Students taking Tricia Peart's course in fashion design and technology have their eyes set on a career in fashion.
And they're taking their first steps in to the industry while still at school.
Five students from three schools across Ballarat and Beaufort have come together at take a Certificate II in Applied Fashion Design and Technology, with the class coordinated through the Highlands LLEN Vet Cluster.
Teacher Tricia Peart travels up from Geelong's Gordon TAFE to teach the students every Thursday in Ballarat Christian College's Trade Training Centre.
"They learn industrial design, finishing, pattern making, lots of design work, lots of sewing and the usual aspects of work safety, quality standards … and the computer technology that's used in the clothing industry," Ms Peart said.
The benefit of this kind of arrangement is schools might have one or two students interested in fashion, plumbing, or IT and can't accommodate a separate subject, but by clustering together we can offer an incredibly broad range of opportunities.Jannine Bennett
"In the clothing industry there's a lot of working as a team, so we also do a unit called working in a team."
There are students from Ballarat Christian College, Beaufort Secondary College and Ballarat Clarendon College currently enrolled in the course, with more enrolments invited before the course closes in the coming weeks.
"These five are going to have a wow of a time. This is the first time we have piloted the program in Ballarat, but I have 18 in my class running the same course in Geelong," Ms Peart said.
"VET in schools is about delivering vocational and educational training to secondary school students. This course has always been a mixture of schools and it's gorgeous because they don't know each other to start with, and by the end of the year what they create and the friendships they build are wonderful."
The Certificate II course can lead to further study and act as a pathway toward a Certificate IV Advanced Diploma in Clothing.
"This gives them the skills to lead them toward the clothing industry," Ms Peart said.
"Teaching secondary students, they have a different energy to adults. They haven't learned retail or expectations or boundaries and their creativity is amazing."
Highlands LLEN executive officer Jannine Bennett said the cluster program allowed students to follow their passions and decide whether to turn them in to a career.
"The benefit of this kind of arrangement is schools might have one or two students interested in fashion, plumbing, or IT and can't accommodate a separate subject, but by clustering together we can offer an incredibly broad range of opportunities," Ms Bennett said.
"This year we probably have about 520 students that are undertaking VET and all these different programs.
"It's important to provide young people with the opportunity to try a vocational option while still at school. For some kids this will means they will discover this is definitely their passion and they want to pursue it, while other kids will pick up valuable skills and knowledge but decide they want to do something different, which is not necessarily a bad thing."
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