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Everyday skills can be hard for some

A surprising statistic for you – around 44% of adult Australians has literacy levels that make everyday tasks very difficult. Sadly, our numeracy levels are worse with over half of Australian adults scoring low on international surveys.

If you have been able to read this so far, fortunately, you are likely not a contributor to this statistic.

Low literacy or numeracy ability is not just being able to read this blog. It is so much more. Social exclusion, financial hardship, struggle to pay for a coffee, not being able to help your kids with their homework or hearing your child tackling with their first words and dreading when they ask, “What’s this word?”, in their high pitched inquisitive little voices.

More worryingly, however, is the health impact this can have on individuals. Not being able to read instructions on a medical prescription and let’s not even start with reading the health benefits of chia seeds, matcha powder and goji berries – what berries?  Low fat, reduced fat, no added sugar, aaargh.

More practical low literacy levels can have a real impact on one’s employment prospects.

Workplaces never used to require as much arduous paperwork or there may be a entry exam as a part of the recruitment process.  Now there are logbooks for trucks drivers, OH&S requirements for factory workers to follow, policies to read and seemingly endless forms to complete.

So what can we do?

Here at Cire we have a number of Everyday Living Skill courses to not only improve your literacy and numeracy, but also improve your life skills, and in turn, your confidence and social interaction, all in a supportive and fun environment.

From Everyday English and Maths to Independent Living and cooking in Kitchen Kaos.  There is such a diverse range of courses to help anyone who wants to learn.

One day you can be going to the laundry mat or cooking up spaghetti bolognaise and the next increasing your reading and writing or setting out a simple budget in maths.

“My reading, writing and maths have really improved since starting at Cire. This makes me feel happy and more confident”. I also like coming to class to socialise with others – Robyn, Student, Everyday Learning Skills

Here are just some of the great courses on offer,

  • Independent Living
  • Kitchen Kaos and healthy living
  • Tech Hub
  • Everyday English
  • Intermediate English
  • Everyday Maths
  • Smart Money

If you or someone you know wants to learn more about our courses, please contact Cire on 1300 835 235 for further information. We also offer a free trial where you can attend a session to see whether the course suits your needs. ­­

From Student to Employee

My name is Rebecca and I’m an employee and student at Cire Services.

I first started at Cire as a student in the Step Ahead Program at the Cerini Centre in Warburton 2013.

I became aware of the program through my family, as they had previously been students and staff members of the organisation. The program was suggested to me I didn’t enjoy the mainstream school I was attending and I was looking for another option in order to continue my education.

The Step Ahead Program was designed for early school leavers under the age of 16 to participate in literacy, numeracy, art, drug education, cooking and other life skills. The classes were held in the comfort of a small classroom with a small number of students. The difference was the hands-on and creative learning techniques; it was not just about completing worksheets and keeping up with homework.

In 2015 I moved to the new location in Yarra Junction to finish off the rest of my schooling. The Yarra Junction campus was so different compared to Warburton, it had nice buildings, gardens, and was super spacious, it had a different atmosphere, and tons more people.

I started year 10 at the Yarra Junction campus, but being in a new environment with new people made it hard for me to complete all my school work, and as a result, I had to repeat year 10 the following year.

By the time the next year came around I was much more settled in my environment and with all the people around me, so I was able to get all my work finished and could move up into year 11.

When people hear the term ‘community school’ they think of a school for drop-outs or really troubled children, but a community school is more than that, it’s a place where you can be yourself and build ever-lasting friendships. It’s a place where you’re not only getting an education; you’re getting life skills and building up your self-confidence. Coming to Cire Community School was definitely the right choice for me.

From student to employee

Anna-Louise Allen (Executive Manager – Education and Training) presenting Bec with flowers after her inspiring words about her educational journey

Last year I was offered an amazing opportunity to complete a Certificate III in Business Administration as a school-based trainee two days a week. A few months into my traineeship Cire offered me a further two days a week as a Customer Service Officer at the Yarra Junction office.
I now work between our two campuses four days a week, as well as also completing my VCAL Intermediate at the Community School one day a week. I even shared my experience at a graduation ceremony where I received some flowers for my presentation.

