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Getting a head start after school can be made much easier when you have opportunities to get a taste of different industries, learn new skills and get some hands-on experience in the workforce.

Afford’s SLES (School Leaver Employment Support) Program is designed to give participants every opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge to be more confident in the workforce.

SLES participants are often presented with opportunities to get involved in industry visits. The trainees of SLES Marrickville were able to take part in a tour of Uniting Care Nursing Home to explore the jobs, tasks and skills required to work in the industry.

Trainees met with the manager, Margot, who introduced them to some of the residents of the nursing home.

By using their social and communication skills, trainees introduced themselves and explained the purpose of their visit, before being paired with select residents to take part in a game of bingo.

Then, trainees were offered a tour of the staff room, kitchen and dining areas. Trainees asked many questions including the possibility of volunteering and returning for another visit!

Work experience is another great way for SLES trainees to develop their skills and strengths. Four trainees recently had the opportunity to work at the head office of Sculpture By the Sea.

As part of the work experience, trainees, Shahnia, Bianca, Fiona and Sarah, travelled independently on public transport one day a week to get to and from the Sculpture By The Sea head office in Surrey Hills in Sydney. This alone was a learning experience in itself.

At head office, the trainees worked alongside the administration staff completing different administrative tasks such as filing, entering data into spreadsheets and general typing tasks.

“There was a lot of work to do at the Exhibition. We were all really busy. The exhibition manager made me really proud of myself when she outlined all the work I had completed.” – Bianca, SLES Trainee.

This work experience has presented trainees with opportunities to practice some of the skills discussed during SLES sessions, including appropriate workplace behaviour, how to travel on public transport safely, the importance of and how to get the most out of work experience.

“I know now that having a good attitude is really important when you start a new job. People are happy to help you and show you what you need to know if you show that you’re interested.” – Fiona, SLES Trainee.

In addition, trainees also had the chance to learn new skills that they can now apply to the workforce.