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Byron Community College News

Moving Forwards

Adult Community Education provides a flexible and supportive environment in which students can develop work-ready skills. It aims to involve and engage people through inspiring learning experiences. Through this engagement, friendships are made, and community connections are woven which can have far reaching effects.

Our 2023 Nationally Recognised Training courses are now well underway, and it’s been a pleasure meeting this year’s Certificate course students studying Permaculture, Horticulture, Massage Therapy, Community Services and Individual Support.
They are gaining transferrable knowledge and skills, developing relationships with local organisations, and opening doors to a variety of roles in the workplace.

Coming from a wide range of backgrounds and ages, they bring with them their unique skills and life experiences which contribute to the class as a whole. The first day of class always feels like a significant moment in time. After months of preparation, to see a group of students finally assembled together under the same roof; likeminded individuals ready to embark on a learning journey together is really something. In adult education, students, their trainers and College staff alike, learn from each other in often unexpected ways, enriching the College community and along with it, the larger local community as well.

As our community continues to find its way forward following the challenges wrought by the last few years, the College too is continuing the process of rebuilding and growing forward. If you take a walk past our main campus in Mullumbimby, you’ll see the rebuild under way and little by little, step by step, the new possibilities are becoming more visible. We’re so grateful for the patience and understanding of our wonderful students who share in our vision of what’s possible when we work together as a community.

If the time’s right for you, get in touch with us about how you can immerse yourself in something that inspires you. A short course in gardening, visual arts or music may well blossom into a greater passion or be the stepping stone to something more.
We look forward to meeting you and supporting you in fulfilling your learning goals.

Adult Learners' Week Competition Winners Announced!

We recieved so many wonderful stories for our Adult Learners' Week Competition. It was an incredible reminder of how humbled we are to be able to bring so many learning opportunities to our community. Please enjoy the 1st and 2nd place winners' stories below and we look forward to doing it again in 2023!.


The BCC booklet had been sitting on my kitchen bench for days, calling me, saying, “Join something! Join something!”

I’d circled five different courses – art, creative writing, massage, Pinterest, blogging – but it was only when a friend said she was booked in to do the writing program with Barbara, that I realised how devastated I’d be to miss out!

In the last five weeks, I’ve surprised myself by creating a solid foundation for a novella. A novella I wasn’t planning on writing! Once I committed to doing the course, and giving myself the gift of attending each week, the writing just came out. It was there all along, but I needed the structure of a course to support me to do the work.

That is the beauty of joining a BCC course. You’re effectively buying yourself the gift of time well spent, to nurture something you delight in. For me, right now, that’s reflecting and processing life experiences through writing and creating a new world – one that others might enjoy visiting one day. Thanks Barbara and BCC.

  • Marissa Treichel (Pictured Left – 1st Place Winner)


I love Byron Community for its diversity of learning opportunities. I am a mother of three and over the past 15 years, I have undertaken many different courses to keep inspired in my own life. I enjoyed meeting people from our community in this way and I have since slowly and patiently started to create an online business with my passion for art and body awareness.

This week I am learning about online marketing, which I never thought was in my plan of life as my technology skills were very poor but they improved in confidence through the courses at Byron Community College. I even played with creating a YouTube channel where I was challenged to speak and present my ideas to an audience.

The learning journey at the college has been of immense personal growth. The Certificate in Visual Arts would have been one of my favourite courses inspired by the wonderful teacher Virginia Reid. To this day I draw from the knowledge and tools I gained during that year. Thank you very much to this local education place and everyone who makes it happen!

  • Susi Sweeney (Pictured Right – 2nd Place Winner)

Tech Savvy Seniors a Huge Success!

Imagine a world where you are surrounded by technology every waking moment but don’t really understand how to use it. This is the quintessential back foot to inclusion for many seniors simply because they were not born into the technology immersion that has become so absolute for the younger generation.

So, what do you do to master technology when mud and sticks was the foundation of your games and the telephone was firmly attached to the wall? Fortunately, we are not the first to have pondered this question, which is why the NSW government initiative in partnership with Telstra created Tech Savvy Seniors, the success of which has shown just how much it was needed.

The 2022 report is in, showing that more than 7,300 training places were provided, across 11 course types, in 13 languages at 200 library and community college locations! This is incredible reach with results even overcoming lower enrolment numbers due to the ongoing impacts of COVID and floods.

We are celebrating a significant increase in students' self-reported confidence with and knowledge of technology following the training:

• Over 90% of participants agreed that the courses were helpful, informative and run at the right pace for them.

• 80% felt confident with using digital devices following the course, and more than two thirds felt they could teach others what they had learnt.

• The majority of seniors said they would now use digital technologies more frequently for accessing information and services online, looking for information about community activities and communicating with friends and family.

We have been absolutely thrilled to provide Tech Savvy for Seniors at Byron Community College, but you have to get in early because demand ensures it frequently fills up well in advance. Due to run again on Thursday 3rd November 2022, be sure to look out for it in our upcoming Term 4 program scheduled to be released soon.

Fee Reimbursements and Waivers for Students in 2022 and 2023

If you studied a full qualification under Smart and Skilled with Byron Community College in 2022, or are thinking of enrolling next year, we’ve got some very exciting news to share.

The NSW North Coast Education Flood Recovery Support Package reveals that new levels of financial support are available, amounting to thousands of dollars in fee relief for students. The aim is to alleviate financial pressures on students and their families coping with flood recovery in the region, while also supporting access to and the completion of training.

Providing student support in the adult education sector has always been paramount given the range of challenges that can already exist, including emotional and social pathways to reengage with learning. The 2022 floods brought devastation that created immense upheaval in obtaining life’s basic needs for food and shelter. The natural effect was that all else receded, sending growth, learning and expansion into the background for a time.

