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.

The best way to get the job is to get the qualification

Choosing a career and getting an education is the first step to finding that perfect job. Georgia Brown a former Cire student in Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (above centre) made a decision to postpone her teaching degree in order to take some time and reevaluate her career choice. Having aspirations to become a teacher Georgia looked into other educational career options.

“I have always had an interest in educating others and the thought of being there in the beginning, when a child starts their learning journey really appealed to me.” Georgia

Making the decision to make the change came easy after that. Enrolling at Cire Training was the first step to achieving her career goal. The advice and support given by her trainer Anja Laukart (above left) provided her with the skills and confidence required to go out and successfully gain employment in the industry. A valuable part of the qualification is the work placement. A Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care requires 180 hours of work placement. This component of the course gave Georgia real life hands on experience which ultimately led to her successfully gaining a permanent position at Community Kids Early Education Centre in Chirnside Park.

“I have been lucky enough to have been offered permanent work through practical placement, which has been incredibly rewarding. I was able to walk into my placement with the appropriate knowledge and skills needed for the job with the added bonus of already knowing my manager and peers. This made the process much easier.” Georgia

Georgia’s career goal is to obtain her Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care and maybe even go further and someday be a centre manager, who knows? But for now she is working in an industry she loves and by the sounds of it she is doing really well.

“Georgia is naturally at ease in this role. She works really well with the children, her peers and the families. Overall she is a great addition to the team and is very passionate when it comes to working with children.” Sarah (above right) – Centre Manager and Bec (not photographed) – Educational Leader

We thought it would be appropriate to complete this good news story with a final comment from Georgia.

“As a whole I thoroughly enjoyed my course and the result of getting a job I love has made the experience absolutely wonderful.”

If you have enjoyed this article and would like to know more about the industry, courses and career options click here or call 1300 835 235.

Cire would like to thank Sarah and Bec for allowing us to visit Georgia’s workplace to conduct this interview.

From Cire to Deakin – Corey’s Journey

On Monday 21st of June, one of the students from Cire Community School was presented with the award for Most Outstanding Senior VCAL Student in 2015 at a ceremony at Federation Square.  The award was presented to Corey Everitt by the Hon. James Merlino (above image) in front of a big crowd including staff from Cire Community School and Corey’s parents.  Corey said of his time at Cire that

“it was probably the most significant period in my life thus far. Both for its hardship and reward.”

Corey began his journey at Cire Community School in 2014 after being disengaged from education for more than 12 months before beginning his VCAL studies. He engaged well with his teachers while completing his Intermediate VCAL but had a lot of ups and downs as he battled through some personal issues.   Benefitting from the supportive environment at school where staff and students showed patience in trying to engage him into the program.  Corey recently reflected that

“It’s a common to look down on the VCAL program, mainly for its attraction of people who have yet to engage in their studies or apply themselves. However what some don’t see is that the program gives freedom for active students to prosper and succeed and also an alternative for the few who just need a helping hand for where they want to go.”

Commencing Senior VCAL in 2015 Corey began the year very slowly and was not a very productive member of the class, but the students and staff at Cire Community School continued to support him.  At the beginning of term 2, Corey decided to participate in an activity day called “Super Awesome Fun Day” where students worked in small groups to complete challenges.  After that day, Corey slowly built his confidence in social interactions and began producing some written work.

The change over the course of term 2 was dramatic. He became a highly engaged member of the classroom and worked well with others on a couple of community projects.  He led a photography project where students worked with residents at an aged care home to create a documentary about their lives.  Corey also helped lead a landscaping project where students mowed lawns and did basic landscaping for elderly and disabled members of the local community.

By the start of term 3, Corey was a leading member of the Senior VCAL class.  He expressed an interest in pursuing a career in writing.  Corey’s teacher challenged him to write well beyond the required standard to meet his Senior VCAL outcomes.  We also began the process of looking into university pathways.  Corey wrote extended pieces on mental health, climate change, euthanasia, the character strength of grit and wrote an excellent short story about artificial intelligence. He conducted presentations to the class on topics such as his future career goals with the aim to help fellow class mates.

Corey’s transformation from being disengaged to becoming a hard working and high achieving student was a pleasure to be a part of.  The extent of his achievement was confirmed at the Cire Christmas party where Corey presented in front of over 50 staff and shared his story.  It was a great moment to witness his mother’s pride at seeing him give such a passionate speech to this group and receive such a positive reaction from the audience.

Corey is currently studying a Diploma in Media and Communication at Deakin University.  He hopes to continue studying at Deakin and begin his Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) in 2017.  Corey has made an excellent start to his higher education with good grades across the board.

