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Study tips to help you succeed…

Study tips

It’s a big step to make the decision to get back into study when you haven’t studied in a while… it can be overwhelming.

It can make you start to doubt yourself and question whether it’s all worthwhile, but we can assure you that it is.

You may experience challenges and have some fears about studying again, but there are many ways to overcome them. The key is to be organised so here are some tips to help you successfully gain the qualification of your choice.

1. Make the Time
You need to make time to study, add it to your schedule. Allow this time to focus on your study.

2. Schedule Everything
Include school dates in your appointment/diary including when assignments are due. If using electronic devices schedule reminders to ensure deadline and commitments are met.

3. Make Your Situation Known
Discuss at the start of the course any barriers you may have to completing the qualification. Come up with a plan to achieve your goal with your trainer.

4. Use the Buddy System
Study buddies are a great idea, because you’re accountable to someone other than yourself. They can also give you someone to discuss what has been covered in class.

5. Make Study Time a Family Event
Make a time where everyone is doing their homework. You can lead by example and show them how important it is to study.

We hope these tips are helpful and remember trainers are here to assist so if there are any road blocks that need addressing, talk to your trainer who will be happy to assist you.

For further information on UYCH Community College Nationally recognised training courses click here.

Takysha’s Story – learning from the wise

As part of their Personal Development Skills unit, the Senior and Intermediate VCAL class at the Yarra Junction campus of YVCS have been visiting the Estia Nursing Home in Yarra Junction on a weekly basis. The following is Takysha’s story.


Elderly people can face a wide range of difficulties. They may be facing problems with their moods such as becoming depressed, experiencing the loss of loved ones, and also watching their friends need help and feeling helpless themselves.

For a 12-week period this year, I shared 2 hours each week with Florence, a resident from Estia Nursing Home in Yarra Junction. I learnt through conversations with Florence that a big thing that brought on depression was watching her friends slowly start to lose themselves and deteriorate medically. She said that she’s been with the Red Cross for decades and has always been able to help people and now she can barely help herself. It’s also the little things that can become overwhelming for the elderly, like for a passionate writer who with age loses the ability to write, a footballer who can no longer run. These are massive losses to people; to slowly start losing small components that help make who they are.

There might not be a cure for these symptoms but there is a massive way to help them and anyone can do it, and this is what our class has been doing this semester. We have been visiting the nursing home in Yarra Junction and spending time with the residents there. We don’t have to do much, just find some spare time to bring a smile to someone’s face, and just sit down with them, have a coffee and talk. We can gain knowledge from these people and they can learn from us too. As humans we are social creatures and this is imbedded in us all, but as we get older we lose our social network.

Throughout my whole experience with Estia Nursing Home and Florence I saw firsthand how life changes with age. I gained patience, learned to appreciate the value of teamwork, and most importantly I made a new friend. It was great sharing stories, looking at photos and laughing. I know that I will never forget my time with Florence. It was beautiful to see her eyes light up every time I walked into the room, to know I could talk to someone without getting judged. It was very rewarding to be a part of such a lovely program.

These are the types of programs that our VCAL students participate whilst studying at YVCS. For further information on our youth education services, click here.

More memorable moments from YVCS

From billy carts to hungry hippos – more memorable moments from YVCS

This year the entire Yarra Junction campus of Yarra Valley Community School (YVCS) have enjoyed many memorable moments, with two of the standout highlights being the Great Billy Cart Races in Warburton and the Human Hungry Hippos at St Joseph’s Primary School hall.

The Billy Cart Race began with a process of each year level designing and building a cart together for their class. OH&S issues were discussed and strategies implemented for both the building and racing phases. The building, planning and deployment of the races were all used as a part of the student’s learning requirements and outcomes for the Work Related Skills Strand.

When Race Day rolled around, so did the bad weather, but this did not deter the students. Their carts were all painted up with team racing colours, with some students donning gear to make them race faster and everyone was debriefed with the aim of the game: to beat the clock, not each other.

The weather created some slippery surfaces and a few rather hilarious stacks. Thankfully no one was injured, due to the protective gear that was compulsory to wear if the students wanted to give the carts a go. The teachers and staff were very pleased to see the students contributing to the various tasks such as pushing, carrying, supporting and, of course, laughing. Another great sight to see was everyone working well as a team.

