Harlan is studying VCAL Carpentry at Chisholm’s BerwickTEC and has just been accepted into the Fast Track program for 2017, so he can work at his own pace and reduce the time it takes to complete his course.

Chisholm’s VCAL programs are a hands-on option for students in Years 11 and 12 that provide a practical work-related experience, as well as literacy, numeracy and personal skills that are important for life and work. The VCAL is an accredited secondary certificate and is the same qualification delivered at high school.

Harlan has a job as a shopfitter and finds additional employment in construction jobs with his brother, so he needed a course that offered flexibility to fit in with his
busy work schedule.

‘What I like about carpentry is you get to do whole builds from start to finish, so at the end it’s your product,’ says Harlan.

VCAL Carpentry offers a range of English, Maths and personal development subjects at Year 11 and Year 12 levels, plus a pre-apprenticeship in Harlan’s chosen career field – carpentry.

‘I love it! More so cos it’s independent study, if you finish one module, you can keep going on to the next one. You don’t have to work within a structured schedule.
The flexibility is good. If someone wants to work hard and excel, it’s the right course.

‘I knew what the course entailed and where I wanted to go with it. It’s like still doing school but not the same. With the construction it all ties in well, I think it’s great, it doesn’t affect work life.

‘The teachers are great. They have a lot of patience. Berwick TEC also has a good reputation. There is a lot of freedom as an adult learning place with things like work clothes and free dress instead of a uniform. It comes to you as you treat it,’ says Harlan.

After completing his VCAL Carpentry studies, Harlan plans to complete a Certificate IV in Building and Construction and get his builders ticket with the Master Builders Association.

He then plans to start a business or go into partnership in the construction industry.