Meet A Fairholme Teacher
Her office is dotted with finger painting, craft, gluing and other little homemade creations. One artwork stands out, stuck to the wall above a bookshelf full of texts about training, a page of coloured cupcake cases glued to create a colourful 3D Mural.
Arlie Hollindale, Co-ordinator of Vocational Education at Fairholme College, is one of the many Mum’s juggling life between the office and home, with three daughters aged under 7.
“Iselin is 7, Lilly – with two l’s and sometimes 3 l’s… is 5; and Elspeth is 3. They are all very different. I think being a Mum has certainly opened my eyes to the individuality of girls. You learn very quickly that not one box fits all, and you think - how can they all come from me and be so different? But then I talk to my ‘big girls’ and realise this is us. This is women. Dynamic, broad and ever changing.”
The ‘big girls’ Arlie is referring to are her students in the Fairholme Pathways program. Girls she meets in Year 9, and then slowly helps to mold their future pathway, over four years.
“My job is to help them plan a path that will guide them into the real world. That includes job employability, skills, tertiary entrance and the specialist elective program. Those pathways are rarely straight. Probably the most enjoyable moments are when you meet a student who has no idea where she wants her path to take her. And then you work with her and gradually watch her create a path that fits her perfectly.”
Arlie, who started out as an Accounting Teacher, laughs at the suggestion she’s empowering young women to make smart, informed and individual choices.
But she does agree the Fairholme girls are leaps and bounds ahead, after studying and working through the Pathways program.
“They are more equipped to deal with what’s outside of school. The girls are more resilient towards workplaces, time management, change and organisation. Their communication skills are better. Those are real world skills, and it means that when Year 12 is all over, Fairholme girls are ready to hit the ground running.”
The girls are offered training in Health, Teaching, Fitness, Crime and Justice, Early Education – to name just a few. There are opportunities at the Mater Hospital to undertake simulated training and practice being Assistants in Nursing (AINs).
Arlie proudly admits you’d be hard paced to find a better Pathways program in a Queensland School.
“We’ve been working at this Vocational Education model for a long time - around 15 years now - and I think we’ve really streamlined it into a model that fits all girls. It assists the girls who have an academic pathway to tertiary, it assists the girls who want post - secondary schooling that’s not in a tertiary institute, and it assists girls who want Gap Years by helping them gain employment during their time off study. It meets every girl’s need. And I don’t think there’s another school who does it quite like us. We’ve got industry and training feedback from trainers all over the state that say it is not done like this in any other school.”
Arlie is passionate in her position, guiding young women into careers, and each year taking some feedback into account to ensure her Vocational Training model, like the girls who use it, is open to change and never slows down.
It brings the conversation back to her girls at home. Somehow, in between the chaos of guiding teenage girls through the numerous opportunities on offer, Arlie finds time for caravanning.
“As a family we love to travel in our caravan – we - ‘slash’ - not me.” She sighs.
“But I hate camping, so we met halfway and got a caravan.”
Arlie's attitude to always meet halfway, is possibly one of the reasons the Pathways program at Fairholme College is such a success. There’s always a place in the middle. Always another option. Another path.