Sky News broadcast a segment on Ticket to Work – NDS’s school-to-work initiative for young people with disability – featuring NDS Chief Executive Ken Baker and Julian McAlpine, a Year 11 student and canteen worker.
News host Ahron Young spoke to Ken and Julian about the importance of the school-to-work transition for young people with significant disability, and how Ticket to Work is having great success with its collective approach to getting young people into jobs while they’re still at school.
“Ticket to Work has only been around a couple of years, but it’s a really important program in assisting young people with very significant disability to make the transition from school to work,” said Ken.
Ken highlighted that Ticket to Work has just celebrated an important milestone, getting 1000 young people into work since its inception.
Ken said this work includes a range of different kinds of jobs: “That could be an after-school job, like Julian does, or it could be a school-based traineeship, or it could even be a micro-business,” Ken said. “There are all sorts of jobs out there that young people with disability want to do and can do if they get the right support and the right opportunity.”
Ken emphasised that the Ticket to Work program has now expanded to 31 networks across Australia, and its collective approach – involving local businesses, schools, disability employment service providers and trainers working together to get young people into work – is crucial to success. “It’s working together that’s made all the difference,” Ken said.
Julian, who is 17 and has Down syndrome, has a job at the canteen at Nunawading Basketball Stadium. He says that he makes food and coffee at the canteen, and that he wants to buy a house or a car with the money he earns from work. In a few years, he’d even like to get married!