Australian Rural Education Award (AREA) 2011Winner

Principal Brian O’Neill with Prof John Halsey (Sidney Myer Chair, Rural Education and Communities)

Calen District State College, Queensland

Calen is a small rural community about fifty-seven kilometres north of Mackay. The major industry is sugar cane growing along with some small crops and fruit such as bananas and strawberries. The total population of the township is 316. The P-12 school however, has a broader catchment area and an enrolment of 230 students. With no public transport system to mackay and limited access to external training providers, students were disadvantages in terms of seeking employment and apprenticeships. The school has been proactive in providing VET opportunities for students. The Different Strokes, Different Spokes, Different Folk project is one example of these innovative measures.

The Different Strokes, Different Spokes, Different Folk project is in partnership with industry representatives and provides students from years 6-12 with the opportunity to work in a real life environment, obtain recognised vocational training and a nationally recognised credential. To date the project includes two “spokes” or components: Mechanics Matter which introduces students to the mechanical world and diesel fitting; and Radio Rocks which introduces students to the world of radio broadcasting through on-air presenting , station management and administration ands sales and marketing.

Download the CALEN AREA 2011 Presentation.