A Vocational Education and Training (VET) course is helping Delany College Granville student Arthur Sadek harness his unique people skills to improve his employability and explore new career opportunities.
A determined and supportive school helped ensure nothing got in the way of Arthur Sadek’s dreams. The Year 12 student, who lives with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, a physical disability with associated short stature, was recently nominated for VET in Schools Student of the Year at the regional 2020 NSW Training Awards.
A driven and assured young man, Arthur followed his passion for food tech and hospitality as he worked towards completing a Certificate II Hospitality course as part of his studies at Delany College Granville. However, it was far from smooth sailing, as a number of his initial attempts to find work placement were knocked back.
“When I was trying to get work placement, the workplace people said they couldn’t do it because of my disability but my school persevered and helped me find a suitable work placement in a kitchen,” Arthur explained. “If it wasn’t for my school, I wouldn’t have been able to do work placement.”
Vocational Education & Training Professional Officer at Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, Veronica Niessen worked closely with Arthur and his teachers at Delany College to ensure they found the right options to enable him to continue in the course.
“There were a number of hurdles to get Arthur and his equipment to a suitable work placement,” said Veronica. “While we might sometimes question if the VET course is always the most suitable option, we need to respect a young person’s interest and dreams and facilitate suitable opportunities to allow them to pursue those dreams.”
So with the help of Ms Niessen and his school, Arthur managed to find two locations for his work placement including La-Cova, CathWest Innovation College’s cafe.
“They welcomed him in with open arms,” Veronica said. “It was very one on one. There was no problem with his disability requirements and the other thing with La-Cova, the kids and the staff really engaged with him and he had an awesome time. He loved it and they loved him. I heard teachers say he was absolutely amazing.”
Arthur was just as glowing in his admiration for those who helped him – adding that the VET course has given him crucial skills as he explores a new direction in his life – the possibility of becoming a priest.
“My school has helped me a lot with my disability,” Arthur said. “They’re also helping me to become a priest now. The VET course has helped me develop skills, especially with communication. It’s given me more confidence interacting and speaking with people and also work, experiencing what it’s like to be under pressure and being able to handle that.
“It’s been a very family-like school. Teachers are like parents. They’re helping me with homework, to get a job and now as I look into becoming a priest. Everyone speaks to each other like brothers or sisters. That is the best part about this school,” he said.
Veronica Niessen feels Arthur has the personality and skills to be a great success in whatever he elects to do after school.
“He’s told me he wants to go into the priesthood and I get the feeling a big part of that is about service to people, being fair to people, which I think he feels very strongly about,” Veronica said. “I think that’s what the VET course has helped him with. It’s not just employability skills, it’s people skills – he’s learnt to read people, understand people and it’s a very unique character trait of Arthur’s. He spends a lot of time observing and understanding people. He possesses a lot of emotional intelligence that a lot of other kids don’t have.”
Despite the added difficulties of completing Year 12 and working in a year interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 will be a year to remember for Arthur, highlighted by his selection as a finalist for the Western Sydney and Blue Mountains Region at the NSW Training Awards.
“It was very exciting,” Arthur said. “I was thrilled to be a finalist.”
Four other Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta students were also named finalists for the regional awards. Alongside Arthur in the Western Sydney and Blue Mountains region, Jessica Libreri and Chloe Pelle (Certificate III in Early Childhood Education) from CathWest Innovation College McCarthy Campus were finalists for the School Based Apprentice/Trainee award with Jessica winning and progressing to the state finals. Yuyin Zhang (Certificate II Business) from St Agnes Catholic High School Rooty Hill was named a finalist in the VET in Schools award while Chantelle Gordon (Certificate II Business) from Emmaus Catholic College Kemps Creek, was a finalist for the VET in Schools Student of the Year Award for the South West Sydney Region.
With thanks to Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.