The good news is, this has been recognised. As part of the Support Package, Training Services NSW is rolling out the following initiatives:

1. Fee reimbursements for students enrolled or in training during the flood period – eligible students should have received an email about this.

2. Fee waivers for new students – all fees for 2023 Smart and Skilled eligible students will be $0 when enrolling next year.

Jack Bennie (pictured) has been studying the AHC30716 – Certificate III in Horticulture at Byron Community College throughout 2022 and will be receiving a full reimbursement of the fees he has paid for this nationally recognised qualification.

For 2022 and 2023 students across the region, this package will amount to thousands of dollars in fee relief. So, if you’re excited by the opportunity of new horizons, get in touch us today to find out more and check your eligibility.

Bamboo Yurt Workshop

The recent Bamboo Yurt Workshop was a huge success at the Mullumbimby campus with Don Corben and Jules Hartmann.

Over two weekends, students were immersed in the magical properties of bamboo, learning all about its building properties and techniques, including splitting, cutting, lashing and joinery.

As is the hands-on way at Byron Community College, Jules and Don shared their knowledge and skills from years of experience working with this amazing material and guided the group through the entire process, from pole selection and harvesting through to making and assembling the structure and waterproof roof. The final result ended in a smoking ceremony to treat and preserve the bamboo against insects and fungi over time.

As an incredibly economical, eco-friendly and strong structure, yurts can be built in many configurations to suit the requirements of a particular site, meaning its versatility and transportability exceeds many alternative building techniques. This is an impressive structure built by many hands and we are very grateful for Don and Jules, their time and expertise is valued by us all at the College!

Feeling Like an Outsider is More Common Than We Think

As we prepared to launch our Term 3 Program, we took some time to think about the critical role that literacy skills play in nurturing a successful life.

At the last official count, over 7 million Australians aged 15-74 didn’t have the literacy skills needed for everyday life and nearly 9 million struggled in the same way with numeracy.*

This carries a whole-of-life impact many of us can barely imagine. From not being able to manage daily tasks like shopping, to struggling with huge life steps like getting work, a house or even medical treatment, limited literacy and numeracy breaks a bond with society and limits our ability to participate, feel safe and thrive.

Rightly labelled as a crisis, adult education providers have stepped in to close the divide and serve those who need both literacy and numeracy skills while simultaneously providing training pathways to employment and careers.

Foundation Skills in the VET System (FSK) was first released in 2013 and is specifically designed to connect people to the learning and working journey. In this context, foundation skills refer to literacy, numeracy, language and technology, which are needed to successfully engage in education and succeed in the workplace. Merged into vocational training, FSKs are an inclusive, seamless solution that bridges gaps, fills our students with the skills to embrace change and flourish in their new opportunity in multi-dimensional ways.

We know that learning is not always linear, often interrupted and, for a whole range of reasons, can be missed all together. That’s why adult education must teach through the lens that learning is a lifelong journey and everyone begins at very different stages with a very different pre-existing skill set.

Understanding how to overcome barriers to learning is as critical as understanding the course material because it’s the barriers that can lead to drop out, disengagement, overwhelm or not feeling empowered enough to take the first step to learning at all. At Byron Community College, we see the gaps and reach in to fill them so that everyone has the opportunity to learn.

Get in touch with our team at any time to discuss study pathways, no matter how long it’s been since you were in a class, or at what level your literacy currently stands.

We hope to see you at the College soon!

  • Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Australia, 2011-2012, Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013)

A Brand New Space for Byron Community College in Mullumbimby

Just a short stroll across the road from our Mullumbimby campus courtyard is our brand new addition for classrooms, student and learning support.

38 Gordon Street (which we lovingly call The Gordon Street Shed) is open for business and we are looking forward to seeing it filled with learning.

This has been a welcome and exciting addition as we continue to move through the huge job of rebuilding the ground floor of the main campus, giving us so much more space for both certificate and general courses, as well as new space to support our students throughout the year.

All enquiries must still go through the administration team via the Byron Bay campus or by phone on 02 6684 3374 until the ground floor of the original Mullumbimby site is rebuilt (and we are excited to keep you updated as that continues to unfold).

In the meantime, never stop learning, adapting and growing at Byron Community College!

Training Services NSW Visits Byron Community College

We were privileged and honoured to be visited by three senior members of Training Services NSW earlier this week who travelled from Sydney and Lismore to visit the Mullumbimby campus and see first-hand how the recent floods have affected the College and our students.

Training Services NSW is a Division of the Department of Education focused on supporting and improving training outcomes in adult education for the people of NSW. David Collins (Executive Director), Mathew Pearson (Director, Training Market Design) and Phil Borrow (Regional Manager, Lismore) each came to show their support for the College and our recovery.

It was uplifting to share the plans we have to continue our important work in the community during the clean-up and in the years to come. As the demolition phase of our reconstruction comes to an end, we are very much looking forward to sharing news of the rebuild phase and all the exciting things on the horizon.

Image Left to Right: Mathew Pearson, Phil Borrow, Richard Vinycomb, David Collins

50% DISCOUNT For Flood Affected Residents!

All Term 2 general courses are available at 50% off the full fee* for anyone who has been affected by the floods thanks to the Northern Rivers Flood Relief Fund.

This amazing grant means there is a way to de-stress, escape the grind and finally do something fun, even if just for a little while.

All you need to do is use the code 50FLOOD at the checkout when you enrol online.

If you can’t enrol online, simply send an email to with your name, phone number and the name of the course you want to enrol in or call us on 02 6684 3374. Our amazing Admin team will then contact you and organise your 50% off.

Get in touch as soon as you can before funding runs out.

View our full Course Program Here. We hope to see you at the college soon!

