Collaboration between TAFE NSW Broken Hill and Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation has resulted in the development of a new literacy program for people participating in a Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) at Wilcannia.
The program provides participants with access to a specialist literacy teacher, Jenny Thwaites (who lives at Wilcannia) while working on their current CDEP projects and completing TAFE Certificates in Welding and Carpentry.
Spokesperson for the program, Susan McDonald, Teacher-In-Charge of Access and General Education programs at Broken Hill TAFE College, says she is excited about the opportunity to offer the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLNP) to Wilcannia CDEP participants.
"Our goal is to teach literacy skills that will help people gain employment. In this program the literacy support is incorporated with training in a work environment so students will learn literacy skills that are relevant and meaningful to the workplace."
Eunice Kendell, CDEP Manager at Wilcannia, agrees. "The main aim of CDEP is to help participants receive the training they need to move on to mainstream employment. The participants will benefit greatly from this kind of specialist educational support."
Under the careful instruction of TAFE teachers, Clayton Spencer (Carpentry and Joinery) and Darren Hurley (Metal Fabrication) the participants are learning carpentry and welding skills as they construct crosses for the many unmarked graves at Wilcannia Cemetery.
Darren Hurley is impressed with the results of students work on the project. "Through this program, eight students have completed units of competency toward a Certificate 3 in Engineering- Mechanical Trade. Student's skills and knowledge were assessed with ‘On the job training and production' which gives them a greater sense of achievement and pride in their work."
Chairperson of Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation, William Bates, explained that a grant of $14,000 was received to construct the markers. Murdi Paaki and TAFE are working with the local Shire Council on the project. Thirty crosses have already been completed and 25 graves marked.
Clayton Spencer said, "It's a great thing for the community. Participants are putting something back into the community. They are proud of what they are doing and are learning new life and work skills.
"It also means that people will now be able to visit the grave sites of relatives and friends because they'll know where they are buried."
One of the participants, Robert Kerwin agrees "It's good to be able to learn new things and help the community", he said.
Literacy teacher, Jenny Thwaites, who has extensive experience developing and implementing literacy programs, is pleased to go on site with the participants and assist them with theory and the written component of their learning. "My experience has shown that this is the best way for people to learn" she said.In the meantime, Susan McDonald is delighted to have Jenny Thwaites on-board enabling TAFE to offer literacy and numeracy support in all courses offered at Wilcannia.