Chris Gstrein, with his horse BJ, is keen to gain work experience through the new support program.VOLUNTEER mentors are wanted to help young students with a disability or learning needs secure work placements through an innovative new support program.
Nanjing Night Net

Ten students and young people from around the south-west want to participate in the program, but mentors and suitable workplaces are needed to give them the opportunity. A six-month trial is expected to start next month.

Camperdown’s Chris Gstrein has signed on hoping to get his first taste of work experience under the South West Local Learning and Employment Network’s Job Coaching for Young People with a Disability program.

Job Coach co-ordinator Petrina Cannon said the program aimed to better support young people with a disability by providing on-the-job support in work placements.

Volunteer job coaches will receive training and develop a one-on-one support relationship with a young participant.

“They don’t need to help the person learn the specifics of the job, just be there to guide them through any issues or behaviour problem and to help them retain focus,” Ms Cannon said.

Chris, 20, has high-functioning autism with good literacy skills and is well spoken, but needs to be engaged to maintain concentration.

His mother Ruth said the program would be ideal to support him in integrating into a normal work environment.

“It would be a great new challenge for Chris, just what he needs to help him become comfortable in a workplace and remain engaged,” Mrs Gstrein said. “Once he is in an established routine and comfortable with his surroundings he would be able to do the work.”

Ms Cannon said anybody who could communicate well and had good experience in a workplace and with young people could volunteer as a mentor.

The program will operate one day a week.

Host employers will be sought in catering and hospitality, and technical and mechanical trades.

Anyone interested in becoming a job coach or hosting a work placement can contact Ms Cannon on 5561 0047 or 0439 930 044.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.