*50% off the full fee for general courses only, one course per person, first in first served until funding runs out.

We’re Back and Getting Ready to Open the Doors for Term 2

Just because we’re still scraping mud out from under our nails doesn’t mean that Term 2 fell in a hole…in fact it’s a huge part of the reason we’re getting ready to rumble!

We’ve been working hard to get the College up and running again so we are thrilled to announce that Term 2 enrolments are now open.

After plenty of juggling, sorting, re-evaluating and re-scheduling, the classes that we can run will be run from both our Byron Bay campus and the Laneway Studio at our Mullumbimby campus.

Offering as much variety as always, we have everything on offer from Crochet to Languages, Music, Business, Art, Computers, Golf, Sewing, Cooking, Reiki and more.

All the details are available online. Don’t forget to spend some time scrolling through our brand new Term 2 Program HERE, now in digital format with clickable links that will take you to any course page where you can learn more or enrol.

Please note that our Mullumbimby Administration Office is a construction site and is currently CLOSED.

For this reason, we ask that you enrol or enquire either:

1. Online (
2. By Phone (02 6684 3374)
3. At the Byron Bay Campus (new operating hours are 9.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday)

We are breathing life back into the College. Remember, fee free and subsidised places are available for some courses so check your eligibility online or give us a call. We hope to see you in Term 2!

The Clean Up Begins

The images above give you an idea of the scope we are working with as we move day by day towards getting the College back up and running. It’s a massive job. You can see just how much mud was left behind after the flood waters receded and they are still removing this sludge from the road outside even today, two weeks after the fact!

We have received so many messages of support and offers of help from our community. Thank you for reaching out, it means so much to us and really does keep us going! We’ll keep you posted as the repairs take place and look forward to bringing you good news as the work continues to unfold.

Time for Healing – Byron Community College Temporarily Closed

While the College is temporarily closed, we are as busy as ever behind the construction tape cleaning and rebuilding after the most devastating flood our region has seen.

The ground floor of our Mullumbimby campus was inundated including the office, classrooms and courtyard. We have made steady progress in the clean-up with the incredible support from an amazing group of staff and volunteers, though we still have a long way to go.

Unfortunately, almost every course for the remainder of Term 1 has had to be cancelled and refunds will be underway very soon. We are working hard to restore our communications systems and will be in contact with you as soon as possible.

However you have been impacted by these floods, we dearly hope you are receiving the support you need and recovery is underway.

Welcome to 2022 – We Are Officially Open for Business

Classes started up for the year just yesterday, so we are officially off and running!

In classic Byron College style, the versatility within our team and course offerings this year is matched by the wide and wonderful members of our student community.

We are incredibly fortunate to draw from this well in the Byron Shire, building a culture that is diverse, authentic, committed and engaged. This is just one of the reasons students travel from as far north as the Gold Coast and Brisbane, and as far South as Coffs Harbour, to study here, and this year is no exception.

Jam packed with everything from nationally accredited training (that forms the basis for brand new career horizons, pathways to further learning and promotion), along with a vast array of short courses and workshops, everything you need to keep your mind, creative flair and thirst for knowledge alive and well is here. With a large number of course fees subsidised through the Smart and Skilled and ACE Program funding*, fee-free places are available and most New South Wales residents are eligible.

It’s the perfect package of high-quality, professional adult education mixed with hands on, real life, student-centered care and something we are very proud to deliver. Term 1 runs through to Monday 11th April to don’t forget to check out the Term 1 Brochure soon and call the College at any time if you have any questions on 02 6684 3374.

We hope to see you at the college soon!

*This training is subsidised by the NSW Government.

Risk Free Enrolments Protected by our Refund Policy

Sometimes it can feel like a leap of faith making a commitment to much at all right now and we want to make sure this doesn’t get in the way of any learning, upskilling or fun you have your eye on at Byron College this year.

In line with our College philosophy of removing as many barriers to learning as possible, and our COVID Policy, if you are unable to attend because you have possible COVID-19 symptoms, or have had contact with a known case of COVID-19, you will receive a full or partial refund, in balance with the percentage of the course or workshop you were not able to attend.

The College may, as a result of a change in health and safety conditions, need to reschedule or cancel a class and you are guaranteed a full refund in these cases, or alternatively, you will have the opportunity to re-enrol in another class.

As College life gears up for 2022, we are looking forward to delivering our Term 1 Program and hope that by knowing we are fully committed to protecting your investment, this will be at least one place where we can proceed as planned!

Enrol online or give us a call on 6684 3374 to talk to our friendly team who are here to answer any questions you have.

Wishing our Community a Very Merry Christmas

As the year comes to a close it’s wonderful to see all of our amazing students who have been working hard to complete their qualifications and start getting ready for new adventures in 2022. We want to personally wish everyone who has studied with us throughout the year great success and many rewards to come from their studies.

We are looking forward to another packed out program with about 600 courses being run throughout 2022. Kicking off in January, there will be a lot of teaching, learning and friendship building to be found at the College day and night!

Just a reminder to everyone that as recipients of the NSW Government Skills for Recovery initiative, we have fee free and subsidised places available in all Accredited courses and most residents of NSW are eligible so check out our page * Nationally Recognised Training:

The College will be closed from 23 December 2021 through to 3 January 2022. You can enrol online any time throughout the break.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the whole team. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Mandy Nolan Hands On The Comedy Baton

Byron Community College recently acknowledged Mandy Nolan, one of the College’s longest standing tutors for an incredible twenty two years of teaching comedy at the College!

In the words of Richard Vinycomb, Director: “Thanks for sacrificing four thousand virgins. Thanks for making this community a funnier place. Thanks for pricking all the social consciences. Thanks for two vocational outcomes. Thanks for being such a great friend and support of adult learning. Thanks for believing in a better world…and saying it in so many ways.”

