It has never been more important to nurture the skills and work readiness of young people looking to enter the workforce.
COVID-19 has placed pressure on businesses, limiting the number of work experience opportunities available, particularly for young job seekers living with disability.
Afford’s SLES (School Leaver Employment Support) program equips school leavers with disability to adapt to work life. Throughout the two-year program, trainers organise visits to businesses across a range of industries, including hospitality, medical and retail.
The SLES program offers a supportive and encouraging environment for trainees to explore their interests, as well as extend their knowledge and skills through further study and work experience.
Jarrod and Myra are trainees who attend Afford’s Mt Druitt SLES site. As a not-for-profit organisation, Afford has an extensive network to tap into to give SLES trainees the chance to participate in work experience.
SLES trainer, Tayla, reached out to her contacts at the Salvation Army charity store in the local area. The store’s manager, Belinda, was all too happy to have extra hands on deck to tackle the increased supply and demand for pre-loved goods.
Jarrod and Myra participated in a workplace induction before getting straight into work.
Jarrod learned about the importance of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) procedures in the workplace. He helped drivers to load and unload heavy items, such as furniture. He transported items from the delivery bay into the store using a trolley, adhering to the OHS systems.
He developed reasoning skills to make judgements about the weight of items for transport. His duties at the Salvo’s store made him understand that physical activities at work require attention for the safety of everyone in the workplace.
Myra had the task of sorting through clothes and donated items. With an influx of donations, Myra certainly had her work cut out for her, but she approached her duties methodically.
The Salvos depend heavily on the support of volunteers to manage the items available in their stores. Myra’s help to sort, price and display clothes and other items was invaluable for the Minchinbury store.
Jarrod and Myra’s work experience with the Salvation Army has enhanced their knowledge of workplace expectations, safety, productivity and skill.
Their work experience will positively impact the local community. By assisting with deliveries and donation sorting, the Salvos store now has more items on display, ready for purchase. It has also freed up the time of staff like Belinda, to manage and accept more donations. As a result, more people in need in the community have access to affordable goods which will be much relief to families with household budgets expected to tighten in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Find out more about Afford’s SLES program and how you can develop your skills for work in a supportive environment.