Thinking back to when I first became a student at Cire to where I am now is such a strange feeling, I never thought I would one day be working for the organisation and alongside the people who helped me through my schooling and through some of the most difficult times in my life.

Being part of the Cire organisation is such a rewarding feeling and I love being able to help out in our amazing community.

Cire has helped boost my confidence and change my whole outlook on the struggles of achieving an education and has shown me that no matter where we are in life, or the struggles we are facing, we can always achieve the goals we set and become someone greater than who we were yesterday.

Please call 1300 835 235 if you would like more information on Cire Community School or if you would like a tour of any of our campuses.

Crash Through to achieve your goals

In term 4 2017, Cire Training was given the opportunity to pilot a program with the Brotherhood of St Lawrence and Box Hill TAFE. Crash Through is a condensed program based on Advantage Thinking and the creation of a non-school environment to encourage engagement and learning.

Advantaged Thinking is a philosophy about using the advantages we possess as humans – our assets, talents, resources and abilities to create the conditions for a society in which everyone can thrive.

Advantaged Thinking believes that everyone has a talent, the ability to be someone positive in life. With the right set of opportunities and support, we can identify and harness everyone’s talent for personal and social good.

Our participants were all young people aged between 17 and 40 who had experienced disadvantage, trauma or negative experiences of school and had disengaged at some point in their lives.

Participants were invited to attend a five-week program ran on a Wednesday afternoon from 2.00 – 4.00 pm. Facilitated by an experienced facilitator from the Brotherhood of St Lawrence and mentors currently enrolled at Box Hill TAFE undertaking Diploma of Community Services or Diploma of Youth Work.

The 10 participants supported by 20 mentors looked at different areas of their life and identified things that they liked and one thing they disliked or would like to change in their world. Participants created presentations about the area that they wanted to change.

Over the five weeks, they researched and discussed the area they wanted to change and worked with their mentor to plan steps in order to achieve that goal. At the end of the program, we had people working to change awareness on sexual abuse, drug and alcohol awareness, creating more sources in the community for drinking water, a father’s support network, a children’s book and looking at opportunities for employment.

At the end of the program, participants left with a more positive attitude and changed view towards learning and opportunities. The participants were able to develop relationships and to support each other to identify strategies for positive change.

Participants presented their projects and their outcomes to the group. They even encouraged each other and shared ideas on how to move forward.

Participant 1 – Felt accepted for the first time in her life. She went on to complete her Diploma and was accepted into university to commence a degree in biomedicine.

Participant 2 – learnt about the processes required to approach the Yarra Ranges Council in order to get drinking fountains in local parks.

Participant 3 is developing a storybook for children and has enrolled in the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.

For further information please call 1300 835 235.

Brotherhood of St Laurence

New changes to Government course funding- How it can affect you

Skills First is the Victorian Government’s Funding Strategy aimed at supporting and upskilling Victorians. It includes the funding of qualifications which are delivered through traineeships, apprenticeships and classroom delivered programs. The impacts on an individual’s eligibility for a funded place, are discussed here. It is advised that you consider the location of the choice delivery, availability and cost of a course. Information about client feedback and what successful completion meant to the student is also something worth considering. Training should be about gaining skills that directly support your ability to get a job.

The Government is committed to improving the quality of government-funded training in Victoria and in line with the Education State Agenda. Only Training Providers with a proven track record of quality training delivery have been offered a 2018-2019 VET Funding Contract. Cire Training, (formerly Upper Yarra Community House) has been operating as a Registered Training Provider (RTO) since 1992, delivering a range of training and qualifications to the community. Cire Training was audited in November 2017 and has been offered a contract for the Skills First Funding program for 2018-2019.

The Department has restricted the number of places offered to every training provider who delivers qualifications where the anticipated commencements are significantly in excess of projected jobs and training needs.