Alison Pearl, Byron Community College’s President originally approached Mandy to teach comedy to which Mandy responded…'You can’t teach comedy" but thankfully Mandy went away and worked out a few exercises and agreed. Turns out you can teach comedy after all!

As Mandy takes a break from teaching she passes the baton on to fellow comedian, colleague and friend Greg Sullivan who will be teaching the ever popluar Stand Up Comedy classes at Byron Community College.

Byron Community College Student National Finalist

Rosie de Grosbois has been announced as one of 8 finalists across Australia in the Community Colleges Australia (CCA) Community Education Student of the Year Awards. Rosie who hails from Indonesia originally, recently completed her 'Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing and Disability) at Byron Community College.

Initially hesitant to study given her fear of writing and completing assessments in English (her second language) Rosie put these challenges aside to achieve the qualifications she needed to follow her dream of furthering her career from a part time assistant to working full time as a skilled aged carer.

"My writing was such a challenge in the beginning and I really struggled the first 3 months. “The tutors and student support were fantastic. They helped me with my writing and completing assessments. I never thought I'd be able to write well in English and now I can” says Rosie.

“Rosie's dedication and determination to further herself and never give up when facing her English challenges was inspiring. To see her overcome her writing issues and the confidence that gave her coupled with her qualifications was a joy for all of us at the College to witness” says Richard Vinycomb, Byron Community College Director.

"To have a student nominated as a finalist for the second year in a row, is an honour for the tutors and staff for the quality of education and the opportunities these qualifications can give someone in improving their lives through education. As in Rosie’s case and so many others we see through the College, it is never too late to learn."

Rosie exudes compassion, warmth and care, qualities that will see her in great stead in her chosen career of Disability and Ageing. "I have always loved working with people, making them smile and being part of the community."

The Community Education Student of the Year award recognises students across Australia who have undertaken formal qualifications and address the criteria of career and study achievements, communication, team and leadership skills as well as community service involvement. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 19 November at a ‘Gala Awards Dinner’ in Brisbane.

Enrolments for Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing/Disability) CHC33015 are now open.

Students and Staff Celebrating Adult Learners Week

September 2019

Byron Community College recently celebrated the joys and benefits of adult education as part of Adult Learners Week. Across all ages, abilities, the motivation for adult learning is for a myriad of reasons ranging from acquiring new career skills, learning new hobbies to social connection to name a few.

This year The College again celebrated their student’s, tutors and team’s achievements and contributions within the adult learning community with a ‘home grown’ morning tea attended by Mayor Simon Richardson. Permaculture and Horticulture students harvested their crops from the Mullumbimby Community Gardens to raise funds for their upcoming permablitz project at their new space at gardens. The morning also included a ‘guess the weight of the pumpkin’ competition which came in at a whopping 8kg!

The event was another wonderful example of how important the social community benefits of coming together through education can be. This coming together took place in our vibrant College courtyard, the hub of the College which is currently getting a spring makeover.

Simon Richardson commended students on taking the plunge into further education.

“We need education in our community. The College is a perfect example of being part of our community and adding to our community.” Says Mayor Richardson.

Directory Richard Vinycomb who has been at the helm for the past 20 years has seen first hand the evolution of adult education in our community as course needs change to suit the community needs.
“The most significant change has been the increase in Permaculture and sustainability related courses.”

The Term 4 course progam is now available with exciting new courses such as Introduction to Floristry, Education and Employment Skills, Introduction to Early Childhood Education and Care and Caring for Water Systems to name a few.

“With over 3,000 student enrolments The College program truly is a community involvement, from tutors, students, venues across the Shire in a commitment to making education as accessible as possible to all” continues Richard.

So in keeping with the theme of this year’s Adult Learner’s Week, ‘what are you waiting for?’ take that plunge, sign up for a course and learn something new. It really is never too late to learn.

Adult Learners Week Competition Winners!

October 2018

We were touched to read so many great stories from the entrants to our Adult Learners Week Competition. Hearing how this college helps to change lives is a wonderful inspiration for us all here at the college.

1st place $200 voucher: Liam Stephenson
2nd place $100 voucher: Bianca Hill
3rd place $50 voucher: Martin Killips

This is Liam’s winning story:
'Learning through the Byron Community College reinvigorated my passion for education as it was the first time I had embarked on an educational pursuit that went beyond the scope of education for a job. I am a qualified primary school teacher who believes there needs to be more diversity in schools. This course was my decision to up skill myself so that I had something more valuable to offer. I gained the confidence to run my own workshops, create my own products and go on a 2 year adventure travelling the world furthering my education. My whole perspective on life has changed and I’m excited to share this with the world. I am now in the process of starting my own company to inspire our youth to reevaluate education and understand its power in manifesting the life we desire.

Thank you Byron Community College.'

Adult Learners Week Competition

August 2018
ALW 18
To celebrate Adult Learner’s Week 2018 we are giving away 3 vouchers to use towards any of our general courses!

1st Prize – Win a $200 Voucher
2nd Prize – Win a $100 Voucher
3rd Prize – Win a $50 Voucher

Where to send it: Email your story to
Subject line: ALW Competition
Closing Date: Entries close 5pm Friday the 31st August 2018

To enter, tell us in 150 words or less about your experience of learning with Byron Community College and how the course you did with us affected you or changed your life in a positive way. The experience of adult education that is important and we want to hear your local stories and pass them on so it doesn’t matter if you did the course a few years ago or a few months ago. Please include your full name, contact details and the name of the course you did.

Conditions: The winning stories will be notified via email by the 6th September. All stories submitted may be used for future publicity to help spread the word about the importance of adult education. The college would appreciate a photograph from winning recipients. Winning vouchers are valid for one year from 19th September for any general course.

