Yarra Ranges Tech School during COVID-19

July 17, 2020

Written by Ashley Van Krieken

Starting 2020, I, like everyone, was excited for a fantastic year ahead for Yarra Ranges Tech School and the team. We had strong bookings – in fact, the strongest Term 1 bookings since we started, with Term 2 edging close to a record as well! I had new staff starting and a fantastic renovation of the space underway…things were looking positive and the business plan was on track.

Fast forward to now and it has certainly been an exciting year – not in the way I thought it would be at the start of 2020, but exciting nonetheless. While we have been in lockdown YRTS has still managed to on-board four staff – not an easy feat when they can’t physically work in the space! We have modified and developed our existing programs for online delivery, trialed alternative hybrid models of delivery, and contributed online resources to the broader community.

As I write this I am extremely impressed with all we have achieved, as I reflect on the changes that we have made as a team, and myself as a leader, to achieve these goals.  As a group we have become more empathetic to one another, discovered new skills and abilities, and bonded (perhaps more strongly) than we would have pre-COVID-19 and working remotely.  This is critical for a small-knit team like YRTS – and I hope that it makes our programs more robust but also adaptable for changing circumstances.

The real exciting aspect of all of this is that we can continue to use many of our remote delivery techniques to provide greater support to students and teachers, not only in their pre-program work, but also while at the Tech School. This will increase engagement between students, facilitators and our many external industry and community stakeholders.  We are very much looking forward to that time when we can once again welcome back students, teachers and the community to learning programs, exhibitions, workshops, after-school and holiday programs, Community Makerspace and show off the new-and-improved Yarra Ranges Tech School!!!