A particular race day highlight was when student, Stephanie, unveiled her racing costume. Stephanie dressed as Mario from Super Mario Bros., complete with banana peel! Her first race ended in a stack, banana peel included, but she blitzed her second trial, winning her the title of fastest video game character of the Great Billy Cart Races of Warburton!

“This whole assessment was very enjoyable, including the planning and the building of the billy carts, and the culmination of racing them in the rain on Race Day. I’d say it was probably the most enjoyable assessment we’ve done all year!” Lachie McKenzie – Foundation VCAL student

The second memorable event held by YVCS was a game of Human Hungry Hippos. This event was held at St Joseph’s Primary School in Yarra Junction, who kindly offered the use of their hall to stage this human size game of the kids’ board game Hungry Hippos, yes that’s right human sized game.

YVCS students prepared for the game over the weeks leading up to the event, making trolleys, allocating roles and planning the running of the activity. They had to put into consideration any potential OH&S issues that might arise from the activity and work on strategies to minimise the risks associated with these potential issues.

On the day the students split into their teams, with some people lying tummy-down, helmets on, on the carts as the nominated ‘hungry hippo’, while others pushed the carts into the centre of the hall, where the ‘hippos’ could gather balls. The team members then hauled their ‘hippo’ and stash of balls back to their corner of the hall. The objective being the team that hauled the most balls back to their station won the game. This proved to be one of the most popular activities the kids participated in with loads of laughter and big smiles had by all.

If you don’t know what Human Hungry Hippos entails, have a look at the game being played on YouTube! Thank you to St Joseph’s Primary School for the use of their hall.

If you would like to know more about our youth education services and VCAL programs click here.

YVCS November was a big month

The Yarra Valley Community School had another great month. Lots of activity and some celebrations were the highlights of a very productive month.


Photo shoot for the new brochure

Image of the YVCS brochureBoth campuses got involved in a professional photo shoot for the official YVCS brochure. The students who participated were really enthusiastic and helped our marketing department by role playing scenarios that could be featured in the final artwork for the brochure. There were many laughs during the shoot, the students were able to do the odd ‘Blue Steel’ and other poses to make the occasion an enjoyable one.

A huge thanks to those who participated and thanks for the support from Lisa Angus Photography.

The brochure is now available at both YVCS campuses and reception at the community house in Yarra Junction and the Mt Evelyn office, so if you haven’t seen it be sure to pick one up on your next visit.


Congratulations Harley

Image of Hayley Lubeck with his awardYVCS student Harley Lubeck (middle) was recently awarded the Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award, along with four other outstanding young locals for his contribution to the community. The award was presented by the Warburton and Yarra Junction Community Banks and is named in honour of the late Ian Delarue, inaugural chairman of the Upper Yarra Community Enterprise (Warburton Community Bank). It is presented annually in the spirit of Ian’s commitment to our community and his passion for encouraging young people to strive for excellence and to be active in and contribute to their local community.

Harley, who was nominated by Tony Aulich of Yarra Junction Football Netball Club (YJFNC), has without exception demonstrated a maturity and clear passion for his area. Harley recently completed his VCAL at Yarra Valley Community School (YVCS) as well as actively participating recently in the Warburton Skate Park initiative and a co-organised fundraiser for war veterans.

Harley  assisted the YJFNC by taking on an array of responsibilities after the death of club stalwart Peter Wadsworth. Tony says, “Harley has stepped up and has continued the type of work that Peter did putting up his hand for anything that’s asked. He has never missed a night, or a day, and is reliability and initiative personified.” Harley also coaches the after-school kids football program through YJFNC.

Harley was recognised not only as a community leader but a role model to other young men, “He shows other youth they can do it,” said Tony.

Among the audience when the awards were presented was Tony Aulich and YVCS Yarra Junction VCAL Coordinator Karen Swankie, who are both extremely proud of Harley’s achievement.


Image of Karen Swankie and Liz NunnPositive outcomes with Anglicare

On Wednesday 18 November 2015, Anglicare – Linking Youth and Families Together (LYFT) and YVCS celebrated their collaborative working partnership. Students were recognised for making positive changes, setting goals and embracing life improvement skills. All staff were present to celebrate this partnership with a very delicious sponge cake that was enjoyed by all.