Good Luck!

Byron College graduate gains employment with Byron Shire Council

July 2018

Leon Dawes undertook the Byron Shire Council Pre-emplyment Program delivered by Byron Community College from February – June in 2018. As a result of his participation Leon has been offered a full time traineeship as an Enforcement Officer with Byron Shire Council.

Manager of People and Culture at Byron Shire Council Kylie Armstrong said that partnerships with training providers like Byron Community College are proving invaluable when it comes to achieving organisational goals of attracting, developing and retaining a diverse multi-generational workforce. The council has a focus of increasing the representation of young people (those born after 1980) as a percentage of their workforce.

The Pre-employment training is planned again for 2019

Sourdough Innovation Hub @ Byron Community College’s Mullumbimby Campus

April 2018

The Byron Community College in collaboration with Sourdough Business Pathways have recently helped manage an upgrade of the incubator units located at the college’s Mullumbimby Campus.

Sourdough are looking for growing local businesses to inspire, mentor and support while leasing these low cost, highly services spaces . “We are particularly interested in businesses that can scale up to interstate and/or international markets and provide employment outcomes for the local community” explains Paul Jameson, a Sourdough representative. “Many businesses fail to expand due to a lack of professional advice and resourcing. We want to help those local businesses undertake further business planning, set and review performance indicators and accelerate their business performance. We will offer this support through access to compatible business entrepreneurs, mentors and a range of education and networking events.”

The mentor program will stimulate innovation and business growth. “The intention is to create a vibrant collaborative and connected space for small businesses to grow and thrive” says the Hub’s Expert in Residence, Stuart Picken. Based on values of ethical practice, ecological sustainability, innovative solutions to social problems, collaboration and community, the culture will be stimulating and dynamic, facilitating the cross fertilisation of ideas amongst likeminded tenants and mentors.

For more information on the Mullumbimby Incubator Space head to

Permaculutre project at RSL Lifecare in Suffolk Park

February 2018

Lauren O’Reilly undertook the Certificate IV in Permaculture at Byron Community College in 2017. As part of the Certificate IV course Lauren was required to undertake practical design and implementation projects, one of which was the RSL Life Care complex located in Suffolk Park, Byron Bay.

This project was funded by the Maggie Beer Wellbeing Gardens Program, an initiative started in 2015 to incorporate gardens in to aged care facilities across Victoria and has now extended to other states. “The garden at the RSL had two objectives; To create a well-being garden that created a meaningful activity for the residents that wanted to be involved and in turn providing fresh fruits and vegetables for them” says Lauren.

Lauren reports that getting the residents involved was the best part. "One of the residents was quite physically abled and bored so he got very involved, helping plant seedlings and seeds as well as mulch. His grandson came to visit in the middle of it and they mulched the seedlings together which was really nice."

Lauren runs her permaculture design and gardening business, Free Range Change in the Byron Bay region. "I’ve done a few different things with the business, orchard restoration, garden maintenance and teaching on a PDC. I want to encourage people to get into their own gardens. We all need to make change so it’s about showing people that change can be fun and creative and individual."

College Opening Hours Over The Holidays

The College offices will be closed from the 21st December and reopen on the 3rd January.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Term 3 Photo Comp Winners Announced Term 3 Photo Comp Winners

Congratulations to the Term 3 photo comp winners!
1st place $250 voucher - @shivaelementalimagery
2nd place $100 voucher - @bytheoceanbythesea
3rd place $50 voucher - @y.devii_king
A massive thanks to all who contributed their photos!
We will be running the same competition for Term 4 students – so get snapping and tagging @byroncollege #byroncollege

Byron College Open Day – Adult Learners Week – Recap

The Byron Community College Open Day was held last month as apart of Adult Learners Week.

It was a lovely afternoon filled with delicious food provided by many local farmers, grocers, cafes, and lovingly prepared by the College staff.

Tutors created eye-catching and engaging displays of their courses and spoke about the features and benefits of obtaining certifications in their fields.

Guest speakers included the Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, and Greens MP Tamara Smith. Thank you for sharing your experiences and passion for Adult Learning!

Thanks also to local musician Tim Stokes for providing the atmosphere with his catchy tunes and fairy lights!

Byron College Open Day

Byron College Open Day

Byron College Open Day

Byron College Open Day

Byron College Open Day

Byron College Open Day – Adult Learners Week

Byron College Open Day

Understanding Aquaponics Understanding Aquaponics

Aquaponics is the future of food. Using less water than a veggie patch, it is natural occurring ecosystem which produces fish and veggies in a small space. The aquaculture system uses the nutrient rich waste produced by the fish to feed edible plants. The plants clean the water which is returned to the fish tanks, providing you with fresh fish, fruit and vegetables to eat straight from your own yard.

We will show you how to grow the most nutritious seafood and vegetables with very little effort. By the end of this course you will have a basic understanding of how an aquaponics systems works and the ability to go away and create your own home systems.

Renew Fest 2017 Renew Fest 2017

RENEW FEST is a celebration of sustainable change in ACTION happening Saturday May 6 and Sunday May 7, 2017 in Mullumbimby, NSW.

Set under magnificent fig trees in the lush foothills of Mt Chincogan, this community collaboration brings together an inspiring collection of hearts and minds to showcase cellular intelligence for sustainable futures. Feeding your heart and mind Renew Fest will ripen your world.

Renew Fest, seeded by COREM, is the start of a potent movement to renew many facets of our communities livelihood and this beautiful earth. With your support it has grown into a 2 day lived experience festival of sustainability in May 2017.

