Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward has announced funding of $300,000 for a new two-year program to prevent Year 11 students from dropping out of school by tapping into their strengths and creating vocational pathways into jobs.
Mr Ward said Illawarra Workplace Learning’s ‘Steps to Success’ program would be supported by the NSW Government and kicking off in September to assist students from across 40 schools in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.
“This fantastic program will help disengaged students successfully transition from school and into jobs by planning career paths through vocational education and training (VET),” Mr Ward said.
“We all know there’s a skills shortage in many industries and we have all this potential talent in our young people who may just need some additional support to get on their way to an exciting new career.
“Illawarra Workplace Learning has strong links with schools, industry and the broader community in the regions,” Mr Ward said.
Illawarra Workplace Learning CEO Leanne Grogan said the Steps to Success program was a seven-step program that focused on career planning, skills evaluation, job preparation, training options and work experience.
“We’ll work with 40 schools in the region to identify the kids at risk of dropping out then evaluate their skills and abilities and develop a personal profile to identify possible career options,” Ms Grogan said.
“Our mentors will then come in to coach the kids on how to look for jobs suited and how to build a resume and interview techniques and how to apply for work. Training Services NSW will help us identify relevant VET course options and we’ll help these young people enrol and complete their courses.”
“We’ll also monitor the kids throughout the program and follow up once they’re completed the program and provide additional guidance to ensure they stay on track,” Ms Grogan said.
The NSW Deputy Premier and Skills Minister John Barilaro welcomed the funding for Illawarra Workplace Learning’s Steps to Success program.
“There are many reasons kids might disengage with school but we can’t let them fall through the cracks – for their sake and because our state needs skilled workers,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Getting the right skills through VET will lead to jobs and we know that a job is one of the best ways to boost someone’s self-worth and self-esteem,” he said.