VACSAL’s RTO held the 8th graduation ceremony for the class of 2021 on the 11th February 2022. Twenty two graduates completed VACSAL’s Certificate IV in Community Services, eleven students completed the Diploma of Community Services and four completed the Diploma of Community Services (Statutory and Forensic Child, Youth and Family Welfare) VACSAL recognises the enormous commitment these 37 students and their families have made. These remarkable 37 students faced enormous challenges due to the impacts of COVID-19. There were approximately 150 guests (including VIP’s) who came to witness their family and community member’s success in completing their qualifications. Some guests and graduates zoomed in and were seen on the big screen feeling like they were right there with us. The atmosphere was extremely positive with lots of optimism for the future. The students who completed their community services qualifications are extremely keen to maintain or access employment in the community services sector so they can support their communities – an admirable and meaningful career journey. It was the first time VACSAL delivered the Diploma of Community Services (both streams) from our scope. This was a proud moment for the whole of organisation and the RTO. VACSAL would like to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of each and every one of the 2021 graduates. We believe an extra congratulations and admiration for the graduates is in order for this year as they adapted to the impacts of COVID-19 and on-line zoom delivery. Their achievement is a testimony to what one can achieve through perseverance, commitment, passion and resilience.

Dr Alf Bamblett’s determination to become a quality RTO is highly regarded by the community who have started and/or completed part of their educational journey with VACSAL. His legacy continues to inspire his community, staff and students alike. His dream was to ensure cultural integrity was at the heart of every learning journey and this has been an instrumental factor to the success of the program.

Robert Bamblett played the didgeridoo as he led the procession of students into the function room and provided a half time performance. He did an amazing job and was one of the highlights of the night. Melinda Eason (RTO manager and lead trainer/assessor) MC’d the evening. Linda Bamblett (VACSAL’s CEO) provided the opening speech at the graduation and thanked Melinda Eason, Josh Wanganeen, Leah Seeto, Fiona McLean, Maria Georgiou and Michelle Dunscombe (the RTO team) for their hard work and dedication. She also recognised their resilience and creativity to adapt to the changes required to deal with the COVID-19 restrictions. Lucas Price, VACSAL’s 2021 Certificate IV in Community Services student, winner of the leadership and mentor award and Victorian Koorie student of the year, zoomed in and provided the ‘address to the graduands’. Lucas delivered an inspirational speech that encouraged the students to continue their educational journey. A very special thanks to VACSAL staff who supported the RTO team with setting up the room and preparing food for the event.

VACSAL sponsored several educational awards in recognition of particular student’s outstanding achievements. They are as follows:

Linda Bamblett presented the ‘Student Leadership Award’. VACSAL’s Student Leadership Award recognises students for their leadership ability and outstanding educational and professional achievements. These recipients have demonstrated a passion for learning, generosity in sharing knowledge, a commitment to the industry and dedication to their community. This award acknowledges and thanks these recipients for inspiring and improving the quality of the student experience. Congratulations Edward Bryant (Certificate IV in Community Services) and Uncle Maxwell Atkinson (Diploma of Community Services).

The ‘Dr Alf Bamblett Achievement Award’ was awarded to Jason Smith (Certificate IV in Community Services) by Linda Bamblett. This award recognises a student who has demonstrated immense resilience and self-determination to complete their qualification. This student has overcome barriers and achieved outstanding educational success. Jason Smith proved to us all that dedication can overcome all obstacles. He is passionate, kind, generous and resilient.

The ‘Aunty Bunta Patten Achievement Award’ was awarded to Natasha O’Donnell (Diploma of Community Services) and Tamara Taylor (Certificate IV in Community Services). This award recognises students who have shown enormous resilience and demonstrated self-motivation despite challenging barriers and achieved educational success. Tamara and Natasha are deserving recipients.
Edward Bryant (Certificate IV in Community Services) and Lindsay Bryant (Diploma of Community Services) provided the final word on behalf of the students. They shared their thoughts on the success of the program and thanked the trainers/assessors and class mates for their commitment and support. They acknowledged how challenging the impacts of COVID-19 was on their lives and of those around them. It was, without a doubt, a very difficult time globally and nationally with Victoria locking down for many months of their learning journey. They both confirmed the importance of having an Aboriginal controlled training provider and how comfortable they felt as students knowing that culturally integrity would be at the heart of their educational journey. On behalf of VACSAL, we congratulate all students on their excellent success and wish them well in their future endeavours.

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