our placement students from Box Hill Institute of TAFE, welcomed guest speakers each week and incorporated a question and answer section at the end. Guest speakers included Patrick Boucher and Danny Field from Yarra Ranges TV, David Shepard a Tai Chi instructor, and Emily Webbers, an Indigenous educator.

Two weeks before closed our Hubs, we welcomed Naomi to our team as the Chirnside Park Community Hub Coordinator (pictured above left). You may have already seen her on our weekly Cuppa and Chat sessions on our Facebook page, where she has kept us updated with what is going on at the Hubs. Naomi started the hugely successful Lock Down Lego Challenge on Facebook, reaching around 800 members. The group was created and new challenges were set up daily to engage families to get creative and build Lego. Due to the success of this group we are excited to be launching our Lego Group at both our hubs.

Level Up is unlikely to return to the Hubs in Term 3, or while limits on social gatherings are still in place. Level Up is extremely important for our young people however, we do not want to create a situation where some young people may need to be excluded from our programs. We are eager for Level Up to return as soon as we are able to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all. Gamers Lounge transitioned to an online format in May and will continue to do so for Term 3. Those interested in becoming involved can do so by joining our Facebook group.

We look forward to welcoming you back to our Hub and as always, please feel free to stop in for a cuppa and chat and let us know what you would like to see in our programming.

If you would like to subscribe simply click the Sign Up! button above.

Enjoy OurHubs online
Jenelle Strachan – Manager – Cire Community Hubs



Family Learning Partnership Grant

As part of our Term 3 schedule, Cire’s Community Hubs are proud to be introducing initiatives under the ‘Family Learning Partnerships’ Grant. This funding will help our team support local families to connect over a variety of projects.

At Cire, we LOVE learning! Our schools, courses and programs all provide opportunities for people to gain more skills and specialised knowledge. Developing family learning partnerships will help us introduce these opportunities to young people, parents, grandparents and carers throughout the community.

Our new “Create, Play, Grow” will inspire children and their carers to connect with nature. Cire’s very own ‘Farmer Jill’ has developed an exciting program to encourage everyone to use their senses, develop fine and gross motor skills, and improve investigation and questioning skills.  All of this, plus more, while enjoying the wonderful local environments at our Hubs.

We will be bringing our successful Lock Down Lego Challenge to the real world, with our Lego Group coming to the Hubs in Term 3. This program will see families working together on weekly builds, promoting team-work, communication and bonding over a common interest.

Our Yarra Junction Hub will be partnering with the Ben’s Shed to run woodworking workshops, with families learning basic building skills to create a project to take home. This series will be a great chance to get to know others in the Upper Yarra community, with various ages coming together to share their knowledge.

At our Chirnside Park Hub, we will be teaming up with our friends at Cire’s Community School in Mount Evelyn expanding our veggie garden to create a “learning landscape”. This project will open up more opportunities for locals of all ages to enjoy fresh produce.  We are also looking forward to featuring harvests as part of our upcoming Pop Up Café and community meals.

If you are looking for great food and fantastic company, come along to our Hubs for our monthly Community Lunches. Supporting the benefits of life-long learning, these meals will feature guest speakers covering a range of topics to keep your family happy, healthy and safe. A highlight is sure to be the lunches during school holidays, where we will be incorporating a range of fun activities for all ages!

The Family Learning Partnerships programs will also include a variety of outreach activities. We are very excited to be working with local schools to promote important themes like gender equity and healthy relationships. These sessions will allow us to meet with students, as well as their parents and carers, to inspire discussions and lead change. If you would like your school to be considered for our incursion program, please get in touch.

Over the coming year, our team will be attending and coordinating a number of events to interact with local families and groups. We will be connecting with people to dig a little deeper, to gain insights into how members of our community want to broaden their knowledge.

Plans are already underway for our annual Twilight Christmas Market. In addition to a huge range of stalls to cover all of your gifts, we will be on hand to hear from you what 2021 could bring for you in terms of personal and professional growth, and how, through a variety of courses. Pop Friday, 4 December in your calendar, as this is an event you will not want to miss!

The Family Learning Partnerships funding is helping Cire open many doors, and we are keen to hear what you would like to see in your community. Our Hubs team is here to create programs and activities to help everyone learn, connect and grow.  If you have an idea you’d like to share, give us a call on 1300 835 235, or email us at

Nina Bekker – Business Develpment Manager – Cire Training & Hubs