Solar Batteries and Community Bulk Buy “Solar

Do you want to expand your solar PV system, get your first one, or get a battery? COREM is combining forces with Enova Community to run a solar and battery bulk buy in partnership with SunCrowd across the Northern Rivers! The bulk buy reduces prices and gives you the opportunity to come to a community meeting in April.

For every solar PV system installed, COREM (and Enova Community) will receive a payment through Suncrowd’s Community Benefit Scheme that we can put towards installing more solar, as well as our campaign to move the area to 100% renewable energy!

More info:

Evolving Sculpture on Mullumbimby – Art Forum with Suvira McDonald and guests

Evolving Sculpture on Mullumbimby

This is an exciting time for the cultural character of Mullumbimby and for artists of this region. How will public art feature in the Mullumbimby Master plan? How do we interpret the concept of ‘site specific’ public art? How will new public art be commissioned along the Mullumbimby Sculpture Walk? Explore these questions with guest speakers, Sydney-based public art curator Eva Rodriguez Riestra and local artist Joey Ruigrok van der Werven.

Morning tea will be provided

For further information or to enrol click HERE or
Call our offices on 6684 3374 or go online at

Welcome Kate Mountford

Kate Mountford - Foundation Skills
Byron Community College would like to welcome our newest addition Kate Mountford, who will be taking over Patrea’s role as our new Foundation Skills Tutor.

Kate has recently moved to the area after spending some time in Nepal for the past few months, assisting in the building of schools.

Kate believes that a lot of people have been held back from pursuing further studies in their youth due to a rigid education system, which can sometimes limit our own self belief.This is why her passion is to help people achieve their goals by realising their own potential.

We are just as excited as Kate to have her on board the Byron Community College team and look forward to kicking off Term 1 this week!

Welcome to 2017!Permaculture 2016

2016 has been a massive year with high participation across all our programs. Over 400 courses ran and over 2,500 students learnt new skills and explored their interests. This year, a majority of our vocational students received a fee subsidy through the NSW Government Smart and Skilled initiative, allowing training to be made accessible for those who may not have previously been able to afford full fees.

Another of our significant industry qualifications, Certificate III in Individual Support, ran as a dual stream (Ageing and Disability) for the first time. This allowed students to attain qualifications in both fields at the same time, offering up more work options for 2017 with the roll out of the NDIS. Many students from this qualification and Children’s Services benefited from extensive work experience throughout their course, which in turn has led to new employment opportunities.

With the College being recognised highly on both a regional and a state level, our busy and creative team are continually working to improve our systems to provide the highest quality lifestyle and vocational programs run conveniently close to home. 2017 sees exciting new offerings such as the Certificate IV in Visual Arts and accredited studies in Microbusiness. We’re also expanding on our small business project hub and mentoring program, leading to real outcomes for new and existing businesses. And along the way, there’s even a plan for new and upgraded premises in Byron Bay to complement our Mullumbimby HQ and accommodate the exciting new activity ahead.

We are so blessed in the Byron Region to work with active community businesses and cultural organisations. We have developed key relationships with those with whom we share a common bond, and are seen as the premier adult community education organisation for the Shire. We continue our commitment to investing in our community and providing great benefit to all. Our quality and integrity is supported by Government at all 3 levels and our work has been showcased at conferences nationally.

If you have done one or many of our courses, we invite you to come back. If you are a prospective new student, have a good look at these pages or our website and see what is out there for yourself, friends and family. And if you need to be convinced just look at the stories of other students or have a chat to one of our friendly staff. Remember it’s easy and reliable to enrol on-line.

Richard Vinycomb

Fee-Free Scholarships for 15-30 year olds Permaculture 2016

From 1 July 2015, young people (aged 15-30) who meet certain criteria will be eligible for a NSW Government subsidy* which covers their fees in the following courses with Byron Community College in 2016:

  • Certificate III Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30113)
    Mondays and Tuesdays
    12th October 2015 – 24th May 2016, 9am – 3:30pm
    (There will be no classes between 15 December through until the 25 January)
  • Certificate III in Horticulture (AHC30710)
    Commencing mid-2016

Applications for these fee-free scholarships are now open and places are limited so a funded place cannot be guaranteed. Once the state-wide allocation has been filled, only students who meet the Fee-Free Scholarship eligibility criteria and are living in, or on the wait list for NSW social housing, are guaranteed a scholarship.

There is the potential for subsidised fee-free scholarships for the following courses in 2016. We are currently taking enquiries for these courses so please contact the College on 02 6684 3374 or email

  • Certificate IV Small Business (BSB40407)
    1 workshop per month 1st Saturday of every month
    5th March – 10th December 2016, 9am – 4pm
  • Certificate III Aged Care (CHC30212)
    3rd February – 29th June 2016, 9am – 4pm
  • Certificate III in Permaculture (30868QLD)
    Tuesdays and Wednesdays
    26th April – 7th December 2016, 9am – 3:30pm
  • Certificate IV in Permaculture (30869QLD)
    Wednesdays and Thursdays
    17th February – 8th December 2016, 9am – 3:30pm

Please call our offices on 02 6684 3374 for more information on eligibility criteria.

*This training is subsidised by the NSW Government

Sustainable House Day 2015

Sustainable House Day 2015

2014 Design Competition winning entry from

The Sustainable Housing for Life Design Competition 2015 is now open to residents, architects, designers and young people in the Northern Rivers. Interested people can find more information and enter here .

The Sustainable Housing for Life Design Competition, Showcase Awards Event & Expo is a joint project by Self Seed Sustainability, Lismore City Council, Byron Shire Council, Tweed Shire Council, The Green Building Centre, Nimbin Neighbourhood & Information Centre, North Coast TAFE, Rous Water, Byron Community College & Dorroughby Environment Educational Centre.

With a share of over $5,000 in cash and prizes, interested entrants are encouraged to visit the Sustainable House Day 2015 website.

