Building projects on show

By Benalla Ensign

Benalla’s Hands on Learning (HoL) students recently travelled to Melbourne’s Parliament House for the opening of a special showcase of their ingenious building projects.

The event featured musical instruments made by Benalla P-12 College students, along with a bookcase made by the HoL team at FCJ College.

State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan had the opportunity to meet the Hol students and look at their projects before taking them on a tour of Parliament House.

‘‘The Hands On Learning program gives young people an opportunity to develop their talents and use their learning at school in a practical way through building projects,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘The program has been running in Benalla for 10 years now and many people can attest to its success in keeping young people engaged and continuing with their education.

‘‘I was proud to have students and teachers from Benalla P-12 College in Parliament this week to show off the impressive musical instruments they have made as part of their Hands on Learning classes, along with a bookcase made by the Hands on Learning team at FCJ College.

‘‘The ongoing support Tomorrow Today has given to the program has been amazing as has the wonderful work of teachers Pip Rowe and Ed Bishop in facilitating classes at Benalla P-12 College.’’

HoL is a school-based education program supported by Save the Children Australia that runs in 70 schools across Victoria.

Tomorrow Today Foundation helped establish the program at Benalla P-12 College in 2010 and at FCJ College in 2012 and funds the artisan component of HoL at both schools.

At HoL students develop explicit employability skills, such as teamwork, problem solving and communication by engaging in significant and real building projects around school and in the local community.

A survey of past HoL students found only 2.2 per cent were unemployed compared to the national average for 15 to 24-year-old Australians, which at the time was 10.8 per cent.

Save The Children chief executive officer Paul Ronalds spoke about the positive impact of HoL at the launch.

‘‘Hands on Learning is all about the power of authentic entrepreneurial learning and the impact of helping students who learn in diverse ways to discover their talents, experience success, and change the way they think about school,’’ Mr Ronalds said.

Last year Hands on Learning received international recognition with its inclusion in Finnish not-for-profit HundrED’s list of top 100 inspiring education innovations worldwide.

●For more information on the program, visit