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Good News Stories

UConnect Participants Attend A Workplace Experience Day at Wyong Rural Fire Station

Olympus Solutions run their Targeted Pre-Employment Program, UConnect for the fifth time for youth participants aged between 16-24years. Youth being a cohort of focus for Olympus Solutions, the program has been designed to engage, upskill and prepare young people for employment and employee expectations.

Olympus Solutions, also focusing on increasing engagement and positive outcomes within the Indigenous community, placed an ATSI focus on UConnect and referred nine young Aboriginal youth into the course. Further engaging with Aboriginal stakeholders and organisations, as part of UConnect, Olympus Solutions invited Darkinjung, Revenue NSW’s Aboriginal Client Liaison Officer, Phoenix Youth Centre, Bungree, headspace and Central Coast Community Legal to come and present services along with providing training in their areas of business.

In addition to service meetings, Olympus Solutions JobActive Youth Specialist Madeleine Dow, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Job Support Consultant Brooke Burgin and Business Manager and Uconnect Coordinator Rebecca Alexander developed content and trained participants around the soft skilled highly regarded by employers such as, communication, time management and organisation, resilience, presentation and taking initiative.

Throughout this content participants resumes, cover letters, interview skills were reviewed, interview clothing, required tickets and formal training were provided and expose to an industry and workplace was experienced. UConnect commenced on the 21st October 2019 and ran two days a week for four weeks. The group consisted of nine participants, eight from JobActive and one from ParentNext as the opportunity was opened to all ATSI clientele of Olympus Solutions, despite employment contract, in promotion of the integrated model and participants attended from all sites across the Central Coast.

Overall Uconnect for our Aboriginal & Torres Strait young participants was a big success in assisting the growth, development and engagement of our young Indigenous participants. Throughout the program the participants shared their experiences and knowledge amongst each other, guided by facilitator and built close friendships as a result. As Uconnect explores the barriers of young people, numerous personal and confronting subjects such as mental health, substance dependence and abuse, homelessness and cultural barriers were expressed when discussing barriers to gaining employment.

Everyone worked as a team to build new strategies to overcome these barriers and realisation arose that individuals were not alone in these experiences, increasing resilience and positive outlooks when exploring how to overcome such barriers. Darkinjung attended day one to complete a Welcome to Country. This was delivered and received well by the participants and Christine discuss opportunities to participate in cultural activities and the importance of become a member of the Darkinjung Land Council.

Silas from headspace, provided energetic, realistic and youthful presentation around mental health and wellness and worked with the participants on exploring mindfulness. Silas provided insight on where to go for assistance and when to ask for help. This allowed participant to start self-reflecting and Silas spent some time with participant’s one on one, if wanted, assisting participant in engaging in the headspace service. Bungree provided overview of their many services including, housing supports, The Education Gaps program and transport services.

Bobbie from Central Coast Community Legal discussed the importance of seeking legal advice, the different types of legal advice available and how to access service supports. Bobbie supports Aboriginal clients in navigating legal issues and works with community stakeholders in overcoming legal barriers and explained the importance of programs such as the Will Program, allowing free will writing services to Indigenous clients. Bud Lawrence is the Aboriginal Client Liaison Officer for Revenue NSW. Bud discussed WDO’s, assisted participant in identifying debts, linked participants with advocates and WDO providers in the local area to improve financial positioning and increase participants ability to engage in gaining license.

Phoenix Youth Centre provided information around Rent Choice and the impact homelessness has on young people on the Central Coast, supports for youth; case management, councelling and social work and clientele success stories. Chris touched on mental health implications and financial budgeting was discussed in depth with support from Olympus Solutions staff throughout this session. Finally participants attended a workplace experience day at the Wyong Rural Fire Station. The day the Wyong RFS hosted Olympus Solutions and Uconnect participants, was a day where catastrophic fire conditions were on the Central Coast but this did not stop the wonderful staff at the Wyong RFS from supporting the Uconnect group in exploring there station and what is involved in there day to day work.

The participants were shown around the whole station and explained procedures and safety plans run throughout the station. The RFS staff brought up a fire truck and went through what was in the fire truck and showed the participants the different hoses they use depending on the fire. The RFS staff then brought out the hoses and got some of our participants geared up to use the hoses. The UConnect participants absolutely loved this. The Wyong Rural Fire Station went above and beyond to get the UConnect participants involved and encouraged for partiicpants to apply as they are currently seeking more team members.

Other than the wonderful and extensive exposure to information, services and skills there has been a lot of other positive outcomes for the participants. Below are the are some of the participants individual good news stories:

Jarrad Lamb by Brooke Burgin Jarrad is a young Aboriginal man who has experience a significant amount of loss and grief throughout his short period of life. Jarrad has turned up to Uconnect very reserved at first and by the end he was one of the most valued members in the program. Throughout Uconnect Jarrad spoke with the workers about their experiences and struggles and has come up with a career path. Jarrad wants to pursue being a carer due to their family loss. Jarrad has expressed interest in completing a cert III in individual support. Jarrad contributed towards our learning and has really thinking about their future in employment.

Tahlia Everingham by Madeleine Dow One participant who truly flourished during this program was Tahlia. Tahlia initially was very reserved and was not confident in contributing answers and conversing with the group. Throughout the course Tahlia expressed interest in completing a Cert III Individual Support. She attended an open day but after careful consideration decided this course was not right for her. Her research lead her to a Cert III in Community Studies as she expressed her desire to help others who have experienced hardship. Her one reservation was the fact that she had previously struggled to complete her study. Through Uconnect she was able to meet with Bungaree and organise a meeting to join their Education Gaps program. During the industry day the group got to visit the local fire station. Tahlia was the shining star donning the fire fighters gear and firing the hose. It was a wonderful day finished with a bucket of KFC. We are all extremely proud of Tahlia and cannot wait to see where this new direction takes her.

Ayden Carson by Brooke Burgin Ayden came to UConnect thinking that the program would not benefit them. By the end Ayden enjoyed conversing with the other participants and became a leader as such. Ayden completed all the tasks without complaint and also with a touch of humour. Ayden came to the second last week of UConnect and has advised everyone that he has found employment and won’t be able to attend the final week of UConnect. Everyone celebrated this. Ability Options provided Ayden with his uniforms and opal top up to help support them when moving into employment. My role is an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Job Support Consultant and now I have built a strong relationship with Ayden he is proactive within my mentoring and is striving to stay in employment.

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