School Leavers Employment Supports (SLES) was first introduced to Leisure Networks in 2017, where we started with two customers. Fast-forward to 2019, we now have 15 customers, who amongst them use Leisure Networks for over 130hrs of support each week. Leisure Networks prides itself on providing customers with a personalised approach to the support, taking the time to create an individualised program that takes into account the job skills that each customer feels they need to build on, the customers likes and interests, as well as the days and times that suit the customer to implement their SLES program.
Leisure Networks has highly skilled and outcome driven support workers that work hard to get the best out of the customers and provide a positive experience. Each customer is matched with a support worker who best suits their needs and skill set. Getting the right support workers for the customer is the key to a successful SLES program. Leisure Networks ensures all support workers are supported and provided with the tools needed to do their job to their best
Leisure Networks combines both mainstream work experience and 1:1 job skills sessions to get the most out of the customers SLEs funding. Work experience is tailored to the customer, taking into account close proximity to the customer’s home and their job interests. Customers are provided with several different work experience opportunities to allow for exposure to different jobs, environments and people. The 1:1 job skills sessions focus on job skills that the customer has identified as needing to develop and build on. These skills cover a range of topics such as travel training, resume writing, communication skills and money handling.
Our customers are placed in a wide variety of work experience positions, ranging from supermarkets, City of Greater Geelong, Nurseries, Bunnings, Big W, Schools and Pet shops to name a few. Each of these placements have taken into account the customers’ needs and interests, to create a positive learning experience. The feedback we receive from employees is extremely positive, and relationships continue to grow between employees and Leisure Networks.
It is hoped through work experience, our SLES customers will be able to learn and develop new skills to the point where they may be employed by the work experience provider. This has been the case with Brent Smith. Brent has been doing work experience at the Geelong Golf Course, and has developed his skills to such an impressive level, that they have offered him 3hrs of work per week on the full award wage. This is a great outcome for Brent and shows the importance of finding the right work experience position for our SLES customers.
This year, saw the development of the new job skill building group, Path to Employment. This provides the teachings of job skills in a small group setting, where a different job skill is the focus for each week. The group is based at the Armstrong Creek Community Hub, and is open to all Leisure Networks customers with an employment goal. The program runs for a term, however, each term differs slightly to allow for customer continuation should they wish to return.
Through their SLES programs at Leisure Networks, our customers have improved their skills beyond expectations. We have customers who have increased their confidence and social skills, where they now call Leisure Networks independently, send emails from their own email account for the first time in their life, and confidently interact with their work colleagues at their work experience placements.
Customers who had previously no engagement outside of the family home and were isolated, are now participating in community job skills building activities, work experience and increasing their confidence to trust people and try new things that they previously did not have the knowledge of and access to. Our support workers provide such an important role in being positive role models and gently guiding SLES customers to succeed in their employment aspirations.