Hands on Learning in Werribee

Gandel Foundation is supporting Hands on Learning (HOL) through a three-year grant to enable the expansion of their program into north-western Melbourne. The HOL program supports students who are at risk of early leaving the hope and aspiration to stay at school and realise their full potential. Trustee Laurence Joseph and Deputy Chair Richard Rogers recently visited the Werribee Secondary College, one of eight schools in the north-west taking part in the program.

The method has been proven to significantly increase attendance, improve vocational and academic pathways, and reduce youth unemployment. The evaluation of the HOL program at Benalla P-12 College, conducted by the University of Melbourne’s Youth Research Centre, showed “decreased absences and a 74{5751bc5b63690f6a3018c78004b9a8025eaa2eaac2b926a397aa26ea6af7f630} reduction in suspension rates.”

In the program, up to ten students work with two artisan-teachers one full day each week on creative building projects that benefit the school and local community. Student engagement increases through safe respectful relationships that cultivate a sense of belonging and tangible learning opportunities that offer opportunities to experience success.

HOL story pic

During the visit to Werribee SC, artisan-teachers Raimond Martinucci (above, first from left) and Roland Poth (middle) provided a tour and a briefing to Gandel Foundation trustees, along with Cameron Wiseman (second from right), the Executive Director, Finance with HOL.

Schools that take part in the HOL program are successfully using the method as a targeted early intervention for students in Years 7-10 who have typically experienced bullying or difficulty learning in the classroom.  HOL shows great results and it is highly effective because vulnerable students remain connected to their school community and receive ongoing long-term support. Research and evaluation of the program so far show that HOL participants experience permanent, positive change.

HOL is currently being implemented in 46 schools around Victoria.

HOL parent pic

Above: One of Werribbee SC participants with a parent during the “Open Day” function, when family members get the chance to see the work their children have been doing and join in celebrating their child’s progress at school.