High school students learning life skills

Cobar High School students who have taken Commerce as one of their elective subjects are currently learning some very valuable life lessons.

Year 9/10 Commerce teacher John Carswell said the class is currently studying a ‘Towards Independence’ unit with the assistance of a number of local businesses.

He said it was one of the optional units of the course that had been collectively chosen by the students.

“Basically they get the skills to live independently,” Mr Carswell said.

As part of the unit, Mr Carswell said students have recently visited Landmark Russell and Red Earth Real Estate to find out about renting and leasing.

Red Earth Real Estate principal Tracey Kings said students were taken through the process of the legalities of residential tenancy agreements.

“Basically we explained the process it takes for a person on the street to enter into a tenancy agreement,” Ms Kings said.

“We outlined the legalities of a lease, what they’re bound to and why.

“We talked about witnesses, tenant obligations such as payment of water, contents insurance, bonds and how bonds are processed, how they are refunded and why they might not be refunded; and the importance of declaring certain information such as other people that will be living with them, and pets.

“We also spoke about what a breach was and what it would mean to them,” Mrs Kings said.

“We went right from the application process through to moving in and being a tenant.”

Mr Carswell said as part of the unit students will also be visiting the Regional Australia Bank to find out about different savings accounts and loans; to the Cobar NRMA office to learn about insurance and what it costs; and also visit Harvey Norman Cobar to find out the costs of setting up a house/flat and the options for purchasing household goods through finance options such as Flexirent.

He said as part of this year’s study students were given an assignment on housing which looked at a range of options, including living out of town, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Students looked at how they wanted to live and what the cost of that would actually be.

“We came up with a figure of about $650 per week for living costs and that was on top of their rent,” Mr Carswell said.

He said the exercise had been a real “eye-opener” for many students.

Mr Carswell said one of their other units this year covered law.

He said the students’ classwork is based on the information they have obtained from their visits to these local businesses.

“We are extremely lucky to have a number of local businesses helping us out and we are most appreciative of their support.”

Mr Carswell said Commerce is a subject that has a direct link between school and the real world and the information that students are learning now could be put into practice as soon as they leave school.