    • Entries close Friday 4 September 2015
    • Sustainable House Day Expo and Design Showcase & Awards – Saturday 19 September 2015
    • Entries will be displayed at venues in Tweed, Byron Shire and Lismore Council areas

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said last year’s competition generated great local conversations.

“It stimulated ideas and demonstrated ways we can live sustainably in a small space. With rising housing affordability, looking at best practice housing designs that have a light environmental footprint is an outcome that many families are aspiring to achieve,” he said.

Last year’s design competition saw 50 entries that were enjoyed by over 1,000 viewers. The 2015 Design Competition will culminate in a Showcase Awards and Expo at Lismore City Hall on Saturday 19 September – so residents will be able to view the entries, meet the designers and vote for their favourite design.

“This year the designs will demonstrate ecological, social and economic sustainability – it's a triple bottom line approach that speaks volumes for the future sustainability of our region and it's contribution to the planet,” said Vanessa Tallon from Lismore City Council.

“The world's first carbon-positive prefab home has only just hit the market in Australia, and people are loving it. Called the Archi+ Carbon Positive House, it's been on display in Melbourne's City Square and its so efficient it can put energy back into the grid'. With all the hype for easy to build, modular sustainable homes, we thought we'd bring it to our local designers and sustainable home lovers,” said Event Coordinator Alice Moffett from Self Seed Sustainability.

Sanctuary magazine, a publication by the Alternative Technology Association is currently profiling twelve of the best modular and prefab creations on Aussie soil. Stating that Australia has been relatively slow to embrace the premade dwelling, a growing number of designers are now offering prefab alternatives to meet the demand for affordable and hassle-free housing. The designs and stylish and pre-fabulous!

Now the Northern Rivers is invited to join the movement and show their best by designing the most sustainable modular home designed for the sub-tropics.

Free Energy Saving Workshops

with Katrina Shields, Sustainability Education Coordinator
Free Energy Saving Workshops

Are you finding your energy bills are too high? Most households and community facilities are able to cut their bills significantly with a combination of behaviour change, understanding how heat and cold can be retained or reflected from a space and with the retro fitting of equipment. Some of this is low cost such as draft sealing, creating shade or letting in light, or pelmets. Others options cost more but pay for themselves sooner than you might think, such as insulation, highly efficient LED lighting, water saving showerheads or solar hot water systems. Knowing how to choose efficient appliances such fridges or heaters can make a real difference. Do you know about ‘vampire power’ that is equipment left on standby that sucks energy day and night for little benefit. Even if you do not own the building, there are many things as a renter you can do to cut your bills.

Byron Community College is offering two free workshops, supported by Byron Council on July 30th and August 10th, run by Sustainability educator Katrina Shields. Free energy saving kits, with the basics to get you started, are available to participants from low income households. Make a booking now – email or phone 66843374 in office hours.

Mullumbimby Sculpture Walk

Mullumbimby Sculpture Walk

The Mullumbimby Sculpture Walk is set to become the beginning of a major cultural statement for Mullumbimby. Public Sculpture will become an expression of the town’s identity in the years to come as plans for the Sculpture Walk develop and unfold. Mullumbimby is renowned for it’s creative culture and the Mullumbimby Sculpture Walk will be a showcase of public art from artists of the region.

Each week, local group Creative Mullum is publishing a new YouTube video called Voices of Mullum, which feature local opinions on the future sculpture walk. In the first video, leading project artist Suvira McDonald is interviewed and shares his story of the 8 years of planning that has already gone into this project. You can find all the latest videos plus more information on the project archived on the Mullum Sculpture Walk site .

A dedicated team of professionals are driving the fundraising for the project – their aim is to raise $10,000 in 6 weeks which will then be matched dollar for dollar by the Creative Partnerships Australia’s MATCH program. The team have raised 40% of their target at the time of this going to air, so if you’d like to get on board and make a contribution head over to here . All donations are tax deductible.

Business Pathways Program – Supporting SMEs Business Pathways Program

The Byron Region Community College is kicking off a new program designed to support small to medium enterprises (SME’s) in the Northern Rivers Region of NSW.

Funded by a local philanthropist the Business Pathways Program (BPP) has been set up to provide timely, relevant and affordable assistance to SME’s to help to stimulate growth and prosperity in our region. There are a range of services available including mentoring, training and access to expert advice. We understand that SME’s are the backbone of our regional economy, that a healthy local economy is dependent on healthy businesses and that jobs growth will occur if we have a vigorous local economy. The BPP provides mentoring and specialised business services within the Northern Rivers and is targeted at business owners looking for practical support to improve their businesses. It connects them with retired or semi-retired business people who want to contribute to their community by offering their experience and skills via mentoring. The BPP has multiple entry points depending on the business size and is open to anyone who wants to grow or develop their business.

Paul Jameson will be heading up the BPP. He has extensive experience in the corporate world, small business and business facilitation and advice. If you have a small or medium sized business and could use some assistance, why not give Paul a call and see he may be able to help.

For more information on this program call Paul Jameson on 0408 866 651 or email, or head over to the website here

Skill Sets Explained – 2015 Funded Short Courses Skill Sets Explained

Get the skills you need to find a job and advance your career with our new government funded short courses. These subsidised Skills Sets* provide a fantastic new opportunity for you to kick start your new career by providing an invaluable stepping stone to further study and work opportunities. Once you have completed one of our short courses you can then go on to complete the full qualification later in the year. This is your chance to change your life through gaining new skills, experience and confidence so get in quick – limited places available.

