The Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta has again selected the NSW Training Awards as Training Provider of the Year. At the same time, 10th grade student Ethan Zammit was named the VET in Schools Student of the Year.
A leader in vocational education and training, the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) has 80 schools in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. This includes Ethan’s school, St Mark’s Catholic College (part of the Catholic learning community of St John XXIII Stanhope Gardens).
âThe success of CEDP is due to our people and their commitment,â said CEDP Executive Director Greg Whitby. âTheir passion is passed on to the students. It enables them to find meaning, provide opportunities and fuels their joy in learning.
Greg’s comments garnered praise from the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) with Vocational Education Inspector Catherine Tucker tweeting: âA great way to summarize VET and your students’ experience. Congratulations and well done to your dedicated staff.
CEDP offers VET programs at 26 locations and through the Virtual School of Now and the range of courses give students the freedom to explore many positions and industries that interest them.
âWe are training for the present and the future to meet the demands of the workforce in a rapidly changing world,â said Greg. âOur contribution to the training of young people in West Sydney continues to help the industry in this growing region. It is essential that we provide students with any path and any opportunity to help them achieve their goals in life.
Despite being one of the youngest entrants, Ethan already has an impressive repertoire of VET skills and qualifications. He is considering a career in the entertainment industry.
âThe NSW Training Awards have been an amazing experience and something that I am so proud and honored to have been a part of,â said Ethan. âIt was amazing to win the regional award and winning the state award is even more amazing. Of course, none of this would be possible without the hard work of my teachers and other staff at my school.
Despite the lockdown limiting the ability of many students to progress through VET courses, this has not deterred Ethan from working on developing relevant skills at home.
âI’m fortunate to have access to some audio and editing programs at home, as well as things like microphones, speakers, and webcams,â Ethan said. “My friends and I had fun seeing who can come up with the coolest setup with multiple cameras for zooms and stuff like that.”
Ethan’s interest in entertainment began at a very young age when his family became an integral part of the new Catholic parish of St John XXIII Glenwood-Stanhope Gardens.
âIt all started at church with my dad who’s been there ever since it was built 15 years ago, overseeing the musical side of things,â Ethan explained. “I grew up in the church and while he was leading the choir I was introduced to audio engineering and audio mixing for the church.”
Years of learning from his father and taking on various technical roles in his church have helped Ethan develop impressive skills. That says a lot about how talented a young elementary school student is when called in by staff to mentor high school students and Ethan was exactly the case.
âIt all got serious for me when I was actually in elementary school in John XXIII Elementary,â Ethan explained. âThe director of religion at St Mark’s Catholic College would come and pick me up and I would take the high school students to church and show them how everything worked.
âThen I got to high school and found out that there was an animation class and a sound and light club and I quickly found my place with that. I discovered that I already knew a lot of skills from church, so I was able to mentor some of the other students.
Ethan and other members of the school’s sound and lighting club were integral in introducing the VET entertainment course in St. Mark’s in mid-2020.
âWe applied to school and were able to get the entertainment course up and running in the middle of last year and had to put in extra hours to make up for all the schoolwork,â Ethan said.
âAll of this at the same time the COVID pandemic was unwinding. It was a very strange thing, especially for a course as practical as the entertainment. We were trying to learn more about events and event handling without having appropriate events that we could work on. Luckily the teachers at St Mark’s have been fantastic in helping us find other ways to learn the practical elements of the course.
Ethan was supported in the school by the Catholic learning community of John XXIII music and entertainment industry teacher Mark Lewis, who shared how impressed the whole school was with the efforts of ‘Ethan.
âEthan has been responsible for the installation and packaging, as well as the operation of sound and lighting systems for many school productions and events such as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, theater practice exams and of HSC music, varsity assemblies, open houses, concerts and masses, swimming and athletics carnivals and career events, âsaid Mark. âThrough Ethan’s passion and dedication to so many events, he developed his technical skills and experience in audio, lighting, vision and staging outside of the classroom.
Despite being in the ninth grade, Ethan took the VET entertainment course from the start. Now in grade 10, he is excited to add to his booming skills by taking on more VET courses.
âIt’s so obvious that the skills you learn in VET courses are transferable,â he said. âI can’t wait to take another VET course soon, maybe in business. “
Ethan also took on additional responsibilities in his church and before the lockdown, he had a revealing work experience at the Riverside Theaters in Parramatta.
âAfter I started the course, I was also appointed AV and IT coordinator in my church,â Ethan said. âI was responsible for upgrading our entire IT system. I researched materials, organized quotes, while using the skills I had learned in my entertainment class.
âI loved doing a work experience at Riverside Theaters. It really opened my eyes to how a big room like this works. Being at work and getting the job done has been such a great learning experience. I hope I can one day find a job in performing arts production. “
Related: Young Roadie On The Road To A Career In Entertainment
With our thanks to Catholic education Diocese of Parramatta.