All young people in our communities are provided opportunities to successfully engage in education, training or employment.

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The Highlands LLEN was proud to have organised the 2014 Flexible Learning Forum with the support of School Focused Youth Service.

The Flexible Learning Forum was held at Sovereign Hill on the 4th of December with a estimated attendance of 120, the day included tips and tricks which focuses on three core themes:



Sam Hasell

Sam Hasell is a slam poet, rapper and a member of your karass. He's performed in his unique style of word-smithery across the country, from Melbourne Town Hall to the Sydney Opera House, spreading his messages of imperfection, youthful tomfoolery and the teenage experience, creating an atmosphere where, as he puts it, "'you remember that you too were once fifteen'. Co-curator of Pipe Up Poetry Slam, and founder of Youngblood poets, Sam's an up-and-coming figure in the australian poetry scene. It's choodessny chepooka!

Trisha Silvers

In 2004, Trisha survived the tsunami that struck Asia and claimed many lives including that of her husband and AFL footballer, Troy Broadbridge. This led her to set up an Education Centre for tsunami survivors on Thailand's Phi Phi Island and has driven her ongoing commitment to encourage others to make a difference in their lives and that of others less fortunate.

At Reach, Trisha began as a client before progressing into a management role and as she explains has walked in the shoes of many Reach and SKYS participants.

"At 16 I was disengaged from traditional school learning and didn't have a sense of self-worth. I never imagined I'd complete a university degree let alone VCE. I didn't have something like St Kilda Youth Service to connect with and that's why I'm passionate about showing young people there are many more paths they can take," she said.

Completing studies as a mature age student, Trisha holds qualifications in youth work and international development, among others, and has experience across the philanthropic, youth work and government sectors.

Emeritus Professor Terry Lloyd

Professor Terry Lloyd was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Ballarat (now Federation University Australia), in 2001, and served in this role until his retirement in 2012. During this period he concurrently held, at various stages, the positions of Director of UB TAFE, Provost of the University of Ballarat in India, and Head(pro-tem) of the Arts Academy. Previously he held executive positions at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE and Chisholm Institute of TAFE. Preceding his educational appointments, he was Project Administrator/Manager at Australian Volunteers Abroad, co-ordinating and delivering Development Assistance projects in South Asia, South-East Asia, Africa and the Pacific, as well as refugee assistance programs in South-East Asia. Professor Lloyd is a Board member of the Sovereign Hill Museums Association, and has just completed a two year term as Board President. He has been, and remains, a member of various boards, committees and working parties in Ballarat and its regions related to education, employment, tourism, manufacturing and community development.

Jannine Bennett

Jannine began her career as an English and Social Studies teacher at Geelong East Technical School, a school of about a 1,000 boys back in the 1970s. Fifteen years later when she left to become a mum, she was also teaching Group 2 Psychology and had been involved in designing the new VCE Psychology subject. Time off as a mum enabled her to co-author a year 11 VCE Psychology textbook. Her next move was to Gordon TAFE in Geelong where she taught Psychology and Communication Skills subjects, then managed VET in Schools in its early days before becoming the Senior Manager for Student Services. Jannine then moved to Ballarat to head up the new UB Tec in 2008, an alternative education setting for year 11 and 12 students who wished to focus on VCAL and vocational studies. In 2013 she became the EO of Highlands LLEN, this enabled her to utilise skills developed over a long career.

Joel Radcliffe

Joel Radcliffe is an educator and advocate who is currently employed at La Trobe University as the Senior Project Officer for Safe Schools Coalition Victoria (SSCV). He has worked for several years as an English, Drama and ESL teacher, and has significant experience delivering education, training, resources and professional support across a diverse range of teaching and learning environments. Currently, SSCV works with over 150 Victorian schools to create safer and more inclusive learning environments for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse young people. Joel is deeply committed to supporting sexual and gender diversity in schools and
thoroughly enjoys his work with students, teachers and families to help them become empowered and active agents in this process.

"Safe Schools Coalition Victoria: Supporting Gender Diversity and Sexual Diversity in Schools"

One of the major factors impacting on the mental health and wellbeing of same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse (SSAIGD) young people is systemic discrimination within schools. This includes not only more overt forms of homophobic and transphobic abuse but also a lack of understanding on the part of educators of the lived experiences and needs of this population.

This brief presentation will draw on key evidence from leading national research, and the practice wisdom of the coalition, to discuss the ways in which schools can build safer and more inclusive learning environments for SSAIGD young people.

Ben Gillett

Hi my name is Ben, I hold the position of centre manager at headspace Ballarat. I am a qualified Mental health Occupational therapist, and since graduation have worked in public mental health. I have many years' experience in working with youth with a serious mental illness and am particularly passionate about early intervention and preventative health services for youth. My current role allows me to network and form partnerships with community organisations and other services to better meet the health needs of youth in the Grampians region. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to influence and drive service delivery from an organisational level, while having the opportunity to work directly with young people and their families to facilitate engagement with headspace Ballarat and foster a positive experience.

