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The Education Pathway, but which path?


“Me fail English, that umpossible”. These are the words of the animated character Ralph Wiggum from the TV series The Simpsons. I would often joke, and quote this in high school as I was not, in any way, a good English student. Humor was a way that I was able to redirected people from laughing at me to laughing with me, or so I thought. It’s clear that the “main” path of education is by completing year 12 VCE and going onto university. As soon as your step off that path you’re lost. “I stepped off the path”.

As Michael Absalom from the Jobs and Skills Centre pointed out, why is it if you don’t finish year 12 VCE and want to go to university you’re on an “alternative” path? Why is VCAL, TAFE or a fantastic and supportive school like WAVE school the “alternative”? Am I a lesser person because I did not take the main path? This is what kids like me hear and feel when these types of pathways are talked about as the alternative or lesser option.

We are told time and time again to get a good job we need to finish Year 12 VCE and go to University. We know from both Andrew Hardiman, Jobs, Skills & Pathways Manager – Department of Education and Training and previous speaker Simon Kuestenmacher, a Top 50 Demographer in the world, that those who do complete Year 12 VCE and go on to complete a university degree will have a higher income, but does this necessarily coincide to happiness or work life balance?

The Senior Secondary Schooling Pathway Reform is well underway and working towards ensuring all students have equal access and every opportunity to reach their potential taking the best path for them.

The complexity of the education system and how to navigate it is a difficult conversation, but a conversation we all should be having.

We would like to thank our passionate and informative speakers at the Skilling our Region for the Future program day, Kate Roache – Executive Officer Beyond the Bell, Damien Farley – Principal WAVE school, with former WAVE students Kree Square and Monique English, Michael Absalom – Careers Practitioner – Skills & Job Centre and Andrew Hardiman – Jobs, Skills & Pathways Manager – Department of Education and Training.

Lynden Brown, 2021 Program Participants


New leader for Food Share


LGSC Media Release 24 August 2021

After nine years at the helm of Leadership Great South Coast (LGSC), Amanda Hennessy has this week announced she is taking up a new challenge as Warrnambool and District Food Share’s new Executive Officer.

Ms Hennessy will remain in the LGSC Executive Officer role part-time until the end of 2021, splitting her time between the two organisations.

In 2022, she plans to step up her volunteer involvement with start-up Loved & Shared – a not-for-profit organisation based on the highly successful St Kilda Mums model.

LGSC Board Chair Karen Foster said Amanda had been instrumental in shaping the regional leadership program since its inception nine years ago.

“In her time as our Executive Officer, Amanda has built and shaped the program into a truly life-changing experience for the more than 150 leaders who have thus far graduated from Leadership Great South Coast,” Ms Foster said.

“We are in the strong position we are today in no small part due to her professionalism, her drive and her complete dedication to her work.

“Amanda will be greatly missed, but our Board also appreciates that this is an exciting opportunity for her to continue with her influential community work.”

Ms Hennessy said she was excited to take up the challenge of spearheading the increasingly important work of Food Share across the region.

“I am passionate about supporting our region into the Covid-19 recovery phase and I’m looking forward to doing this in my new role at Food Share.”

Ms Hennessy officially steps into the role on September 1. LGSC is set to embark upon a search for her replacement this month.




What Does the Data say about our future?


Data, Data, Data. How do we see our future? Data is not an opinion it is “fact” and when you start to compile the data it starts to tell a story…Simon Kuestenmacher (Top 50 Demographer in the world) explained.  That was until COVID-19 reared its ugly head and then data changed course.

The data tells us people are now moving away from metropolitan Melbourne since it has become easier to work from home. We have higher earning professionals moving to regional towns bringing their skills and higher incomes with them and increasing the local economy.

The data tells us that our immigration rates dropped from 250,000 a year to -70,000 a year as less immigrants are unable to come to Australia for education or employment, and more are returning to their homelands.

These are just two statistics that are very insightful for regional areas, given their significance impact on both housing and employment.

The data shows renting houses becomes less affordable as the regional population grows. The shift of the professional workforce from metropolitan Melbourne also increases house prices. If you are a lower to middle income worker, buying that house, that “Australian dream” is getting further away. It made me think of my children and grandchildren going into the future. What does it hold if we don’t make significant change now? Simon suggests as a region we need to invest in infrastructure, and we need to do it now. This will go a long way to ensure there are no housing shortages in the future.

Immigration! The agriculture sector relies heavily on immigrants in rural areas for milking, farm hands, and fruit and vegetable picking jobs. In some circumstances we have our natural resources going to waste because we haven’t got the manpower in our country to maintain these areas of work. As a region we need to look at how we train our workforce to fill these labour shortages.

Another positive is with the spread of the country’s population the pandemics become less transmissible because we are creating low density living around our country. This should help Governments start to consider infrastructure more seriously, not only in capital cities but around rural and regional areas as well.

This made me think the Leadership Great Southcoast Program is going to be even more valuable going into the future, to be able to help and support the vulnerable in our region is going to be very significant process heading into the future.

A huge thanks you to the all the presenters on another mind opening program day; Simon Kuestenmacher from The Demographics Group, Brendan Rae from Solaris Farms and Charles McElhone from Dairy Australia. These speakers really gave us an insightful look at the economy and the dairy industry from both sides of the fence.


Craig McLeod LGSC Participant 2021


Fearless leadership at the Mid-Year Retreat


“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”. Maya Angelou

As we navigate through COVID and our ever changing environment – it was timely for the leadership team to pause, reflect and assess; to further develop our learning goals and leadership strategies as we near the half way mark of the LGSC program.

It was important for the team to reflect on the lessons learnt thus far, reflect on our own commitment and offer each other the wonderful gift of feedback whilst remaining curious on our journey. Messages which were delivered with compassion, empathy and understanding.

On a person level – I have always struggled with receiving feedback – even when it may be accurate. The moment you hear the words, you naturally become anxious and your mind begins to race and you find yourself in a very uncomfortable and unfamiliar position.  Your first instinct can often be defensive; to deny and justify your position without fully understanding the intent of the messaging.

However, once you have taken the time to dissect what has been delivered, the ability to use the honest empathetic feedback in a constructive manner means that we can learn from our weaknesses because without taking on board a well-intentioned critique, it is difficult to improve. Appropriate feedback, focused on specifics, gives all of us perspective and can open our eyes to things that we may have overlooked or indeed, never considered.

When we are defensive (instead of accepting and implementing change) we run the risk of on missing out on the important message.

It’s imperative to look at the feedback objectively and not emotionally – which can be easier said than done – but it is mark of a good leader and indeed, leadership itself.

Although we have little control over people’s opinion we do have control over how we respond to criticism.

It is important to thank the person for the gift of feedback as it comes from a place of conciliation and gratitude. Be curious about the intentions of the feedback. It will open your mind and build on the feedback to create value.

A big thank you to Corrinne Armour for facilitating the retreat and empowering us to be better leaders. Corrine’s knowledge, passion and continued support is greatly appreciated and has had an impact on us all in our journey.

Ella Credlin – 2021 Program Participant

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