LYFT service is an element of the Substance Use Recovery (sURe) program that assists young people and their families experiencing difficulties associated with alcohol and drug use.

“Over the past two and half years I have had the privilege of working with the staff and students at YVCS. I worked at YVCS as their Drug and Alcohol Counsellor rachieving some successful outcomes.

YVCS has worked extensively with Anglicare to deliver programs and services to those at risk young people; to support their engagement in education and training, reduce anti-social, unhealthy behaviour, provide positive benefits to the community with very positive outcomes.

I am honoured to be part of such a fantastic youth program which is not only beneficial to the future of the lives of these youth people, but to the community of the Yarra Ranges.”
Elizabeth Nunn – Youth and Family Councillor – Anglicare 

“This has been a marvellous program and the students have participated enthusiastically. Liz has established a wonderful relationship with each of the students involved.”
Tony Aulich – YVCS Education Support


If you would like to know more about our youth education services and VCAL programs click here.

YVCS is awash with plastic bag free enthusiasm

The Senior and Intermediate VCAL class at Yarra Valley Community School (YVCS) Yarra Junction campus, have been working on an ‘environmental awareness’ campaign focussing on a plastic bag free initiative as part of their Work Related Skills subject. The Upper Yarra region is supporting the Plastic Bag Free Warburton movement, which aims to make the township of Warburton plastic bag free.

The students have been busy designing, screen-printing, and selling reusable calico bags as a way to encourage the community to go ‘plastic-bag free.’ These bags are available from the Yarra Junction campus or from Village Greens Organic Store for $4.00 each. They have been very popular with limited stock now available, so call to secure yours now; however, don’t fear the students are prepared to produce more in order to help the cause.

Plastic Bag Free Warburton  was established in September 2013 and has consistently been raising awareness during 2015 with numerous events; including a film night in July, a bag making workshop as part of International Crochet Day, and the Sew Warburton group which have been creating and giving away reusable bags for locals at events such as ECOSS’s Spring Festival and Warburton Primary School’s Springfest.

The dedication of our students and this fabulous local group are making a brilliant impact on the way locals are shopping. Well done to all involved.


The following article was written by one of our Intermediate students, Bridgette Cronin, who encourages you to think about the impact that plastic has on the environment.

YVCS Students encourage you to go plastic-bag free!

Plastic has been a significant part of our lives since the 1950s; globally we use over 260 million tons of plastic yearly. Seeing a plastic bag fluttering around in the wind is a site that we’ve all become used to. And while we know, to a degree, about the impact this has on our environment, I’m not sure that some of us actually know how serious this ‘plastic plague’ is getting. Did you know plastic isn’t biodegradable? It photo-degrades; which means that the plastic just breaks up into smaller pieces littering the environment around it.

We all know that the majority of marine debris is made up of plastic, but do you know exactly how much? 80%! That’s right, 80% of all marine debris is, in fact, made up entirely of plastic debris. Ever heard of the Pacific Trash Vortex? Well, it is an area the size of Texas and comprises garbage, dead animals (that have been choked or poisoned by plastic) and plastic, which makes up 90% of the trash vortex. And the horrific part is that it’s not the only trash vortex, just the biggest one.

This is why some of the students here at YVCS are trying valiantly to raise awareness about the harm that plastic bags do to our environment. We hope to encourage the community to get rid of this plastic menace by purchasing reusable canvas bags that some of the students have personally designed and painted. These bags are only $4 each and available at YVCS campus and at the Village Greens Organic store in Yarra Junction. Help us rid the environment of this plastic threat for good!


To find out more about UYCH youth education services click here or call 1300 835 235

Little green thumbs having loads of fun

During the recent school holidays, our kinder aged children were encouraged to try out their green thumbs at out Mt Evelyn Children’s Centre. With the help of their educators they planted alfalfa seeds on wet paper in little cups, and beans and peas in pots and in our garden. When our kinder teacher came back at the start of term they had already sprouted, and the children were delighted to see the little seedlings get taller each day.

It didn’t stop there, last week they de-seeded the dried sunflower heads that they had grown last summer in preparation to plant. The children enjoyed getting their gloves on and pouring potting mix into the egg cartons that had been collected. Each having a go at planting some of the little seeds. They also planted broad beans a few months ago, and these are now growing beautifully in the tyres in our yard. They are flowering at the moment and the children hope to get some beans from them soon.