The Skills First Contract is designed to provide high-quality skills in the areas where there are jobs available. It is important, as a prospective student, that you do not waste your funding entitlement on a qualification that may not enable you to achieve improved employment outcomes or a job. If you are unsure contact Cire Training to speak to an enrolment officer.

Cire Training regularly offers short industry taster courses where you can find out about different industries. Look out for our ‘Plan your career courses’ which include a tour of the sites where the courses are delivered and the current work pathways. This will give you an idea if this field is where you want to study and work.

Restrictions to enrolments in the following qualifications now apply to RTO classroom-based programs. If you are offered a Traineeship in one of the qualifications there are no restrictions. The six restricted qualifications are:

  • CUA51015 Diploma of Screen and Media
  • CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care*
  • MSS40316 Certificate IV in Competitive Systems and Practices
  • CHC30113 Certificate III in Childhood Education and Care*
  • HLT33115 Certificate III in Health Services Assistance.

*If you do want to enrol in one of these qualifications you should contact Cire Training on 9736 1457 now, to find out if the course is suitable for you and to secure your place.

Skills First also offers the Reconnect Program which is designed to provide additional support for unemployed people who are finding it hard to secure a job, or who really do not know where to start. Cire Training can provide a range of supports and has special programs for men and women who need help with goal setting, determining career direction and applying for a job. If you need some help or just want someone to talk to, contact Michelle Spokes or Sammy Egan on 9736 1457 today, and get 2018 off to a positive start.

 

Finding the most suitable training option for you

Skills First is a government-funded vocational education and training program that is accessible to people who do not hold a post-school qualification, or who want to gain a higher level qualification than they already hold. TAFE’s and Learn Locals may be able to offer an exemption, therefore the best advice would be to speak to them first.

If you are eligible for government subsidised training through the eligibility criteria, the government will contribute to the cost of training. It is smart to use your entitlements before you consider accruing a debt. If you are not sure, speak to the people who can provide advice about the training, its potential job outcomes and your needs.

I wanted to do training that would get me a job. Living in Millgrove made it really hard to know what to do. One day I received a call from a telemarketer who invited me to an interview in Lilydale. I went along and they talked about hairdressing, beauty and nail technology. I thought that I could do this and perhaps run my business from home in Millgrove. I said I would like more information and signed some forms.

The next thing I knew I was enrolled in a course that was delivered in the city. Millgrove to the City is a 3 -4 hour trip by public transport. There was no way I could do that.

I did not attend any classes. The next thing I found out was that I had, not one, but two VET Fee Help Debts. I really wish I knew what I was signing up for!

I called into Cire Service Inc to talk about my situation. They were really helpful and discussed job opportunities and careers that I could possibly do in the Yarra Valley. They also had the option to offer an exemption which meant that I would be able to do a course that was government funded and much cheaper than the big debt that I had accrued from my meeting about beauty and hairdressing. Mary – Student (Millgrove)

What to consider before enrolling:

  • Ensure the course you wish to enrol in aligns with your career and further study aspirations. For information about finding a VET option that suits you, see  education.vic.gov.au
  • Ensure the delivery strategy meets your study and work/ life balance. If you live in a regional area, consider what is available locally.
  • Understand the eligibility criteria (see below for more information)
  • Read more about the education and training you need for the job you want and improve your knowledge and skill in an area that interests you. education.vic.gov.au training/learning
  • Research your training provider and training options on training.gov.au

Eligibility Criteria:

Students may be eligible for funding through the Skills First Program if they meet the following criteria:

  • Be an Australian Citizen or Permanent visa holder or a New Zealand Citizen
  • Must reside in the state of Victoria
  • Not be currently enrolled in two or more Victorian Government-subsidised courses in the current year.
  • Have not commenced more than two Government-subsidised courses in a calendar year.
  • Have not commenced a maximum of two subsidised courses at the same level in your lifetime. This restriction applies whether or not you complete the course.
  • Over 20 years of age (as at 1 January in the year of commencement of training) and seeking to enrol in nationally recognised training in a course that is at a higher qualification level than the highest qualification held at the time of the scheduled commencement of training.