“The transformation I went through from an absent and reclusive kid to an inspired student who avidly applied himself to school and the community, was a pretty substantial change, unbeknown to me it was supposedly significant enough for a group of judges to think I deserve such an award. Must have been a slow year in student achievements.”

Despite his humility, Corey’s character development and determination to improve himself make him a well deserving recipient of this award.  Corey has developed the confidence and resilience required to set himself up for success at university and life.

From all of us at Cire Services we would like to congratulate Corey on this incredible achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

For further details on Cire Community School VCAL programs click here.

Wheelchair basketball to celebrate NYW

On Friday the 15th April students from Mt Evelyn and Yarra Junction Yarra Valley Community School (YVCS) campuses participated in a Wheelchair Basketball workshop funded by the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments for National Youth Week (NYW).

The workshop was supported and organised by Alice Hammond from Basketball Victoria. Alice arranged for Shelly Chaplin to run the workshop for both groups.

Students completed a tour of the 2 year old State Basketball Centre in Wantirna South prior to starting the workshop. The facility will have an additional 6 Courts in the years to come. One of the Courts can seat 1500 spectators.

Shelly introduced herself to the students and explained how she came to be in a wheelchair and to play basketball. Shelly stated

“I couldn’t make a goal the first time I tried, it took a few years to build up”. The athletes undertake a lot of shoulder work and regularly participate in rehabilitation programs to support their bodies”.

When asked what Shelly finds the most enlightening in running workshops she replied

“Seeing all the able bodied people get in the chairs and seeing it bring them all to the same level of ability”.

About Shelly

Shelley Chaplin (born 4 September 1984) is an Australian 3.5-point player wheelchair basketball player. She participated in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, where she won a silver medal; in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, where she won a bronze medal, and the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, where she won a second silver medal.

Chaplin began playing wheelchair basketball in 1999, and made her debut in the BL championship Dandenong Ranges sides in 2011 and 2012. She was first selected for the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders, in 2001, and first represented Australia in 2002, winning a bronze medal as part of the team at the 2002 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship. She played for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign wheelchair basketball team, and was named an All-American in the 2006/07 season. Her team won the national championships in 2009.

The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience, here is what some of them had to say.

“Shelly was very inspirational” – Bec

“I am determined to get a Three today” – Todd

“It was good, it was hard” – Corey

“It was so hard” – Landon

“It was a great experience for both students and staff, thanks –  Mark Hunt VCAL Coordinator

About National Youth Week

NYW is an annual, week long celebration of young people (aged 12-25) throughout Australia. A time to celebrate and recognise the value of all young Australians to their communities. NYW is the largest celebration of young people on the Australian youth calendar.

It is a joint initiative of the Australian, State, Territory and Local Governments. It gives you an opportunity to express your ideas and views, and act on issues that affect your lives. It also lets you have a lot of fun.

YVCS received a grant as part of this program which funded our wheelchair basketball workshop.

We would like to thank all the people involved in making the day a success, this includes Shelley Chaplin, The State Basketball Centre, Alice Hammond (Basketball Victoria) and the Victorian Government for their support and help in organising this event.


Keith’s Story – passing year 12

Prior to attending Yarra Valley Community School (YVCS) I was in mainstream schooling. At that school I only got along with three teachers and a handful of students. I used to get bullied there and the teachers wouldn’t help me when I asked.
In year 10 I came to YVCS, which gave me a chance to start over and grow. I was nervous at the start but what made it easier was that I had been doing my automotive certificate there so I already knew a couple of kids which was helpful.

In the beginning I lacked so much motivation and it wasn’t until the 2nd year that I realised that you can’t just mess around because the work won’t get done by itself.
I feel like I really matured at this point. YVCS helped me grow and it provided with a place to be safe and be away from the negative things that I encountered at mainstream school.

Around this time my dad kicked me out of his house and this school gave me all the support I needed.
This was the motivation I needed to make change in my life for the better. In making that change I passed year 12 which I think will make a huge impact on my life. I knuckled down and did so much work that I didn’t even believe I could achieve when I started. It was great to have my teachers believe in me and keep pushing me.
Even though I had a rough year, I think it’s one of the best years I have had at any school. I also feel like I have contributed to something. I thank the whole school for helping me grow. I learned things that I wouldn’t have learnt anywhere else. They gave me a place to be safe and to be myself.

Keith’s story is just one of many that the Yarra Valley Community School has inspired. If you would like to know more about our youth education services and VCAL programs click here.