Using books, pictures and posters they discussed the life cycle of the sunflower, as well as other plant life-cycles at group time. The children have also enjoyed using these same materials to research, discuss different plants, and eventually they will decide what they will be planting in our plot in the community garden next door.

These activities all have connections to our Early Years Learning Framework, which is our guide in curriculum and programming. The areas this is described as incorporating are:

  • Community – exploring the relationships between living things and notice the changes that occur to them.
  • Learning – making connections between the processes of planting and having enthusiasm and confidence to take part.
  • Communication – contributing their ideas to the discussions. Overall it is getting children in touch with nature, and the joy of seeing and hopefully eating what they’ve grown.

UYCH Early Childhood Education and Care services have proven to be an excellent choice in the valley. Recently our Yarra Junction Children’s Centre received an accreditation of Exceeding by the Department of Education and Training. If you would like to know more about the accreditation and our services click the links below.

UYCH Children’s Centre – exceeds expectations
UYCH Family and Children’s Centre

Cerini Centre inspires a vision

At UYCH we are always looking to further support disadvantaged youth in the Upper Yarra.

We are currently undertaking a “Research Evaluation Project for Disadvantaged Youth in the Outer East”, funded by the Warburton and Yarra Junction Community Bank branches, which focuses on educational and social needs for youth aged 12 – 15 years who are at risk of disengaging.

The Cerini Centre had been used by UYCH for its VCAL and “Step Ahead” program students for eight years and the project will conduct a needs-based research evaluation of this cohort, in consultation with other stakeholders such as Yarra Ranges Council and Anchor.

“There is definitely a gap in the services available for youth in this age group” said CEO Gus Seremetis, “UYCH wants to change this to ensure these young people don’t slip through the cracks simply because they can’t access the educational programs to support them.”

The research project will review and evaluate existing provisions. The outcomes will identify and determine the strategic direction and service model UYCH will implement to develop a viable and sustainable program.

Geoff Vickers, Executive Officer of the Upper Yarra Community Enterprise, who operate the Warburton and Yarra Junction Community bank branches says, “ This project is integral to the future prospects for young people in our towns, and for the wellbeing and prosperity of our whole community.”

It is estimated that 120 – 150 local youth will benefit from this initiative along with their immediate and extended families.

Plans are underway to utilise facilities in the catchment and the Cerini Centre in Warburton is being considered. Father Charles Cerini was a passionate and tireless community member, who had a strong focus on community education, so as a legacy to his memory the Cerini complex is a fitting tribute.

If you would like to participate in a quick 5 minute survey that will assist this valuable project, click here.

 

Letter of appreciation for making a difference

If you have been following our blog you will already know about the hard work our VCAL students did to ensure the Milking Cow and Goat Project (run by the Rotary Club of Healesville) was a success. By raising over $1000 they were able to pay for 5 acres of maize seed to be planted and grown, ensuring that the Kenyan children have a regular supply of food. If you missed the previous articles be sure to click the link below to bring yourself up to date with all the good work the kids have been doing.

This week our CEO, Gus Seremetis received a thank you letter from Wilma Best (Project Manager – Rotary Club of Healesville) and we thought it would be nice to share with the community their appreciation.

I am writing to thank the Foundation VCAL students for their outstanding achievement, having raised $1018.00 to support orphans and needy village children at a primary school in Kariakomo Parish, Chogoria, Meru, Kenya. The orphans and poor village children have little or nothing and this Rotary humanitarian project is striving to feed and nurture the children using sustainable farming methods.

I came and presented slides and provided information to the students, in the presence of their teachers and I really felt the empathy for these Kenyan children from these VCAL students. My visit was as a result of meeting Tony at a meeting of my club in Healesville. Now the funds raised by the students are already helping the children.

There is a 30 acre plot watered from a river and as Manager I am attempting to raise enough funds to plant the remaining 15 acres in seed and bananas to reduce hunger and help the children achieve at school. The VCAL funds were enough to buy Maize seed to plant five (5) acres. Maize is a staple food and when available it is eaten all year round.

I sincerely hope you will pass on this message of thanks to the student group as I really admire what they achieved with the encouragement of their teachers.

