Hittin' the road - Episode 6: Wollongong / Wollongong West

"TAFE is you. TAFE is me. TAFE is us. TAFE is a big step up for everyone in the community"

Wollongong TAFE is all about Community Services. Well... that's a part of the Wollongong story. Wollongong TAFE is the largest Campus in the entire Illawarra Institute and it caters for a very large collection of industries. But today, we caught up with the Diploma of Community Services students.

One of the students, Josh, let me sit in on his presentation for their community development project. This was all about repositioning TAFE as an important and effective education provider with a distinct point of difference from university and private colleges.

Through his research and first hand community experience, Josh explained just how connected Wollongong TAFE (and all of Illawarra Institute) is to the local industry and community. Just about everywhere you look, TAFE is there. Buildings, mines, your local bakery, service industries, the local publican... you name it... TAFE influences pretty much everything. Having already been to uni, Josh showed his passion for TAFE as an integral part of his professional development. His time spent so far in the Diploma of Community Services had given him the practical experience that he couldn't get anywhere else.

It was very encouraging to hear that men outnumber women in terms of enrolments in the Certificate III Community Services course, which has traditionally been dominated by women. And Josh's final word on the matter? "TAFE is you. TAFE is me. TAFE is us. TAFE is a big step up for everyone in the community". That deserves a fist bump bro... word!

While in the Gong I also paid a visit to Wollongong West TAFE Campus, which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Wollongong Campus. You'll get fit studying here... the place has many steps. Good workouts for the glutes and hamstrings. Fortunately, it also has plenty of on-site sustenance to fuel your muscles.

The 1st year apprentice butchers certainly have the skills in preparing meat. Rolled lamb roast, sausages of all flavours and sizes, and of course the famous hamburger patty machine. See, that's the thing with TAFE... by the time students hit the workforce, they have all the practical skills they need. Pretty much all of the on-the-job training is done. The customers at a local Wollongong butcher probably have no idea that their sausages were made by the local TAFE students.

And we can't forget Hairdressing. Hair & Beauty is a massive industry. The apprentice hairdressers practise on mannequins and occasionally real people.

I volunteered my own head for the greater good. But as talented and creative as the apprentice hairdressers are, there were just no magic skills in the world that could help this head. Oh well. At least I provided a valuable training opportunity for them – what to do with a problem client. But don't let that deter you... if you're willing to let these talented students give you a pretty spectacular "do"...get in touch with the Hair & Beauty school on (02) 4222 2850 for hair bookings, or (02) 4222 2974 for beauty treatments.

Well, that wraps up our inaugural Road Trip series for Illawarra Institute. All in all, it's a fantastic place to study and get your job skills in order for you chosen career.

Watch this space for the next road trip through the next Institute.