‘Try-a-Trade’ is a success

NDCO WA, in partnership with Generation One and the Australian Employment Covenant, along with other stake-holders, conducted a series of 'Mobile Try a Trade' events in 18 locations across the Kimberley and Pilbara. Held over the past 3 months, one goal of the events was to encourage job seekers to consider trade careers by using roles models that students and job seekers could relate to.

Another aim of 'Try-a-Trade' was to create, increase and improve further education and employment opportunities for students and job seekers facing barriers preventing them from successfully transitioning from school to further education and employment.

Participants had a 'hands on' experience in fifteen different trade areas, all of which were identified as currently facing skills shortages in Northern Western Australia.

The 'Try-a-Trade' demonstration teams were made up of inspiring, skilled and motivated role models from various backgrounds. Half of the trade's people were Indigenous Australians, and several were also people with disability. Broome's, Dylan Pigram, a 21 year apprentice carpenter with Brolga Development and Constructions, is part of the team refurbishing houses in Bidyadanga. With just one block of TAFE study left before qualifying as a carpenter, Dylan said his message was simple 'Stick with it'.

2007 Young Australian of the Year, Tania Major, attending the Port Hedland event said that having this engagement with young people and getting them 'hands on' with potential trades was important and valuable.

The initiative received excellent feedback from teachers, students, job seekers and community members on both the engaging activities and the first hand information offered. Shirley Jodai from Bidyadanga said about Aquinas Crowe's Digital Media stall; "It is really inspiring to see a person with disability from an indigenous community get up and choose to make something of his life. It makes us proud to hear what he's been through and that there were no walls or boundaries that stopped him doing what he loves. Keep up the good work bro".

The trades covered were: Automotive and Electrical Mechanics, Horticulture, Digital Media, Hospitality, Electrical, Fabrication, Carpentry, Plastering, Visual Arts, Hairdressing, Dental Technology, Nursing and Interior Design.

NDCO WA's Nicole Cox provided the essential leadership and coordination for this most successful event. Nicole extends her appreciation to all the trade's people who gave so generously of their time, as well as the schools, many organizations, community members and other stakeholders who participated in the events.

The 'Try-a-Trade' event was supported by DEEWR, EDGE Employment Solutions, GenerationOne, The Australian Employment Covenant (AEC), the P Plate program, Department of Education, Rio Tinto, Brolga Construction, Jaxon Pty Ltd, Master Planners, MacMahon, Moonamang, Dental Nursing Australia, Kimberley Personnel, KIFSA (Kimberley Individual Family Support Association), Kimberley TAFE, Kimberley Group Training (KGT), Mangkaja Arts, Pilbara TAFE, Wunan, and the Workforce Development Centre.

Committees will be formed in early 2011 in preparation for the 2011 Try-a-Trade events. For any enquiries or further information please feel free to contact Nicole Cox.

Expansion and changes for the NDCO team

The National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) program WA team has now expanded to five officers with the recent addition of two new members. These additional resources will enable improved NDCO coverage of both the Northern and Southern regions. Jake Johnson joins Nicole Cox in Region 28 which extends across the northern half of WA and Dale Arthur joins Robert Attwood in region 27 which covers the southern half of WA.

There has also been a change in personnel with Jennifer Kitchin replacing Trevor Paterson as the NDCO for the Metropolitan Region. Trevor has been with the program since its inception and contributed significantly to its promotion and success. We wish Trevor all the best in his new role as Operations Manager at Bizlink.

Jake Johnson has a background in education and worked as a Special Education Program teacher in his previous position. His responsibilities in this role included assisting students, teachers and families to effectively develop and work towards educational goals. Jake holds a Bachelor of Education from Deakin University in Victoria.

Dale Arthur spent the first twenty seven years of his working life as a church minister and was located in Ireland, United Kingdom, Scandinavia, West Africa, Western Australia and Canberra. Prior to taking up the NDCO appointment Dale worked in the disability field with CRS Australia. Dale has a Bachelor of Arts in Theology, a Masters in Religion and Social Science and has also completed post graduate studies in Psychotherapy.

For the last five years Jennifer Kitchin was employed as the Senior Policy Advisor at the national office of National Disability Services specialising in the area of disability employment. Prior to this Jennifer was the CEO of Essential Personnel (EP) from its inception in 1989 through until 2005. EP is a Disability Employment Service provider, covering the Avon Valley, Wheatbelt and Eastern Metropolitan regions. Jennifer holds both a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Graduate Certificate of Management.

Unfortunately for the NDCO program Robert Attwood has decided to take up a new position of employment due to needs of his growing family. Robert's last day will be 3 December 2010. We wish Robert well in his new vocation and know that his family will appreciate having him around more regularly.

Jennifer Kitchin Dale Arthur Jake Johnson

Esperance's Driver Mentor Program progresses

The Esperance Transition Pathways group (ETPG) is currently developing a 'Driver Mentor Program'.

The ETPG identified the lack of a driver's license as a significant barrier to employment for many people within the local community. An absence of public transport along with the extensive geographical spread of the Esperance region prevents people with disability from finding and maintaining employment. In addition to this, driving without a license can lead to involvement with the justice system (through fines and possible sentences) generating further barriers to employment.

The driver mentor program aims to assist young people with disability by providing access to a vehicle and mentor(s). This will enable them to achieve the required number of hours to sit their Hazard Perception Test and gain their Provisional Drivers Licence ('P' plates).

The project has received generous support from local community services and businesses with Esperance Autos kindly donating the use of their 'customer loan' car for participants to practice in.

It is intended that the driver mentor program will be easily transferable to other regions facing the similar barriers to social inclusion and employment.

The NDCO anticipates the program being implemented by early next year.

Kalgoorlie Sundowner increases awareness on employing people with disability

The Kalgoorlie Transition Pathway Group in partnership with the Goldfields Inclusion Group held a 'Sundowner' event at the end of October 2010 to increase employer awareness about employing people with disability.

The event was attended by over thirty people with presentations from, the Regional Manager of Hungry Jacks, the leader of the local visually impaired group and the Manager of 'Career Contact', the local Disability Employment Service provider. Dr Scott Hollier the special guest from Media Access Australia spoke of the vast improvements in modern communication media for the visually impaired.

High profile employers attending the event included the Attorney General's Department and the Kalgoorlie City authority. A very pleasant and worthwhile evening was had by all.

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