SWEAT’ing it out pays off!

Craig Robb and Jenny Fuller.

Participating in the SWEAT (Supported Work Experience into Apprenticeships and Traineeships) has paid off with permanent employment for Andrew and Eamon at Central TAFE.

The SWEAT program, jointly funded by EDGE and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, aims to give students with very mild intellectual, learning, physical or sensory disabilities, or a medical condition, the opportunity of work experience in industries that offer traineeships or apprenticeships.

Through the program students are placed in a workplace for one day for up to 15 weeks.

SWEAT Program Coordinator, Jenny Fuller, says the aim is for students to get a taste of working life in a particular industry to help them decide on pursuing a traineeship or apprenticeship in that industry.

"The program is offered in a diverse range of industries that includes horticulture, hospitality, dry cleaning, warehousing, automotive and manufacturing trades at present; however, these industries may change to reflect industry trends and needs," said Jenny.

In the case of Eamon and Andrew, they undertook their placement as SWEAT participants in business administration at Central TAFE. On completion of the SWEAT program, both students were offered a school-based traineeship and they went on to complete Certificates II and III in Business.

They have since taken up permanent employment at Central TAFE on a job-share arrangement.

"This is a great example of how experience gained during year 11 can result in meaningful long-term employment," said Jenny.

EDGE hopes to place up to 60 students in the SWEAT program in 2009.

"A lot of work goes into placing students in industries we think they might be interested in, and EDGE provides support to the students in the workplace to help them understand demands and practices and encourage the learning of new skills.

"We also target industries where we know there are career prospects to maximise the benefit to employers and students of participating in the program as the aim is to eventually provide businesses with quality employees," said Jenny.

Esperance Transition Pathways Group

The Esperance TPG meets every six weeks and has representatives from a variety of community and government organisations who have an interest in supporting people with disabilities to attain their goals of accessing further education and employment. The group is facilitated by NDCO Kylie Rogers and is currently working on two projects. The first is a Transition Planning Package for students in mainstream who may have a disability or barrier to making a successful transition from school into their chosen pathway to employment. The Group were successful in acquiring a funding grant from the Department of Education and Training and are currently having the package professionally designed and printed. Each school in the district will receive a pack which contains Transition Planning booklets and a CD with all supporting documentation, including an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) template.

The second project currently being explored by the Esperance TPG is a Driver Mentor Program whereby young people with a disability are paired up with a driver mentor who supports them to achieve the required number of logbook hours to be able to take their driving test and gain their Provisional drivers license. The group are currently looking for a host organisation for the program. Entry into the program will have a pre-requisite of completing the Keys For Life Program which supports people to gain their Learner Driver Permit. Curtin VTEC has agreed to run this program as part of their suite of Adult Community Education courses.

The TPG and its aims are guided by the following question – 'What can we do to improve employment outcomes for people with a disability in our community'.

Disability Awareness Training for Woolworths

Earlier in the year, NDCO's Nicole Cox and Kylie Rogers were approached by Swan Alliance Local Community Partnership about delivering disability awareness training to a group of Woolworths HR and Recruitment Staff. The training came about as a result of Swan Alliance collaborating with the retail supermarket chain on an LCP led project which supports students with a disability to gain industry experience and skills. During the training, a group of 14 Woolworths staff and managers were presented with information about a range of different disability types and given practical strategies for supporting people with a disability in the workplace. The group were also given the opportunity to undertake a number of activities which enabled them to put themselves in the shoes of a person with a disability and experience what it may be like to have a range of impairments.

The training aimed to develop 'disability confidence' in the staff and increase their knowledge of disability. Staff who attended the training provided excellent feedback and believed it was beneficial to their role in HR and Recruitment.

Nicole Cox, NDCO for region 28 will be running Disability andCultural Awareness training inNorthern WAon the following dates:
Geraldton – August 27th
Carnarvon – August 28th
Karratha – August 31st
Port Hedland – September 1st
Broome – Thursday 3rd

This training will be provided free of charge, and is open to any one interested in attending, however placements are limited. Nicole may be contacted on 9286 6600 for bookings, and further information on times and venues. If people are interested in having a Disability Awareness Training session run in their region, they are asked to contact an NDCO. www.ndcowa.net.au

Kimberley Personnel Fundraiser

They are off and racing at the Satay Hut.

Rabbit – the Crab Race Master.

On May the 3rd the team from the Broome Disability Employment Service; Kimberley Personnel (KP), ran a fund-raising event, in an effort to earn some money to support their not-for-profit organisation. The event, in full 'Broome' style, was in the form of Crab Races. Each Sunday during the dry season the Satay Hut generously offers a local Broome charity or not-for-profit organisation the opportunity to fund-raise, through coordinating the establishment's notorious crab races. Kimberley Personnel secured the opening night of the Crab Races for 2009 dry season, and with the crucial experience and support of the event host 'Rabbit' (Owen Pointer), the dedicated team, led by their almighty manager Steve Cook, spent the night selling raffle tickets, coaxing money from participants, and delegating hermit crabs with names to the likes of 'CRABage patch doll' or 'kaliSEA virus' to race goers. KP staff, supported by NDCO Nicole Cox and several volunteers, also spent the evening promoting Kimberley Personnel, raising awareness around the benefits of employing people with disabilities, and increasing general disability knowledge, awareness and understanding within the community.