If you are eligible for subsidised training, you pay only a portion of the training cost. The rest is subsidised by the NSW Government. Eligibility criteria apply and full fee exemptions are available for some students. Click here for detailed information on each of our Skill Sets

Term 4 Skill Sets

Byron Community College is currently taking enrolments for the following Skill sets:


The course covers 4 units from the 30868QLD Certificate III in Permaculture.
Two days a week: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9am – 3.30pm
Starts 17th November 2015 – 23rd December 2015
Concession: $80 Full fee: $159 (Additional Resource Fee applies to all enrolments $90)


Held in Mullumbimby the course covers 9 units from the CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.
Starts 12th October 2015 – 16th February 2016
Two days a week: Mondays and Tuesdays, 9am – 4pm
Concession: $80 Full fee: $201 (Additional Resource Fee applies to all enrolments $90)


Held in Mullumbimby the course covers 4 units related to running a small business.
Saturdays, 9.30am – 12.30pm
Starts 21st November 2015 – 19th December 2015
Concession: $80 Full fee: $140 (No Resource Fee)

Am I Eligible?

To be eligible for any of these subsidised skills sets you must be:

  • An Australian citizen, permanent resident or humanitarian visa holder, or New Zealand citizen
  • Living or working in NSW and have has not attained a qualification beyond a Certificate III level
  • Aged 15 years or older

There are 3 fee levels:

  • Level 1 – Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islanders, people with a disability or their dependants (Fee Free)
  • Level 2 – Long term unemployed, migrant, refugee, low income people on an applicable benefit or their dependants who can provide proof of hardship or disadvantage (Concession)
  • Level 3 – Any NSW resident with Certificate III or below (Full Fee)

Byron Community College needs to obtain evidence from you at the time of enrolment to demonstrate which of the fee levels you would be entitled to. The details of the information and evidence required, is set out in the Evidence and Fee Schedule (download Schedule 2). Please discuss when enquiring or enrolling with our friendly staff.

*This training is subsidised by the NSW Government

Unique Student Identifier (USI) – bringing your skills together

From the 1st of January 2015, any student enrolling in an Accredited Training course will be required to obtain a USI. The USI helps to keep your training records and results together in an online account which is controlled by you. By having a USI you will be able to access your training records and results (or transcript) whenever you need them. For example, for a new employer or when you enrol to study at a new training organisation.

The process for obtaining a USI is simple. You can logon to the USI website at and follow the simple instructions online to create your USI. This then needs to be provided to your training provider at the time of enrolment.

Before you apply for a USI you will need to have one form of identification on you to complete the application process. These include:

  • Driver’s Licence
  • Medicare Card
  • Australian Passport
  • Visa (with Non-Australian Passport) for international students
  • Birth Certificate (Australian) *please note a Birth Certificate extract is not sufficient
  • Certificate Of Registration By Descent
  • Citizenship Certificate
  • ImmiCard

Student Information

As a Byron Community College student, you have access to information regarding policies relating to your training. These include your rights and responsibilities and avenues for complaint as laid out in the Student Handbook.

Byron Community College Repair Cafe

What do you do with a broken chair? Or with a bike that chucks a wobbly? Or with a tear in your pants? TOSS IT ??………NO WAY !!

Discover why Byron Community College is implementing this initiative that is seeking volunteers who share the same values when it comes to taking care of the environment and maintaining a sustainable community. People with a skill and/or passion for sewing, bicycle repairs, carpentry etc. are invited to offer their time with advice and some assistance for people to effectively repair their broken items from home. Examples are clothes, bikes, toys, chairs, crockery.

By promoting repairs, we will help reduce mountains of waste. "We throw away piles of stuff; even things which have practically nothing wrong with them, and which could easily be used again after a simple repair. Many people have forgotten that they can have things repaired. Fortunately they can learn to fix them again."

Repair Café is also meant to put community in touch with each other in a new way. It answers the need for skill sharing, mentoring and social inclusion. According to Café Co-ordinator Ken Bright, "If you repair a bike or a pair of trousers and do it together with someone you haven’t yet met, a positive connection can emerge. Jointly making repairs can lead to interesting new contacts in the community."

Repairs can save money and resources, and can help minimise CO2 emissions. “But above all, Repair Café just wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is.” As the Café is run by volunteers it is essentially free except for small donations towards running costs and materials fees.

The Repair Café concept arose in Amsterdam, where the Repair Café Foundation has regularly been organising gatherings since 2010 (see The Repair Café Mullumbimby will operate from the Mullumbimby campus of the Byron Community College in the courtyard workshop.

Adult Learners Week Competition Winners

Adult learners week runs annually throughout Australia, and gives us the chance to really focus on the benefits that come from continuing our education beyond our schooling years. For the last 2 years Byron Community College has given its students (both past and present) a chance to win themselves course vouchers up to the value of $200 towards their next learning experience with us. Students were encouraged to share their experience of learning and we had some amazing entries come in. Congratulations to the following four people who were super happy to learn of their win:

1st Prize – $200 voucher: Tai O’Connor
2nd Prize – $100 voucher: Julie Meek
3rd Prize – $50 voucher: Leanne Bridgland AND Jenny Smith (tied for a voucher each)

Presenting 1st Prize winner Tai O’Connor with his $200 course voucher. Here’s what he had to say about his experience with Byron Community College which won him the top prize:

There are multiple reasons why I love Byron Community College, they are as follows (in no particular order) – 1. The amazing connections I have made with both my peers and teachers alike. 2. The course and its content. 3. The ecological design of the buildings and the overall emphasis on sustainability. I am studying a Certificate 3 in Permaculture and I cannot recommend this course enough, it has been such an eye opening, interactive, informative and fun experience. The knowledge I have gained truly is invaluable and the confidence I have developed through this learning and friendships I have made over this period are really special and just keep on growing. There are a wide range of courses available at Byron Community College where diversity is celebrated so I strongly encourage anyone thinking of studying to enrol, you won’t look back.