College set to enter new era after fire

By Wendy Shaw

Guilford Young College has drawn on skill, creativity and resilience to recover from the shock and devastation of a fire that ravaged its trade training centre at Glenorchy in March.

At the time, principal Craig Deayton said the college community would unite to rise above adversity.

“With Christ our Light, we will recover, we will rebuild and we will endure,” he said then.

Now, the college is looking forward to a new facility opening in 2024, with an expanded offering of vocational education and training (VET) subjects.

Fire investigators found that the blaze, on 21 March, started from an overheating engine in a car stored in the building.

“It was obviously a big blow, a big shock, a big critical incident but it was just buildings and damage and everyone was safe,” Mr Deayton said last month.

“We were looking at coping with the loss of a major asset: a $10 million building and all the wonderful things that happen in there.

“We sat down as soon as the smoke cleared to see how we could look after our students, and replace the building.”

Mr Deayton said the highly skilled VET staff, including engineers, builders, welders, electricians and automotive experts, led the way in adapting the college after the fire.

“They were able to get straight down to work with the students in reconstructing and refurbishing classrooms into engineering classrooms, construction classrooms, and we were able to convert our very large bus shed into our automotive facility in short order,” Mr Deayton said.

“We also used shipping containers to house some of the industrial aspects of our offerings, like welding bays. They are a very creative bunch of people, all energised and pulling in the same direction, and they did an amazing job.

“The students from courses such as construction, engineering, automotive, were happily and actively engaged and involved with the rebuilding of those areas also.”

Plans are now well advanced for the rebuilding of the site. It is hoped that building work will take place in 2023, with the new facility in use in 2024.

Mr Deayton added: “The new facility has been planned. All the drawings are done. We are negotiating with builders and getting ready to submit the plan [for approval].

“The silver lining to the fire is no one was hurt even though it was a very dangerous fire.

“Now we are building a bigger, better VET. VET is a crucial part of education for students especially in years 11 and 12, and GYC has been recognised as a leading provider of VET in schools in Australia.”

GYC won the School Pathways for VET Award, under the Australian Training Awards 2017, from the Australian government.

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