Yarrawonga Catholic schools score double win 

A LANDMARK day for Catholic education at Yarrawonga yesterday saw the formal opening of trades training centres at Sacred Heart College and a new campus for Sacred Heart Primary School.

They were blessed by the Bishop of Sandhurst, Bishop Les Tomlinson.

The college, which has more than 270 students, received a $980,000 federal grant for the project.

Opening the centres, member for Murray Dr Sharman Stone said trade training in schools broke down gender barriers and gave students the chance to explore their options.

“Young men can see how they can make a great contribution to the health sector and women are able to see what great ideas and skills they can offer engineering,” she said.

There had been a real “dumbing down” of technical education and distinctions between trade skills and academic skills were blurred.

“They are equally as important,” she said.

“The agricultural industry workforce is aging and we need the renaissance of trade services to encourage people to enter into those types of industries.”

Sacred Heart College principal Lew Nagle said the allied health and engineering trade centres encouraged students to think about their future.

“We have a career action plan for each child and when they’re in year 7 we look at what they’re interested in,” he said.

“If we can direct them on to a pathway it shows hope and optimism for the future.”

Student Abbey Lawless is in her second year studying a Certificate III in allied health.

“It’s more practical than any other subject and gets you away from the classes that are theoretical,” she said.

“What we learn is really helpful for everyday life as well, if we see a person needing help we can offer them that.”

The primary school campus, with about 400 students, was also officially blessed and opened, after being built with $2.48 million federal funds and $290,000 from the school.

For two years the school has been split over two locations while waiting for construction to finish.

A Christian cross was unveiled outside to ind-icate it is a faith-based school.

Principal Paul Maher said: “Before you’d drive past and it looked like any other school with balls and courts and teachers.”

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