The event raised approximately $1300, which went straight into the operating budget, which was fairly scarce at the time. The commitment of the KP team was truly inspirational, and KP Manager Steve has agreed that, should the team continue to progress as they are at present, next year some of the crab races profits can go towards a round at the Satay Hut bar.

Working in the West 09

Place: Ascot Racecourse
Thursday 22nd October 09 and Friday 23rd October 09
Theme: Providing quality services in an increasingly diverse and complex environment.

Disability Employment Services, both Disability Employment Network providers and Australian Disability Enterprises, have evolved over recent years. The types of people accessing the services have changed. The demands on staff have increased.

The Working in the West 09 Organising Committee, following meetings with stakeholders, has heard a common theme 'the situations that Staff find themselves in are increasingly diverse and complex'. There tends to be an increase of people with more complex needs. New issues and situations, influenced by clients with poor mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, dual diagnosis and bureaucratic barriers such as navigating Centrelink are leaving Staff and other stakeholders feeling ill prepared.

This conference aims to unravel the complexity of these issues and provide interested stakeholders with strategies to increase their confidence and effectiveness in the current environment.

Target Audience: Teachers, LCPs, employment services, TAFE , etc.

For more information regarding the conference, contact the NDCO in your region by visiting our website www.ndcowa.net.au

2009 NAIDOC Festival, Broome

Owen Torres, Stephen ‘Baamba’ Albert and Jimmy Edgar entertain the mob.

Naidoc, (National Aboriginal Islander Day Observance Committee) aim to highlight the rich cultural heritage of Indigenous people in Australia and their positive contribution to the nation's identity.

The 2009 Kullari Naidoc Festival (03 to 12 July) showcased a vibrant mix of traditional and contemporary local indigenous culture to a diverse audience of community members, which included visitors and tourists, throughout the shire of Broome. The festival's theme paid tribute to the role Aboriginal women have played throughout Broome's history, and celebrated their enormous contributions to the community.

Audiences experienced 10 days of rich cultural and contemporary performances and exhibitions from many artistic genres including dance, music, film, food, art, crafts, storytelling and more. Activities also included a reconciliation walk, Naidoc mass, an Awards ceremony which celebrated the region's Indigenous achievers and acknowledged their contribution to the community, as well as the inaugural launch of a festival which celebrates disability within the community. The Disability festivity incorporated storytelling, exploring self identity and self worth, and most importantly celebrating self and the contributions each individual has made to the community. The event coordinator, and chair of the 'Broome Disability Mob' Steven 'Baamba' Albert, asserted that people with disabilities must be acknowledged as valuable members of the community, stating 'just because we have a disability, doesn't mean we can't be included in the celebrations'.

Ellisiki Puertollano,
co-founder of the ‘Broome Disability Mob’ tells her storey.

The BBQ attracted over 50 participants, including people with disabilities, their carers, family and friends, and people who work within the disability field, as well as members of the general public who wished to celebrate disability. Stories were shared over a BBQ, and the festivities concluded with a sing-a-long instigated by Broome locals 'Baamba', Owen Torres and Jimmy Edgar. The success of the event will ensure the 2010 NAIDOC program incorporates a disability focus.

The Festivity was sponsored by Goolarri Media Enterprise, Kimberley Personnel Incorporated, Brumbies Bakery, Clipper Pearling, Tender Spotmeat, and the NDCO program. It is important to acknowledge the dedicated efforts of Baamba (who pulled the event together), and Caroline Bainbridge (for sourcing sponsors) and Bridget Cook, who captured the event on camera, and generously provided the photos for this article.

The Disability Mob were also represented at the NAIDOC quiz night. We do not have photographs from this event. However those who participated agree that this is a good thing. As special mention must go out to Baamba, who put in a sensational performance in the 'air guitar' competition, which was very impressive for a man with a prosthetic leg.

Transition planning

The Department of Education and Training's Pathways and Transition website provides extensive information about pathway and transition planning for students in secondary school. This Western Australian site provides quality local information for teachers and other professionals working with students with disabilities in public schools.


Upcoming events

Wednesday 12th August – Careers Expo Kalgoorlie.

Friday 14th August – Great Southern TAFE Careers Expo, Albany. Includes a transition workshop for students with a disability 1-2pm.

Thursday 10th September – Narrogin Futures Forum for Year 10 Students.

Thursday 10th September – Abilities Career EXPO Forest Chase 930am to 2pm.

Friday 11th September – Bunbury Future Possibilities Youth Conference.

Thursday 22nd October and Friday 24th – Working in the West Conference, Ascot Race Course, Ascot Perth.

Visit our website

Visit our new NDCO website at www.ndcowa.net.au

Copyright 2008 National Disability Coordination Officer Program. - All Rights Reserved. No part of this newsletter may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission. All guest articles are copyright to their respective owners and are reproduced with permission.

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