He might only be in Year 10 but St Mark’s Catholic College (part of the Catholic Learning Community of St John XXIII Stanhope Gardens) student Ethan Zammit has already developed an impressive repertoire of skills.
Coupled with his new VET qualification, he’s well on the way towards a career in the entertainment industry. His dedication has also awarded him the VET in Schools Student of the Year at the regional NSW Training Awards (Western Sydney and Blue Mountains).St
Ethan’s interest in entertainment started at a very young age when his family became an integral part of the new St John XXIII Catholic Parish Glenwood-Stanhope Gardens.
“It all started in church with my dad who has always been there since it was built 15 years ago, overseeing the musical side of things,” explained Ethan. “I grew up in the Church and as he ran the choir, I got introduced to audio engineering and mixing audio for church.”
Years of learning from his father and taking on various technical roles at his church helped Ethan acquire some impressive skills. It says something about the talent of a young primary school student when they’re called on by staff to guide senior school students and that was exactly the case for Ethan.
“It all sort of got serious for me when I was actually in primary school at John XXIII Primary,” Ethan explained. “The Director of Religion at St Mark’s Catholic College would come and get me and I’d take the secondary school students up to the church and show them how everything worked.”
“Then I got to high school and found out there’s an Entertainment course and a Sound and Lighting Club and I very quickly found my place with that. I found that I already knew quite a lot of the skills through church and so I was able to mentor some of the other students.”
Ethan and other members of the school’s Sound and Lighting Club were integral to St Mark’s introducing the VET Entertainment course midway through 2020.
“We asked the school and managed to get the Entertainment course up and running midway through last year and we had to put in extra hours to catch up on all the school work,” said Ethan. “This was all at the same time that the COVID pandemic was unravelling. It was a very strange thing, especially for a course as practical as Entertainment. We were trying to learn about events and event management without having any proper events we could work on. Thankfully the teachers at St Mark’s were fantastic with helping us find other ways of learning the hands-on components of the course.”
Ethan has been supported at school by Catholic Learning Community of John XXIII Music & VET Entertainment Industry Teacher Mark Lewis who shared how impressed the whole school has been with Ethan’s endeavours.
“Ethan has been responsible for set-up and pack down plus operating sound and lighting systems for numerous school productions and events such as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, HSC Drama and Music practical exams, college assemblies, open nights, concerts and Masses, swimming and athletics carnivals and careers events,” said Mark. “As a result of Ethan’s passion and dedication to so many events, he has developed his technical skills and experience in audio, lighting, vision and staging outside the classroom.”
Despite being in Year 9, Ethan went on to complete the VET Entertainment course as early commencement. Now in Year 10, he’s excited to add to his burgeoning skill set by undertaking more VET courses.
“It’s just so obvious how transferable the skills are that you learn in VET courses,” he said. “I’m looking forward to doing another VET course soon, perhaps Business.”
Ethan has also taken on added responsibility at his church and recently enjoyed an eye-opening work experience stint at Riverside Theatres in Parramatta.
“I loved doing work experience at Riverside Theatres. It really opened my eyes to how a big venue like this operates. Being on the job and doing the work has been such a great learning experience. I hope I might go on to get a job in production for performing arts one day.
“After starting the course, I was also appointed AV and IT Coordinator at my church,” said Ethan. “I was tasked with upgrading our entire IT system. I was researching equipment, organising quotes, all the while using skills I had been learning in my Entertainment course.”
Ethan said he’s been thrilled by the well-wishes and support he’s received from family since being named a finalist for the NSW Training Awards.
“I was actually at a Try A Trade day at CathWest Innovation College when I got the email confirming that I was a finalist,” he said. “It was hard keeping my excitement under wraps but eventually I got out and was able to call my parents and friends and tell them the amazing news.”
Ethan is one of five Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) students that were nominated in the regional finals of the NSW Training Awards. They are joined by Teacher of the Year nominee Michael Kelly. CEDP is a leader in the area of skills-based learning and is a State Finalist in the Small Provider of the Year Award.
With thanks to Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.