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A Headstart For Bellarine Students On Drysdale Bypass

A young apprentice is gaining valuable career experience on the Drysdale Bypass Project as part of the State Government’s Head Start program. 

Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville, along with Minister for Roads infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, today met Bellarine Secondary College Year 12 student Shauna Bowen, who splits her time between the classroom and the construction site.  

Shauna at the age of 17 is the youngest employees of construction firm Decmil and has worked on the Drysdale Bypass project. She will be moving onto other projects once it is completed, as part of a Certificate III in Civil Construction. 

The qualification has helped her build specialist skills in road and bridge construction and maintenance, pipe laying and traffic management, which she has put into practice on site.

The program enables students to learn while they earn – she has begun her apprenticeship with three days at school and two days on site each week, but will eventually attend school once a week and work for four days.

The State Government’s Head Start program began in 2019, with an investment of almost $50 million over four years.

The flexible model allows students to spend more time doing paid, on-the-job training while completing their VCE or VCAL at school – and will deliver about 1700 apprenticeships and traineeships in more than 100 secondary schools in 10 locations across Victoria.

Shauna’s classmates are also contributing to the Drysdale Bypass, with Bellarine Secondary College students helping to choose words to be etched into the walls of the pedestrian underpass.

The underpass will link the township of Drysdale with the education, arts and sporting precinct on Peninsula Drive – providing a welcome boost to safety for students entering the busy area.

The Drysdale Bypass stretches 6km from Jetty Road to the north of Whitcombes Road, and is the biggest road infrastructure project on the Bellarine Peninsula.

The $117 million Drysdale Bypass project was opened today.

Quote attributable to Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville

“Shauna is a great example of how the State Government is not only building major projects like the Drysdale Bypass, but in doing so also working closely with local students and their schools in giving them a great start to a future career.”

“The Drysdale Bypass gives local roads back to local drivers, boosts safety and gets people where they need to go safer and sooner.”

Quote attributable to Head Start apprentice Shauna Bowen

“It’s been a great way to begin my career in civil construction and earn a wage as I finish secondary school, and I’m really excited about the years ahead.”