Nathalia Secondary College Trade Training Centre

Year: 2011 - 2013

This has been a Community project from its inception.  The initial Commonwealth funding application was made by a consortium of three Schools including Nathalia Secondary College (NSC) and St Mary of the Angels (lead school), both in Nathalia, and St Augustines in Kyabram.  Together, these schools now provide Trade opportunities to the region’s youth, with pathways to further education in Carpentry/Joinery, Hairdressing, Automotive, Hospitality, Engineering and Electrical Services.  This enables local youth to remain in their home school environment while pursuing diverse education choices.

At the individual school level, the NSC process involved the College leadership team, School Council, Teachers (presentations at staff meetings), canteen staff, detailed briefing and review with carpentry teachers, and consultation with GOTAFE in Shepparton.  Including reviews with GOTAFE through the design process gave NSC confidence that their facilities provided a professional environment that would facilitate the student’s transition to further training.

Providing safe learning environments was paramount.  Spaces which provide excellent sight lines for supervision, and which encourage safe and responsible behaviours by students are critical to the training of secondary school students in a semi-professional and potentially dangerous environment.  Location of the Staff Office at the centre of the Carpentry plan is a critical part of facilitating the College’s duty of care in this regard, as is the extensive glazing and low walls between work spaces.  Separate spaces for seminar, practical workshop and equipment room further supports teachers in the safe instruction and supervision of tasks. 

The exposed timber structure and plywood internal wall linings puts timber on show to inspire and be a constant example to the Carpentry students.

Limited space in the hairdressing facility inspired customised benches that transform from seminar desks to hairdressing workstations, including a mirror and magazine bench.  In every possible way, these spaces reflect professional practice and have been adopted with pride.