SWL CASE STUDY – Hayley – Castlemaine Secondary College 2018


Working with the Structured Workplace Learning Program and Michael Hockley has changed the way we deliver VCAL at CSC.  Previously, students would find their own placement, and this may have taken weeks – with eventually students becoming disheartened and losing interest.

I had a female student who wanted to be a diesel mechanic. We spent an afternoon ringing leads and contacts all to no avail. Once the employer heard it was a female student, the conversation changed direction and the opportunity seemed to close down.

I contacted Michael and discussed the situation and within 2 days we had a placement secured with Hazeldenes Chickens in Lockwood. They were more than accommodating and gave a thorough pre-placement induction to the student. By having an experienced person like Michael with vast networks, I am confident that placements he finds are appropriate and suitable. When I ring someone blindly, I’m not really sure of the type of workplace I am dealing with.

The other noticeable difference is that students are keen to explore work experience as things seem to ‘happen quickly’.

– Steven Carroll, VCAL Teacher – Castlemaine Secondary College


Student Feedback:

During my weeks work experience at Hazeldenes Chicken Farm I undertook a wide range of mechanical jobs including general servicing to watching and assisting the mechanics with brakes, airbags, parts replacements and heaps more. The blokes I worked with were terrific and showed amazing patience to my slow learning. I am exceptionally grateful for these people giving me this opportunity.”

–  Hayley


Teacher Feedback:

“Hayley said she had a ‘ripsnorta’ of a week. I texted her over the weekend and asked if she wanted to do some more and she replied, ‘I think they might need a break from me’. Hayley has always been determined to reach her goal and it shows in her work and in her communication with other students and her teachers. As is evidenced in the feedback from Hazeldenes, Hayley is punctual, well-presented an excellent communicator, has a positive attitude and is keen to learn. We are extremely pleased for Hayley that her work placement was such a positive experience for her and hope that this experience spurs her on to achieve her ultimate goal.”

– Steve Carroll – Castlemaine Secondary College


Employer Feedback:

Summary of SWL – Employer Evaluation, by Michael Paton, Workshop Manager, Hazeldenes

Attendance and punctuality

No absences, always punctual. Often arrived early, prepared to stay back if a task had to be completed.

Appearance and presentation

Takes pride in appearance and presentation; sets an example to others.

Working with others

Communicates well with others; contributed to conversation and exchange of ideas.

Communication & Interpersonal Skills

Excellent communication and people skills. Confident and articulate; listens well.

Time Management

Generally capable of working independently to complete tasks assigned.

Attitude and motivation

Did what was required well. Prepared to make extra effort when asked.

Ability to follow instruction and use initiative

Capable of working independently after initial instruction.

Ability to learn

Learns quickly; keen to achieve new skills and to enhance knowledge of workplace tasks.

Positive self-attitude

Always appeared confident, self-assured and achievement orientated.

Quality of work

Work was of good quality and showed care and attention to detail.

Other comments

Overall a very good student who showed a keen level of interest in the role.


Weekly Times Article

Written by Genevieve Barlow, September 19 2018.

“I was inspired to find out more about female mechanics when I met Hayley recently. The daughter of a professional truck driver and transport company owner, Hayley 17, and in year 11 at Castlemaine Secondary College, wants to be a heavy vehicle mechanic, one who attends to engines in trucks, tractors and heavy earth moving equipment.

She loved a recent week’s work placement with Hazeldenes Chickens which has its own truck fleet.”

“I went in there terrified and I just assumed I’d be on the broom all week, but they had me straight in there with the mechanics doing servicing and checking components” Hayley says.

She also replaced an air cleaner and an oil filter under the watchful eye of her supervisor.

Dirt doesn’t worry Hayley. And she would like to combine trucking and mechanic work with farming.

“I was thinking of contract harvesting and carting crop in my own trucks”

She says trucking far and wide with her dad and into places like the Woomera Restricted Area in central Australia got her keen on becoming a heavy vehicle mechanic.

“Once I decided I wanted to get into truck driving, I knew I needed to be my own mechanic because if I break down somewhere out there with no phone service and no help, I need to know how to fix things myself.”

 Caption: Hayley working on a vehicle while on a placement