Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning Achievement Awards

Celebrating the Class of 2021

Teacher Award – Program Development
Louise Spiers-Bridge

Louise is devoted to her students. More-over she values the need for real-world learning supported by experienced mentors. These qualities allowed Louise to create a classroom that quickly evolved into a co-creative platform, an environment which provided her students with workplace experience and transferable employment skills.

Louise began participating in the Youth Enterprise Hub Teacher Professional Development and Community of Practice in 2019 and quickly developed an affinity with the small group of pilot schools and teachers in the development of the New Economy Enterprise Course. This was not a school exercise designed to be submitted for teacher approval – Louise’s interpretation of the program provided workplace learning guided by industry experts.

She supported the development of the New Economy Enterprise Course and participated in the development of the Young Changemaker’s Program and the Micro-Enterprise Unit. Both semester long units were the basis of the New Economy Enterprise Course collaboratively developed with VCAL teachers and other local stakeholders. Louise was able to adapt and develop both units mapped against all VCAL learning outcomes.

With the support of their mentors, students developed prototypes, undertook market research and customer development processes in addition to branding and marketing of their product or service. This rigorous approach also required students to create a team pitch that students practiced in front of their mentors and Youth Enterprise Hub Manager for immediate feedback.

Louise’s students impressed representatives from the Young Changemakers Association with their interview skills, when they asked insightful questions around deliverables and the possible social impact of their work. Her students were also sensitive of where to prioritise funding to effect greatest change.

Student teams developed business ideas based on DIY Computers (to reduce e-waste); a food truck for neurodiverse people to gain hospitality training; and a House Safety App, for people to register and check potential applicants for shared housing arrangements. Another team designed the ‘Mixey Bottle’, a two sauce bottle manufactured from recycled plastic, with the aim of reducing landfill.

Louise possesses immense skill as a teacher, reflected in the extraordinary development of her students.

Linda Mitchell, Louise Spiers-Bridge & Chris Millard