Call in the Techies

A group of talented secondary students are at the forefront of the Bendigo Tech School development, which will foster inquisitive minds just like theirs.

Not all of us can be rocket scientists, but those with the smarts, like Sei Pailthorpe, will soon have a flying start thanks to the Bendigo Tech School.

The latest local education initiative is currently under construction at the La Trobe University Bendigo Campus and will offer free tech-focused innovative learning to every Bendigo secondary school student from the start of 2019.

Thirty young leaders have been collaborating with local industry to co-design programs for the Bendigo Tech School.

Their vision is to create real-world learning experiences that prepare the young people of Bendigo to thrive in their future work place and move smoothly between industries and occupations.

Research by the Foundation for Young Australians shows the average 15-year-old today can expect to work 17 jobs across five different careers.

According to the student ambassadors of the new Bendigo Tech School, collaboration and tech are the realistic ways of learning for the jobs of the future, not working your way through a maths sheet.

With ambitions to be a rocket scientist, Year 10 Girton Grammar student Sei Pailthorpe wants the Bendigo Tech School to give him the opportunity to develop skills for the future of work. His dream is to be on the aerospace engineering team that designs the first passenger shuttle to Jupiter.

“I’ve always liked planes and wanted to be a pilot. I love understanding the inner workings of things,” Sei says.

Sam Graham is currently completing year 7 at Eaglehawk Secondary College and his aspirations are more traditional, but with a tech twist. Sam sees himself teaching and using tech in a primary school classroom in the future.

“Getting involved in the Tech School gives me a head start on using technology and how to get other people involved,” he says.

“As a teacher you need to be multi-skilled. I am interested in so many things – it is the humanities I would like to teach and take students to places and experiences they could never imagine, like ancient cities.”

Through his role as an ambassador, Sam recently volunteered at the Bendigo Discovery Centre to train other young people in the applications of virtual reality tech.

“I see so many possibilities for Virtual Reality in a classroom. I can provide students with interactive and immersive experiences.”

Sam believes it is through experience, trying and experimenting that people learn best.

Budding architect and Year 10 Victory Christian College student Eve Fetherstonhaugh describes her future as 3D.

“I’m a 3D person and I just can’t get my head around how everything fits together in 2D,” she says. “Working in 3D with a 3D printer I can change things, I can try out and resolve ideas quickly.”

Fittingly, as one of the winners of the 2018 Bendigo Tech School Furniture Design Competition, Eve was awarded her very own 3D printer. Her entry the ‘Design Thinking Studio’ contains what she calls the ‘thinking tree’ and will be implemented into the design of the Tech School.

“I am into hands on stuff, rather than a teacher telling me how to do it,” says Eve. “At the Tech School there will be spaces where people can collaborate and come up with ideas.”

She wanted to create a space where young people feel comfortable, brave and connected to Bendigo.

“Bendigo is the city in the forest. Connecting our native landscape with technology is important,” she says.

Bendigo Tech School programs will prepare students for the world of work and are aligned to industries predicted to experience strong economic and employment growth in the Bendigo region: medical technology and pharmaceuticals, new energy technologies, food and fibre, transport and defence, advanced manufacturing and professional industries.

“We are committed to investing into the latest technology to enhance the learning experience of all Bendigo secondary students,” says Graeme Wiggins, Director of the Bendigo Tech School.

Tech Schools are part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to deliver the Education State vision for Victoria. Under the initiative, the Government is investing $128 million to Tech Schools with a further $28.6 million investment in the 2018 budget to help prepare Victorian students to succeed in work and in life.

Find more about the Bendigo Tech School online at or, Instagram @bendigotechschool, and Twitter @BendigoTS.

This story was first published in the Bendigo Magazine 2018 Spring Edition

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