Passionate TAFE NSW Head Teacher, Jennifer Polk, was recently announced a recipient of a prestigious Premier’s Teacher Scholarship at a gala event at The Mint in Sydney acknowledging her initiative and dedication.
Ms Polk, Head Teacher of the Bathurst, Cowra and Grenfell Career Pathways and Employability Skills faculty, impressed judges with her application “Breaking the Cycle – The role of TAFE NSW in lowering youth unemployment and re-engaging those classified as NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training)”.
TAFE NSW Relieving Regional General Manager, Adam Bennett, said this was a wonderful achievement for Jennifer and one that will benefit TAFE NSW students across the region.
“The Premier’s scholarship program enables NSW teachers from government and non-government schools and TAFE NSW to undertake a five-week international study tour, visiting some of the world’s best institutions and centres of learning to consult experts and observe exemplary practices related to a specific aspect of their curriculum,” he said.
“Ms Polk is committed to her students and the scholarship will enable her to be at the forefront of new and better ways to teach ultimately benefiting her staff to help prepare students for their employment future.”
Ms Polk plans to travel to Iceland, Finland in March 2019. While undertaking her research, Ms Polk found Iceland has one of the lowest percentages of youth unemployment.
“It is a tremendous honour to represent TAFE NSW and I am really excited to meet with those who are actively engaged in this field either through research, program designers or those working one-on-one with youth,” Ms Polk said.
“Finland has created ‘one-stop guidance shops’ which provide employment and career guidance in addition to educational, finance and health advice. Specialists offer one-on-one or group counselling supports for those under the age of 30. I hope to visit several centres and spend time with those who work there and meet those who are taking advantage of these services.
“Every day I come across students who struggle to gain full-time, sustained employment. This may be due to economic or educational disadvantage, mental health issues, language barriers or early school leaving. As a result of the scholarship, I hope to be able to implement new programs to help students become job-ready.”