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The rubber hits the road for TAFE NSW students

As work experience goes, it doesn't get much more exciting than helping out at a V8 Supercar race

The TAFE system is renowned for the emphasis it places on having students undertake enriching work experience in the real world. And it doesn't get much more real than being part of an event in which race cars careen around a track at incredible speeds and where the smallest mistake can have serious consequences.

TAFE NSW automotive apprentices have been proud supporters of the Sydney Telstra 500 since it was launched back in 2009. And for the last four years, TAFE students enrolled in automotive, commercial cookery, events management, hospitality services and media courses have volunteered at the event, playing a crucial role in making sure everything goes off without a hitch.

Forty students from TAFEs all across NSW converged on Sydney Olympic Park from Friday December 2nd to Sunday December 4th last year to put classroom theory into practice in the context of a large-scale commercial event (with the reassurance of having a number of TAFE teachers on hand to provide support and mentoring).

Mohamed Ghazzaoui, who is studying at South Western Sydney Institute, Granville Campus, and who worked with the Ford Performance Racing Team, had this to say about the experience he gained:

Volunteering at V8 Supercars allowed me to apply much that I've learnt in Certificate III Automotive Refinishing Technology and see it all in action

Alison Kelly-Ng, who is studying a Diploma of Event Management at Hunter Institute, Ourimbah Campus, and who worked in the scrutineering team ensuring the safety compliance of vehicles, was similarly upbeat about getting the chance to shine outside of a classroom:

[quote]Everything we've been learning at TAFE has become real at this large event[/quote]

The Sydney Telstra 500 is yet another example of TAFE providing employers with an opportunity to see TAFE NSW students in action and, if they are impressed, recruit them for paid, full-time positions.

Carl Tinsley is an automotive teacher from South Western Sydney Institute, Granville Campus. He attended the event to supervise students and said,

It was great to see so many TAFE NSW students engaged with the motor sport industry. [It's] a great example of TAFE NSW working with industries