Brought to you by Open Colleges

Get involved with Open Colleges’ Skills Workshops

by Yvette Maurice

Did you know that Open Colleges holds face-to-face events of all kinds? From skills workshops, conferences, meetings and events, we’ve got a way to keep you connected to the industry you’re planning on getting in to.


More and more people are studying courses online, in fact, in Australia, more people are now doing online courses than ever before. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, “online learning environments allow more people access to education, as well as granting flexibility that traditional educational institutions may not.”

Online learning is more flexible

So – we are studying courses online because this gives us greater flexibility for when and where we learn. Lots of online students also work full-time, or have other commitments that mean they need to balance their study with their lifestyles.

However, many students still value the collaborative experience of meeting with their trainers and assessors and their fellow students face-to-face. With this in mind, Open Colleges now has a range of ways that students can connect.

The need for real skills, learned in real life

From meeting ‘study buddies’ via OpenSpace, to booking a telephone counselling session with the Learning Support team, there are many ways to get real help with your studies. A recent innovation from the faculties of Open Colleges, are the Skills Workshops held for various courses.

These have taken on several formats, from one-off events, to organised trainer sessions and even a ‘photowalk’ – here are just some of the ways Open Colleges students have gotten together to gain practical skills for their courses.

Veterinary Nursing Skills Workshop for students in Animal Care

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Online Vet Nursing student, Terri, enjoyed meeting other students at the Skills Workshop

This special one-day workshop was designed to give online students the opportunity to learn and practise new skills, so they would have a real-life advantage when entering work placement or employment, once they have finished their online studies.

Even though all these students are studying online at their own pace, they still enjoyed the chance to meet up with other students and their trainer, Dr Kim Ticehurst, who is a Registrar in Veterinary Anaesthesia. She was also very enthusiastic about the students attending the first workshop. “They get a chance to meet other students, they get a chance to meet some of the trainers, and they get the chance to practise some valuable skills,” Dr Ticehurst said.

Student Terri Gray found the workshop training day beneficial. “I’ve always been really passionate about animals and (working with them) has been something that I’ve wanted to do since high school,” Terri said. “Being online, it is a perfect opportunity.”

Read more about the Veterinary Nursing Skills Workshop here.

Allied Health Skills Workshop for students in Allied Health Assistance

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Students learned skills they might use in an Allied Health Assistance role

The special one-day health skills workshop covered a range of practical skills and was perfect way for students new to the health industry to gain professional skills in a comfortable low-pressure environment. It was also great for students who had some background or previous experience in the area.

Course coordinator Matt Rockell said: “It’s really important for us to get into the environment where a lot of our students are going to be working because it gives them more confidence.”

Matt works with students to ensure they get the experience they need, that they get to meet other students and that they feel confident in asking for support when they return home.

Online student Mario currently works as a patient care assistant at a private hospital and is enrolled in the HLT42512 Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance. Mario hopes to work towards a more senior position such as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN). He attended the workshop to meet his trainers and fellow students.

“Phil (an Open Colleges trainer and assessor) used excellent learning material and is a good communicator. He answered my questions beyond the topics talked about today – it was great!”

Read more about the Allied Health Skills Workshop here.

The Finance and Accounting Conference for students in Finance and Accounting

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The accounting and finance conference was a great opportunity for online students to ask questions in real time

Online students at this recent event were able to hear talks from major stakeholders in the accounting and finance industries in Australia, including the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, the Tax Practitioners Board and their trainers and assessors.

Events were held in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with more possibly planned for the near future. The event was a great opportunity for online students to meet each other and to ask questions about the industry they are aiming to work in, or progress in.

“It was great to have face-to-face tutorial style interaction,” said online student John Jessop of Roseville, NSW. He is looking to progress his career and says in general that he’s found studying with Open Colleges very convenient.

Another online student, Deb Esquilant, said that she is already working in the industry as a BAS agent but is studying online to gain further employment opportunities.

Read more about the Finance and Accounting Conference here.

Photowalk Pop-Up Workshop with John Hollingshead

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Trainer and assessor John Hollingshead shared his photography tips with online students during his Photowalk workshops

A group of online Open Colleges photography students met in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art at West Circular Quay in Sydney to participate in a Photowalk, where trainer and assessor John Hollingshead led them to some of his favourite photo spots around The Rocks, the Overseas Passenger Terminal, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

The students chatted about camera tricks and techniques and were able to try out there skills with their trainer in attendance. John gave some very practical tips, such as providing a thorough camera checklist, “These are all good disciplines to go through,” John explained.

Claire, from Bulimba in Queensland said, “The idea of a Photowalk was very appealing and turned out to be a great opportunity. I had a fabulous time, being able to ask John’s advice or opinion was very valuable. If there are more popup workshops I would be keen to attend!”

Read more about the Photowalk here.

The Open Colleges Nail Worksop Event

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Young Nails gave demonstrations to online students so that they could practise their practical skills

The faculty of health and wellness held an event for students of nail technology. Cath Lavery is an Open Colleges trainer and assessor and has worked in the beauty industry for many years as the owner and manager of Uluvu Beauty Salon.

She has extensive experience in providing treatments such as waxing, makeup application, body and facial treatments, manicures, pedicures and spray tanning. She recently joined Nicki from Young Nails for an event where students got together to practise their new skills.

“I would like to thank all the students that attended the workshop today,” she says. “For all the students in the other states doing the nail technology and beauty therapy courses, I highly recommend that you attend workshops like this one if you get the opportunity. You will go away will knowledge, confidence and the know-how to produce some really fantastic work.”

Read more about the Nail Workshop Event here.

Open Colleges Workshops

So, there you have it. When you study online with Open Colleges, you are not alone and you can gain valuable, practical skills under the guidance of your trainers and assessors and industry professionals.

Open Colleges has students in every State and Territory of Australia and as demand increases, more and more of these types of events are being planned.

If you’ve got a great idea for a Skills Workshop for Open Colleges, please leave a comment below, or to search for a course that would suit your learning needs, head to the Open Colleges main site.

2 Responses

  1. Currently studying Cert IV TAE online with open colleges. It’s been a long struggle and would like to finish the only 2 units l haven’t complete face to face in a workshop. Could you give me details for up and coming workshops in Melbourne for TAEASS403B Participate in assessment validation and TAEASS402B Assess Competence
    Many thanks
    Leonie Puszka

    • Yvette Maurice says:

      Hi Leonie-

      Have you spoken to your trainer and assessor? They may be able to point you in the right direction.

      –Open Colleges

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