If you wish to seek further clarification regarding eligibility contact our office on 1300 835 235 or you may wish to access the funding eligibility indicator click here.

You can only commence a maximum of two subsidised courses at the same level in your lifetime. This restriction applies whether or not you complete the course.

The restriction does not apply to:

  • courses on the Foundation Skills List.
  • students recommencing training in the same qualification at the same or different provider.

In exceptional circumstances, you can apply to the Department for an exemption to the lifetime limit of two commencements at the same level.

Enrolment Process

The enrolment process at Cire Services has been designed to assist you in finding the best possible course for your needs.

  • Register your expression of interest for a course via our online expression of interest form or contact our office on 1300 835 235.
  • Our reception staff can provide some information, however, we recommend that you come in to talk to one of our enrolment officers who can discuss your goals, check eligibility and provide advice to support you to select the best pathway for you. At this pre-training session, you will discuss your goals and the training offered by Cire Services to assist you with making an informed decision about which program best meets your requirements
  • All students are required to undertake a Language, Literacy and Numeracy test. The purpose of this information is to provide us with information so that we can support you to successfully complete your chosen course. You are also provided with a quote for the course fees and some suggested industry taster and study courses also offered by Cire Training. Once you have completed your enrolment form and paid your fees a confirmation of enrolment letter is sent to you with the course details, starting date and time.
  • Cire training is here to support you every step of the way.

Exemptions

Cire Services Inc can offer a limited number of exemptions to students who have undertaken a qualification previously that was not aligned with their needs. This is a limited arrangement with the Victorian Government and cannot be taken lightly. Speak with an enrolment officer today about your needs and whether we are able to assist.

Good news for quality training

In a sector plagued by bad news, Cire Training would like to share some positive news. From January 2017, Victoria’s training and TAFE system is being overhauled through Skills First.

“Skills First – our new approach to training and TAFE – will ensure public funds are spent effectively, and that students get real training that led to real jobs” Gayle Tierney, Minister for Training and Skills

Built on the Andrews Labour Government’s commitment to the training and TAFE system, Skills First offers real training for real jobs, through:

  • High quality training that students and industry can trust
  • The opportunity to develop the required skills– and the skills employers want – for jobs today and tomorrow
  • A real voice for industry in training
  • Funding for learners who need additional support to engage with, and succeed, in education and training
  • Access to targeted, relevant training for students in regional areas

With the introduction of Skills First, Victoria – the Education State – is leading the nation to ensure quality in vocational and educational training.  Students, industry and the community can have renewed confidence in government-funded training. This new approach to funded training is designed to make sure that public funds are spent effectively, and that students get the training they need to secure a job.

Cire Training is one of over 300 quality training providers who have been offered contracts to deliver government-funded training in 2017. Contracts were offered following a rigorous selection process where providers had to show evidence of their ability to deliver quality training. Providers also had to prove their strong organisational capability and clearly demonstrate their financial viability.

Cire Training, which offers accredited, pre-accredited and workskills courses from campuses located in Yarra Junction and Mount Evelyn, has proven its ability to deliver quality community-based adult education and training in the Yarra Valley and Outer Eastern Suburbs.

Cire Training is working closely with other local Learn Locals and Swinburne University to provide industry taster programs for the community. These programs will support the local community to identify possible career paths and opportunities for training. If you are unsure about which training program is right for you, consider participating in a taster program.

Not sure about where you want to work? Not a problem, Cire Training can help you plan your career, develop a resume and apply for a job. We have a range of pre-accredited programs to support your journey.

Cire Training offer accredited courses in Early Childhood Education and Care, Education Support, Horticulture, Individual Support and Leadership and Management. If you are thinking about a career in one of these fields, Cire Training can help you get there.

