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The Department of Education and Training Victoria (DET), recognises that many students from disadvantaged families are less likely to have the social networks and support to actively engage in their career journey.  Vulnerable students may be struggling with self-defeating inner stories that inhibit their ability to choose and follow meaningful life/career journey and often result in them giving up on themselves and their future.

To support career practitioners to provide targeted career education support to vulnerable students, Gray Poehnell will deliver a series of workshops across Victoria.  His workshops will focus on a strength-based approach to career education which will demonstrate alternative tools and activities that cultivate hope and accessibility, particularly for those who are experiencing disadvantages and multi-barriers to education, training and employment. This includes cohorts such as Koorie youth, youth involved in the justice system, from asylum seeker and refugee families, out of home care, and young people with a disability.

This approach stimulates hope by facilitating a self-discovery through a wide range of activities that provide people with a greater awareness of who they are and what they can do. It enables people to see that there is much more to them than their problems; it gives them a new story full of possibility.

There will be 10 x two-day workshops across Victoria in the following locations:

Melbourne CBD (venue TBC) - 28 February & 1 March 2019

Melbourne CBD (venue TBC) - 5 & 6 March 2019

Melbourne CBD (venue TBC) - 12 & 13 March 2019

Melbourne CBD (venue TBC) - 14 & 15 March 2019 

Dandenong (venue TBC) - 18 & 19 March 2019

Morwell (venue TBC) - 21 & 22 March 2019

Bendigo (venue TBC) - 25 & 26 March 2019

Benalla (venue TBC) - 28 & 29 March 2019

Horsham (venue TBC) - 1 & 2 April 2019

Torquay (venue TBC) - 4 & 5 April 2019



Gray Poehnell is an experienced career consultant from Canada with over 29 years’ experience in career development, with a strong focus on holistic approaches that cultivate hope, practical spirituality, creativity, imagination, and career integrity. As partner to Dr. Norm Amundson in Ergon Communications, he has participated in the development and writing of numerous career counselling projects, programs, and resources (including several workbooks: Career Pathways, Career Crossroads, CareerScope, and Guiding Circles).

Having worked with diverse client populations (such as Aboriginals, youth, social assistance recipients, older adults, immigrants, professionals, and multi-barriered clients), Gray is widely recognised for his dynamic training of career practitioners both nationally and internationally. Gray is of Metis descent (one of the 3 Indigenous groups in Canada) and since 2002 has been developing career approaches and tools that reflect values, such as spirituality, community, and life balance, which are integral to the lives of many people, including Aboriginal peoples.

Through books, workshops, conference sessions, and keynotes, he has presented the Hope-Filled Engagement approach (as reflected in Guiding Circles) to several thousand career practitioners, who work with indigenous peoples and other vulnerable client or student groups that benefit from a more holistic approach. He is currently working on a new book with the working title A Better Story to assist people to craft a better story for themselves that connects with who they truly are and that can sustain them as they move forward on their life/career journey in today’s chaotic world of life and work. This is an essential skill because the stories people choose to listen to will be the stories they follow. People need stories that can enable them in a positive way rather than negative inner stories that hold them back.

Gray was the 2011 recipient of the Stu Conger Award for Leadership in Career Counselling and Career Development for his visionary leadership, exemplary achievement, and inspired dedication to the advancement of excellence in career development in Canada. He is very happily married, has 2 adult daughters, and currently lives in Steveston at the mouth of the Fraser River, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 

Did you know that the Department of Education and Training Victoria is also hosting a one-day conference at the MCG as a part of their professional learning events? Click here for more information and to register!

Map Venue TBC, TORQUAY, Geelong, Australia
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