Karen Brodie

Karen Brodie has a Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Advanced Social Work. Karen has worked in the education, disability and health sectors. For the past 7 years Karen has focused her practice on becoming trauma informed and developing skills to work with individuals who have experienced childhood trauma. Karen currently works at Bloomsbury House providing counselling to young people aged 12-25 years most who have experience significant trauma.

Chloe Hand

Chloe Hand began working with young people disengaged from education in the United Kingdom in a school that had been established to work with young offenders returning to the community. This school highlighted to Chloe the many deficits that currently existed for young people exiting detention or those who had been severely disengaged from education and/or the community. Chloe returned to Australia with the goal to continue to work with young people that faced many barriers to returning to education and started her position at Berry Street seeking educational options for statutory clients. Through out her time at Berry Street, Chloe worked across many programs that provided educational opportunities for disengaged young people, including a partnership with Brendan Murray and Josie Howie at The Pavilion School. Chloe left Berry Street in late 2011 to begin her position as Head of Campus, St. Joseph's Flexible Learning Centre. St. Joseph's Flexible Learning Centre has since grown into a school that works with over 300 young people who have significant barriers to engaging successful in education and the community.

Short Description of the School:
St. Joseph's Flexible Learning Centre offers various learning program options that have been developed in direct response to the needs of each individual young person. Working with an understanding that young people who have been previously disengaged from education have differing needs and expectations, we will discuss the different options within our program and the reasons that the various programs have been developed.

Short Description of our Organisation:
St. Joseph's Flexible Learning Centre is part of Youth +, a national organisation responding to the needs of young people in our communities. Accredited flexible education services provide young people with an opportunity to re-engage in education in a supported learning environment. St. Joseph's Flexible Learning Centre uses the following principles to guide how the group works together: Respect, Safe and Legal, Safe and Legal, Participation, Honesty. The principles are used by young people and staff to encourage and negotiate learning, build personal relationships and to resolve conflict.

Johanna Wyn

Professor Johanna Wyn is Director of the Youth Research Centre in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne, Australia and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia.Her work focuses on young people's learning and wellbeing, on their transitions and on what kinds of knowledge and skills professionals who work with young people in these settings need in the 21st Century.

uilding Futures for Young Australians at Risk"

Johanna Wyn from the Youth Research Centre will pass on the findings and recommendations of the Building Futures for Young Australians at Risk research project. Funded by the Australian Research Council, this project involves a collaboration between researchers at The University of Melbourne and Social Ventures Australia, Dusseldorp Forum, Beacon Foundation, Hands on Learning, Foundation for Young Australians and the Southern Ethnic Advisory and Advocacy Council.It focuses on programs that keep young people who are at risk of being disengaged, connected to learning, and aims to build a community of practice around more effective measures of programs and student outcomes. Research with the participating programs identified positive relationships as a core element contributing to successful outcomes, a dimension that tends to be overlooked in conventional measures. The use of an informatic platform has enabled the project to build the proof of concept of a community of practice that enables the identification of common (and ultimately shared) measures of program processes and student outcomes, as well as information about programs and their existing evidence bases.


Kitty Te Riele

Kitty te Riele is Principal Research Fellow at The Victoria Institute at Victoria University, Melbourne. The Victoria Institute focuses on research that supports socially inclusive practice in education.Kitty's research has a particular focus on 'alternative', 'second chance' or 'flexible' learning programs that support marginalised young people to gain a school credential. She is working on several projects that explore how such programs work, and how they can benefit both young people and society.

t the conference, Kitty will provide information relevant to practitioners from a recently completed project, which was supported by the Ian Potter Foundation, Dusseldorp Forum, and The Victoria Institute.


Sam Hambrook

Hello I am Sam. I am 22 and I am a proud young mother of two beautiful children - 5 year old Ricki and 4 year old Izabella.
I am a former student of a Government School but finished my Year 11 and 12 at the Federation University - Fed College.
Although I don't regret my decisions in life, in hindsight I probably would have waited to become a mum.
I am now embarking on a journey to help young people like me understand the implications of having un-safe and contraception-free sex. We know most young people don't feel comfortable talking to their parents about sex so maybe talking to me will help.
My goal is to help educate teens in my community by joining forces with other youth services and sharing stories of my parenting journey.
I am now attending Federation University and studying a Bachelor of Arts in Rural Social Work and am really looking forward to a break.

Bayden Furness

As a child, I moved around a lot. I went to four different primary schools and two high schools before leaving during Year 9 to become my family's carer.

I hope to go to Uni to study to become a Youth Counsellor or Youth Worker, because of my past experience, and because it feels right in my gut. My advice to other young people; Look for opportunities, and take them! Close your eyes, don't think, and jump (not literally!!)


Bryon Powell

Bryon is a proud Wadawurrung Traditional Owner and Elder who is passionate about his culture and history.


For more information contact:

Brendan O'Connell
Partnership Broker - Team Leader
Brendan O'Connell

03 5336 5010

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