To find out more about the courses offered by Cire Training, visit our website or call 1300 835 235

Onion weed is taking over

Allium Triquetrum, commonly known as Onion Weed or Angled Onion, has been declared a noxious weed in Yarra Ranges Council Shire. A weed, in general, is a plant which is growing in the wrong place. A noxious weed, by definition, is a plant that causes environmental or economic harm or that has the potential to cause such harm. They can also present risks to human health. Onion weed is a noxious weed for most of the southern parts of Australia.

Onion weed is a perennial (reoccurring) and has thin green strappy leaves growing from a small white round bulb. When cut or crushed it gives off an onion smell. White bell-shaped flowers grow at the top of a long stalk in Spring and form seeds in the Summer months.

The weed is spread by the wind blowing the seeds into new areas, as well as the formation of small bulblets attached to the parent bulb. It thrives in damp, semi shaded conditions, which is why the Yarra Ranges is so susceptible to it. In our area, it is easily spotted in gardens, lawns, roadside, ditches and paddocks, the white flowers tells us that the bulbs are dividing and new onion weed is spreading.  It grows easily and quickly chokes the ground, impacting on the other plants. Weed identification and control are important parts of environmental management.

One positive about onion weed is that it is classed as an edible weed. All parts of the onion weed are edible- flowers, stems and bulbs. The stems and leaves have a mild spring onion or leek flavour, whilst the bulb has a mild garlic flavour. Each of these parts can be used in cooking such as stir fries, soups and salads.

Certificate II in Horticulture at Cire Training covers plant identification, propagation, irrigation, pruning, transplanting, as well as weeds management.

Anja’s Story

Anja is a trainer with Cire Training and is based at our Mount Evelyn campus. This story is about Anja and her family’s experience following her father’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease.

Eight years ago Anja’s father was doing strange things which prompted her to encourage a doctor’s visit to determine why his driving ability specifically had altered. He was showing a tendency to veer to the left, sometimes dangerously close to vehicles next to him. Also, he often looked blank, showing no facial emotions and he had difficulty lifting his left foot when walking.

The doctor’s visit led to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is a neurological disorder known to mainly impact movement, but can also include pain, depression and problems with memory and sleep.

Anja and her family found a neurologist for her father who recommended physiotherapy and lots of medication to assist with movement. He participated in a movement program at Wantirna Health and the family also connected with Parkinson’s Victoria to gain further insight into the disease.

Things were going along well until Anja’s father had a hospital stay in September 2015 for issues unrelated to Parkinson’s. During this stay, he suffered an acute delirium episode. This often occurs when a patient has an undetected infection. But that was not the case with Anja’s dad. One week later he was hospitalised again for a possible stroke, when again he had a delirium episode. This required major intervention by police as no-one could subdue him.

Major paranoia and a fear of people wanting to hurt him or his family became part of his everyday existence. He was assessed by specialists in the field who believed this was occurring due to his Parkinson’s medication. These were removed immediately, however his mental health was still unstable and his mobility poor. That’s when Anja’s family were told he had Lewy Body Dementia (LBD).

LBD refers to both Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. The earliest symptoms of these two diseases differ but reflect the same underlying biological changes in the brain. Over time, people with both diagnoses will develop very similar cognitive, physical, sleep, and behavioural symptoms.

Anja’s family needed to consider, collectively, what to do next. They had to consider whether they could care for their father, who was 75 years old, at home 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By this stage, Anja’s father was not capable of much movement, couldn’t make decisions for himself, couldn’t drive, shower, toilet himself, or walk unaided. And it wasn’t only their dad they had to consider but also their mum, who is 78 years old and has her own medical issues.

It’s fair to say their heads were spinning!

Due to the severity of the disease their options were limited. Anja’s parents’ home was sold and Anja’s mum went to a retirement village while dad went to an aged care facility which could cope with his specific needs of sleep disturbances, behavioural issues and lack of mobility. Thankfully both Anja’s parents were located on the same site so they could visit each other.

Anja’s parent’s lives have undergone many changes in the last 12 months, as has Anja.