Yours sincerely
Wilma Best

Other articles of interest
YVCS Students making a difference – posted 17-09-2015
YVCS Students making a difference – posted 08/07/2015

To find out more about UYCH youth education services click here or call 1300 835 235

Together we can build a brighter future

In July this year, Karen Armstrong, UYCH Community College Team leader – Innovation and Development travelled with a group of 14 women to Siem Reap in Cambodia. The trip was a culmination of months of hard work raising funds to help the people of Siem Reap by supporting Husk Cambodialearning about the Cambodian culture and how we can all benefit from helping each other.

Karen was eager to come up with innovative ideas, one of those being a healthy eating recipe e-book, which saw community members get involved by contributing recipes for the venture. The group discussed a variety of ways to raise funds from organising a 60’s dance night to providing massages. This determination paid off resulting in over $10,000 being raised. This was a huge achievement as it exceeded the amount required to fund the community work that was planned for the trip. Originally they were asked to raise $2,400, so this allowed them to change the scope of the project and distribute the money between three charities that the group visited during their trip.

The largest project they funded was building a home for a young family. This was truly a team effort, the carpenter built the frame and the group helped the family members construct the walls and lay the floor. They also helped make wheelchairs for children and adults who are still being injured as the result of landmines left by the Pol Pot regime in the 1970s.

“I found this to be a very rewarding experience, which was made more so because their previous hut would have been deemed unsafe for them to live in during the monsoon flood season.” Karen Armstrong – Team Leader Innovation and Development

Karen also had the opportunity to visit two local schools. During her visit she was able to get creative by participating in an art project with the children, making paper birds and observing classroom delivery in order for her to gain knowledge from an educational perspective.

While the trip was organised by a local yoga and pilates instructor and had elements of relaxation and meditation, the lasting memories from Karen’s trip came from the charity work that she and the other women had the privilege to partake in.

Not only did this project help the Siem Reap community, Karen was able to utilise what she had learnt from the experience and take it into her own classroom back home. Her Certificate IV in Education Support students were able to use the information in their assessment tasks. This showcased how important these projects are to our local community and abroad. Sharing cultural experiences and making a difference to people’s lives is what serving the community is all about, together we can build a brighter future.

“Spending time getting to know the local community is an experience I will never forget; it has also given me further insight into the needs of our close neighbours.” Karen Armstrong – Team Leader Innovation and Development

If you are interested in building a career in community services the first step is gain a qualification. UYCH Community College offers nationally accredited courses that can help you achieve just that, click here for further information or call 1300 835 235.

To find out more about education volunteer work visit Ponheary Ly Foundation.

YVCS Students making a difference part 2

You may have read our blog  “Students making a difference” posted 08/07/205 about our two VCAL Foundation classes at the Yarra Junction campus of Yarra Valley Community School raising money to support orphans and primary school children in Kariakomo Orphanage in Kenya through the Milking Cow & Goat Project run by the Rotary Club of Healesville.

The students managed the project with one goal, raise as much money as possible to make a difference. The main fundraisers that took place were a sausage sizzle and raffling off a trailer load of wood. They drew the crowds in with the smell of a BBQ and once a sausage had been sold, they tempted the public with a chance to win firewood to keep them warm during winter.

Originally it was hoped that the students would raise enough money to buy a goat or two for the community, but with the money raised they have been able to pay for 5 acres of maize seed to be planted and grown, ensuring that the Kenyan children have a regular supply of food.

The students of YVCS raised over $1000 which is a great achievement and showcases their dedication to this project. To say thank you for all their hard work they were invited to celebratory BBQ hosted by Healesville Rotary, with club members Wilma, Bruce and Don providing a lovely lunch to be enjoyed any all in attendance.

YVCS students enjoyed bacon and egg rolls and sausages and onion on the BBQ. Once the food was all gone, Wilma Best, Project Manager for the Milking Cow & Goat Project, presented the students with a framed certificate of achievement and appreciation.

“The fundraising project has been a great experience for the students, teaching them not only entrepreneurial skills, but helping them to build their social conscience in reaching out to other children in the world, not just in their own backyard.” Willa Vale –  VCAL Foundation Teacher

Well done to all involved! 

To find out more about UYCH youth education services click here or call 1300 835 235