High School Teachers Tour Visage

Monday, 21 July 2008

Eleven teachers from high schools in the southern metropolitan area recently visited Challenger TAFE’s Visage Fashion Studio in preparation for delivering new textiles courses in upper school next term.

The home economics teachers were from Comet Bay, Warnbro, Mercedes, Santa Maria and Tranby Colleges, Kent Street, Applecross and Hamilton SHS, and Applecross teacher, Sue-Ellen Symons, says the aim of the visit was to research local training opportunities for school students enrolling in the new Materials, Designs and Technology training package.

“The Visage studio’s location in the West End of Fremantle really caught our interest, as it’s in close proximity to a number of local designers and fashion businesses,” she explained.

“With the change in the school leaving age, we have more and more students needing to undertake vocational education opportunities, and the new textiles course could benefit from being run in partnership with the hands-on training facilities on offer at Challenger TAFE.”

Program Manager of Challenger TAFE’s Visage Training Centre for Health and Lifestyle, Andrea Quintal, gave the teachers a run down of the Centre’s many training programs which include beauty, hairdressing, enrolled nursing, massage and sport as well as fashion.

“Our Centre delivers training at our Fremantle and Peel Campuses, as well as our ‘live works’ facilities such as the Visage Beauty Clinic and Visage Fashion Studio in the Fremantle CBD,” she said.

“We currently offer Certificate IV and Diploma fashion courses plus traineeships and VET for Schools qualifications. We also run short ‘taster’ courses which are great way for school students to gain an insight into what is involved in garment-making.”

Andrea also explained how the Visage Fashion Studio was created as a way of de-institutionalising the training environment.

“By emulating a real-life industry studio with pattern-making, cutting and design areas, this facility ‘incubates’ the passions and skills of up-and-coming designers,” she continued.

“The studio is equipped with industrial machines so students learn all the safety considerations of working on this equipment, and so are much better prepared for the expectations of the workplace.”

The small class sizes in the studio mean that the lecturers develop close relationships with the students and the response from students training in the facility since its launch last year has been very positive. This ‘boutique’ focus along with strong links with the local fashion industry including Fremantle designers Love In Tokyo and Ashe means that students have many opportunities to build up useful industry contacts which help the transition into work.

“Our students get involved in many external events and competitions as part of their training including Fremantle High Street Fashion Parade, New Generation Fashion Showcase and Attitude Magazine Emerging Talent Award,” Andrea said.

“This allows them to feel truly embedded in the industry with networks and contacts that will help them establish and promote their careers.

“The fashion parades, in particular, are a great way for them to learn how to troubleshoot problems associated with designing a garment for a major event such as how to reconfigure outfit sizes for different models.”

Schools that take up the offer to partner with Challenger TAFE will be able to have their school’s training materials assessed for meeting current RTO standards; teachers will also be supported in upgrading or updating their skills via the College’s Recognition of Prior Learning assessments.

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