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Benalla College Hands on Learning students travelled to Melbourne’s Parliament House to join schools from across Victoria for the opening of a special showcase of their ingenious building projects on Tuesday 27 March. The showcase in Queens Hall featured musical instruments made by Benalla P-12 College students, along with a bookcase made by the Hands on Learning team at FCJ College.

Hands on Learning (HoL) is a school-based education program supported by Save the Children Australia that runs in 70 schools across Victoria.  Tomorrow Today Foundation helped establish the program at Benalla P-12 College in 2010 and at FCJ College in 2012 and funds the artisan component of HoL at both schools.

At HoL, students develop explicit employability skills like teamwork, problem solving and communication by engaging in significant and real building projects around the school and the local community. A survey of past HoL students found only 2.2% were unemployed compared to 10.8%, the national average for 15-24 year old Australians at the time.

“Hands on Learning is all about the power of authentic entrepreneurial learning and the impact of helping students who learn in diverse ways to discover their talents, experience success, and change the way they think about school,” said Paul Ronalds, CEO of Save The Children, at the launch of the Parliament House event.

Last year Hands on Learning received international recognition with its inclusion in Finnish not-for-profit HundrED’s list of top 100 inspiring education innovations worldwide: Researchers investigated 1000 education innovations to identify the top 100 from 41 different countries. The program was recognized for its innovativeness, impact and scalability.

HOL at Parliament House