Learning new skills with work experience

Work experience is an important component of Towards Employment – OC Connections’ School Leavers Employment Supports (SLES) pathway. 

It provides context, hands-on learning and a taste of different working environments for those who participate.  Just as importantly, it provides the host workplace with an insight into working with people with disability, the support required and the tasks that can be accomplished.  

Our Towards Employment team got down to business at Cheltenham Secondary College for Term 2 this year.  Harry, David, Will and Harrison provided assistance with administrative tasks such as laminating, cutting, filing and sorting books at the school library each Tuesday. 

It was a perfect start for recruit, Harrison, whose first day in the Towards Employment pathway was at the school.  He was excited to be learning new skills and making new friends and managed to bond with David over video games while they were in the library setting up some work.  

The social aspect of Towards Employment is just as important as the other components – learning to work with others, communicate effectively, and maintaining safe relationships and boundaries are part of the program curriculum.  Work experience provides the opportunity for the group to practise the lessons they have learnt in a real-life environment, and, they have been going well.  According to Towards Employment Facilitator, Hannah,

“The team has learnt to work together, assign tasks and meet new people.”  Jan Kuzmicky, Business Manager at Cheltenham Secondary College says the school is proud to assist in providing work experience opportunities for the pathway.

“Knowing the importance of work experience for our own students, we were eager to provide the same opportunities for the Towards Employment participants from OC Connections.” 

Their weekly attendance also received attention and praise from the staff at the school.  The team morale was boosted when one of the teachers came by to thank them for laminating her books, “It’s one less thing off my to-do list and they did such a good job,” she said. 

If you have a work experience opportunity you wish to discuss with our Towards Employment team, please contact hisles@occonnections.org.  You can find out more about our School Leavers Employment Supports (SLES) pathway