For young people today, high school is not always the answer to a fulfilling and successful work life. 60.1% of persons aged 15 or over completed non-school qualifications in 2016, which has inflated from the 2011 rate of 55.2%.
Traditional schooling was most certainly not the answer for 15-year-old Mark Grant. Mark has a learning disability and anxiety. With an inflexible school system and misunderstood non-vocational barriers, Mark found the school learning environment to be difficult.
“He was not really enjoying school; he was not engaged. I would say that COVID did not help. He got an exemption prior to my intervention but I believe he will be working 25 hours a week to match what he was doing at school.” Says Toukley’s Young People’s Employment Pathway (YPEP) Consultant Tara Dibben.
Tara was determined to help Mark find his feet. She organised for Mark to be transferred from Transition to Work(TTW) to Disability Employment Services.
“I try to speak to the client and not just to the parent, as I wanted to empower him to answer questions.” Tara explains, as she tried to build his confidence to speak with new people.
“He got happier and happier as the appointment went on because he was happy to not be going back to school. I wrote up his resume and cover letter and sent it straight to his local fast-food chain. He got the job shortly after… He was on my caseload for about 3 days before he got the job, it was a very quick turn around.” Tara enthuses.
Mark now works at his local fast-food chain, which is a 15-minute walk from his house. This was perfect for a teenager who is too young to drive.
Of course, being the consultant of an inexperienced young person requires a lot of direction and confidence building to empower them for their new venture.
“I had a couple of conversations with him to explain how to not be too flustered on his first day, as it was his first job.” Tara said.
Tara organised Mark’s work boots and, practicing COVID safety, dropped them off at the letter box. She also helped him organise his tax file number.
Tara wants to utilise all the opportunities YPEP can offer. As Mark blossoms in his new role, Tara is looking at a traineeship to turn his current work into a learning experience. She also plans on organising for Mark to obtain his Learners’ licence.