Last week’s guest speaker was Sheryl Thomas, CEO of Studentworks.
Sheryl began by thanking club members who participated in the working bee in August by painting their dining room.
She mentioned that Studentworks was celebrating its 40th anniversary and was holding an Open Day the following day—Friday October 26th, to which club members were invited.
Studentworks is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the Education Department.
Sheryl also mentioned that Dale Luck was president of their board and that Wayne Higgs had also served as a board member.
Studentworks provides an alternative education program for 14-16 year olds who struggle with the convention-al education system, by offering a more practically oriented program in the areas of woodwork, metalwork, warehousing and catering.
They aim to provide productive pathways to fulfilling lives by using a teenage workforce producing real prod-ucts being sold on the open market. Early in their existence they made products for Repco, Coats Patons, Preci-sional Tool Annexe, the Branxholm Sawmill and Cornwall Coal.
Today they make pine beds for the Migrant Resource Centre, outdoor furniture, including picnic tables and seats that have been installed in the Gorge. They produce products for QVMAG, the Prospect Medical Centre, Southern Cross Care at Low Head as well as children’s chairs and tables, feed lockers and rubbish bins.

Their packaging and warehousing section packages gasket sets and also cardboard cartons for Orora Packag-ing.
Studentworks catering division prepares items like sandwiches and wraps, soups, butter chicken and rice dish-es, fruit & cheese platters as well as cakes and slices. Tasnetworks are a major customer of their catering ser-vices.
Studentworks instructors have had practical experience inn the areas they teach. They aim to improve the attendance rate, build confidence, a sense of belonging and enhance the employability of the attendees.
The centre takes about 30 students each year.
The students are assessed for literacy and numeracy and are taught in small groups.
Where do students go after Studentworks?
Some back to high school, some to a secondary college, some to employment and some to apprenticeships in butchering, agriculture and catering.