Vocational Education at SFX

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Why Vocational Education?

Vocational education courses are vitally important to students from Years 10 to 12, providing applied learning that is practical, work based and appeals to a diverse range of students.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses in schools are highly valued by students, parents and employers and are perceived by students as adding value to their school participation, their HSC achievement and their preparation for the transition to post-school education, training and work. VET enables students to peruse their gifts and talents while working towards their Year 12 Certificate and preparing to continue study at CIT and / or University, for the world of work, or both.

Expanding opportunities for students to undertake school-based VET courses is a priority for St Francis Xavier College In 2017, St Francis Xavier College and John Paul ll College entered an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) establishing SFX as the RTO for JPC. Vocational qualifications are offered on both campus and we continue to work together to meet the Vocational needs of all our students

SFX has strong connections with CIT. SFX and CIT work collaboratively to deliver training for White card, Asbestos and Working at Heights.

SFX continues to partner with the Canberra Theatre to ensure students wanting to career in Creative Arts have access to industry engagement and Structured workplace learning.

We engage with employers to help ensure training for students is appropriate on an individual basis.

SFX IT students have proved to be formidable RoboCup competitors and have participated with significant success at International level.

Students from the Furniture course have taken out many awards at the Canberra Show, including the Open sections.

These successful partnerships reflect the quality of training being provided at our College.

Over the years the College has celebrated success at the ACT VET Excellence Awards. Students and Staff have regularly make it to the finals and on occasions have won their section.

Vocational courses currently being delivered are:

BSB10115– Certificate I in Business FLYER
ICT10115– Certificate I in Information, Digital Media and Technology FLYER
BSB20115– Certificate II in Business FLYER
CPC20211– Certificate II in Construction Pathways FLYER
MSF10113– Certificate I in Furniture FLYER
SIT10216– Certificate I in Hospitality FLYER
SIT20316 – Certificate II in Hospitality FLYER

Further information on the courses can be found at Training.Gov

REPORT: Australia’s vocational education & training (VET) sector continues to deliver excellent results and outcomes for its students, industry and the economy at large. Nicholas Wyman CEO, Skilling Australia Foundation


Vocational Placements

Vocational placements are more commonly referred to as Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) Students in Years 10 -12 are encouraged to undertake SWL placements as they provide on the job opportunities to apply the skills and knowledge they have gained in the classroom. It is not unusual for students to participate in more than one SWL.

Our staff have many contacts with members of their respective industries and this facilitates excellent opportunities for our students to complete their SWL. SFX Performing Arts teachers have developed strong working relationships with the Canberra Theatre Centre (CTC). St Francis Xavier College and the CTC have developed a program and course work including theoretical practice and classroom learning. The participating students “get involved” under the guidance of the CTC staff in a comprehensive range of performances including the ballet, classic drama, circus, contemporary dance and new Australian theatre.

The Information Technology (IT) staff has strong links with RoboCup on a local, national and international level. Business students are heavily involved in the organisation and running of the RoboCup. The ACT RoboCup Competition takes place at our College as SFX students are responsible for planning and running the event under the guidance of their teacher, Mr Gerard Elias.

Trade Training Centre

In 2012 the Canberra Region Pathways Trade Training Centre was established. St Francis Xavier College along with, St Mary MacKillop College, Merici College, St Clare’s College and Canberra Institute of Technology, make up the consortium. The objectives of the Trade Training Centre (TTC) are to:

  • address local and regional skills shortages in traditional trades and emerging industries by improving the relevance and responsiveness of trade training
  • improve student access to trade training facilities that meet local and regional industry standards
  • improve the quality of schooling offered to secondary students undertaking trade-related pathways in the local communities
  • assist young people in the local community make a successful transition from school to work and further training.

The TTC has been purpose built and is well equipped to deliver construction and  furniture qualifications. Facilities include a computer lab, meeting room, fully functional work room, machinery room, store room and a commercial kitchen.

By providing students with vocational pathways from Year 10, SFX students not only receive quality training but also ‘taste’ the world of work through Structured Workplace Learning opportunities and one-off events. SFX College has hosted ‘Try a Trade Day’ in conjunction with Canberra Institute of Technology and the Canberra World Skills Competition for Construction. One of the SFX World Skills construction participants was placed first and went on to compete in the 2015 National World Skills Competition in Perth.

Construction students have built cubby houses, chicken coups, dog kennels and rabbit hutches, that now can be found in backyards across the ACT and NSW. The high demand for these is testament to the skill level of the students and the quality of construction. Every year furniture items designed and built by students are entered in the Royal Canberra Show Competitions with many prizes being collected. In 2016 a senior student took out first place with his hand-crafted table.

Over the years, Year 10 Introduction to Construction students, under the guidance of their teacher, have donated their time and newly acquired skills to build raised vegetable gardens for our Sustainable garden Marymead and local primary school.  Our Sustainable Garden is also the home of a cubby house and chicken coup that were constructed by Year 11 and 12 students undertaking Certificate ll in Construction Pathways.

In order to assist students to make successful transitions and address stereotypes, SFX executive recently invited a past student who is running her own electrical business to address the College community at an Awards Ceremony. A staff member’s daughter has also shared her journey working as an engineer in the construction industry.

Australian School Based Apprenticeships (ASBAs)

SFX has a successful track record with ASBAs. Generally, ASBAs roll into a full Australian Apprenticeship when the student completes Year 12. Over the years our students have been nominated for and won the ACT Australian School Based Apprentice of the Year. The slide show at the top of this page includes our current ASBA students in their work place.

What is an Australian School-Based Apprenticeship (ASBA)?

An ASBA offers students, 15 years of age or over, the opportunity to achieve a nationally recognised vocational qualification by combining paid work and training as part of their education program.

An ASBA fits within a student’s study program whilst at school and can count toward their ACT Senior Secondary Certificate.

Training is provided by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). This may be the school, CIT or a private provider.

To be eligible for an ACT training contract an ASBA must:

complete a minimum of 11 hours per week and a maximum of 20 hours per week if undertaking a Certificate II qualification. This includes eight hours of work and three hours per week of structured training

complete a minimum of 15 hours per week and a maximum of 20 hours per week if undertaking a Certificate III qualification. This includes 12 hours of work and three hours per week of structured training. 

What are the benefits of an ASBA?

Benefits include:

  • valuable experience that provides pathways to future training and employment
  • receiving, on successful completion, a nationally recognised vocational qualification along with the ACT Senior Secondary Certificate
  • providing students with an opportunity to get a great head start in their career. 

How to get started?

Students need contact the SFX Careers Advisor, VET & Careers Assistant or the VET Coordinator and advise them of their intention to do an ASBA. The SFX Careers Advisor, VET & Careers Assistant or the VET Coordinator will assist the student through the process. This includes helping the student to secure a work experience placement in the relevant field, through to finding an employer and sign off by our Acting Principal Mrs Colleen Rowe.

If students are currently employed, they could discuss the possibility of converting their current job into an ASBA.


Students enrolled in a VET course require a USI number as of January 2015. Certificates and Statements of Attainment cannot be issued to students unless a USI number is provided to the College. Please read the USI fact sheet for more information. USI numbers can be created via the USI web site www.usi.gov.au