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Year In Review : 2012
15 WORK EXPERIENCES PROMOTE WORK READINESS One of the most highly valued measures of outcomes for WSI is the employability of its graduates. Developing skills which can be transferred into a work setting and providing industry networks is therefore a substantial focus. To this end, students were involved in many work experience opportunities and events in 2012. Examples include pre-apprenticeship students building adaptable housing projects, retail students gaining experience in Myer Penrith's Merchandising department, students gaining experience through simulated work environments such as tourism o ces, training restaurants, and WSI's art gallery. 2012 was another successful year for WSI's 100 Mile Dinners. The dinners were held at the Institute's four training restaurants and gathered interest from local industry and community. Students were provided with outstanding opportunities in hosting the events, including menu design, working with local food producers, preparing food and providing front-of-house hospitality. The success of these dinners has led to training restaurants o ering other events with a sustainability focus such as producers' lunches and winemakers' dinners, featuring produce from local suppliers. Design students gained valuable experience through being involved in the Institute's working graphic design studio, Deefa Design and through industry connections. Students developed designs for promotional material, rebranding, packaging, and interiors. This coordinated approach to work experience improved course completion rates and employment outcomes for students and increased WSI's community and enterprise involvement. CREATING PATHWAYS INTO WORK AND FURTHER TRAINING Coupled with the development of skills that make our graduates ready for employment are the skills and networks which assist them to gain work and engage in further study. In 2012, more than 1,350 students were enrolled in Skills for Work and Training (SWAT) programs in addition to other basic education courses. These programs were adapted to particular interests and needs such as a program which aimed to help women who had been out of the workforce to gain skills, confidence and career direction. Nepean College ran a SWAT program for people interested in gaining employment in childhood education and care. The success of this program can be seen in student outcomes such as students moving into Certificate III, Diploma and Bachelor qualifications and gaining suitable work in child care centres around the western Sydney region. A program aiming to give school students a taste of vocational training and career options commenced in 2012. The government funded Youth Engage Program allowed Year 10 students who were at risk of disengaging with education to trial training in hair and beauty, commercial cookery, animal care, vehicle paint and panel, carpentry and joinery and bricklaying trades. The participating students were selected by their schools, and as a result, most have gone on to further school or vocational studies. WSI ran eight Youth Engage Programs in 2012.