“As l look over the last year I’m surprised that I’ve coped as well as I have. I believe the transitions were made easier for my parents due to the support and availability of facilities to assist families. The many chats with staff about my dad have helped me to understand him better. The caring staff who assist him to do those tasks which were difficult for family make our visits less stressful, and that means we get quality time with him. I’m not sure what would have become with my life if aged care was not an option.” Anja

Not everyone can provide this type of care, some are born to care and look after people.

“I also believe that the most important aspects in caring for the elderly are, patience and time, being genuine when dealing with hurdles, showing interest in them, caring, sharing laughs, being dignified in their approach and enjoying the person for who they are. I believe that a career in this industry is really rewarding as some elderly people may be in care for long periods of time, others may be there at the end of their life. Showing support for their family is vital.” Anja

If this is you, maybe consider a career in supporting people in their later years. Cire Training offers a Certificate III in Individual Support. This qualification can be used in many different facilities or provide in home care. Call 1300 835 235 to speak to enrolment officer at Cire Training today.

For furthering information on Parkinson’s disease visit parkinsonsvic.org.au

Age has no barriers when it comes to education

At the young age of 16 Sara Jessett (above right) completed her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care with Cire Training and was on her way to following her dream of a career working with children.

“My journey started simply with an interest in being around children. I began studying my certificate III in ECEC after doing a short work experience at a local preschool. From that work experience I thought I’d like to try studying it. I started with a 6 month certificate III course which was a great way to do it. I enjoyed studying the subject, so I decided to take the next step and do the diploma.” Sara

Discussions with one of her trainers, Anja Laukart at Cire Training, led Sara to consider a different learning delivery mode for her diploma – a traineeship.

In an early childhood setting, a trainee has opportunities to put into practice what they are learning through hands-on experience with the children. This leads to building their confidence, self-esteem and independence with other educators at the workplace and with the families using the facility.

To undertake a diploma through a traineeship, a student needs to be employed for a minimum 13 hours a week, in a permanent part time or full time position; the workplace and trainee need to sign up with an apprenticeships centre as the workplace is eligible for financial incentives; plus they need to select a training organisation to train (teach) and assess the trainee.

Keeping all this in mind, Sara had to find a workplace willing to invest all the above and also one that was not discouraged by her young age. Would a childcare facility employ a person so young to fulfil their dream?

Cuddly Bear Childcare and Kinder in Heathmont were keen to employ Sara, as she showed a lot of potential while doing her placement at the service during her studies in Certificate III Early Childhood Education and Care.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are. If you show interest and a passion for what you do and have a willingness to learn, then you’ll be remembered.” Sara

Age is not a barrier to work in the industry, as long as the worker has the qualifications or is working towards them. The definition in regards to age in Children’s services regulation 2009 states:

In the case of a person who is aged under 18 years, (a staff member) means a person who—

  1. is employed or has been appointed or engaged to be responsible for the care or education of children at the children’s service; and
  2. is under the direct supervision of a qualified staff member who is aged 18 years or over.

It is essential for all trainees to be provided with a mentor at the workplace who can support the trainee through the learning journey. Sara had a wonderful mentor, Lorraine Clement (above left), who supported her throughout the whole traineeship. Lorraine took Sara on the journey and showed here all the things she could achieve.

Sara was also well supported by her trainer and assessor, Anja.

“Anja came out to visit me once a month at the centre. She was so supportive and encouraged me to work towards the best practice and helped me manage my study and work by setting goals.” Sara

Sara successfully completed her diploma with a high distinction in early 2016, allowing her to continue further studies into the future. She is still employed at Cuddly Bear Childcare and Kinder as a room leader considering the next step in her career.

 “As I have been taking on more responsibility at the centre it has been challenging, but it’s because I’ve felt supported and valued that I have continued. Every day I work with the skills and knowledge I learnt in my courses. When I step back, I realise how far I’ve come after just two years of studying and then working, it’s awesome.” Sara

Students like Sara have gone on to achieve great things in this rewarding sector. If you think a traineeship would work for you click here to find out more.

If a traineeship isn’t an option then check out our class room delivery courses in Early Childhood Education and Care or call 1300 835 235 to speak to one of our team members.