Blake’s Story

Blake Kirkbride is a young man who connected with Ticket to Work through EPIC Assist in Maryborough.

Ticket to Work supports student with disability to build their employability skills by supporting their transition from school to employment.

With support through EPIC, Blake started a school-based traineeship while attending Maryborough State High School.

EPIC was able to provide Blake – who has a language impairment and a learning disability – with the additional support he needed to successfully complete his traineeship.

“Without EPIC’s involvement in Ticket to Work, I wouldn’t have this opportunity. I’m really grateful for their assistance,” said Blake.

EPIC worked with Blake to understand his career goals as he expressed an interest in horticulture. EPIC approached Bougainvillea Dell Nursery, a local employer willing to give Blake a start.

“The owners of Bouganvilla Dell Nursery, Don and Christine, were happy to take Blake on, and we provided Blake with training on-the-job during his traineeship,” said Don from EPIC. “Bouganvilla Del was very encouraging and provided a perfect start to Blake’s career.”

EPIC assisted Blake with the theory component of his traineeship, provided appropriate workwear and personal protective equipment, and supported Blake in learning on-the-job tasks.

There were times when Blake faced challenges in his traineeship, however he refused to be side-tracked in reaching his goals.

“Blake struggled at times with some of the heavier tasks associated with his traineeship, like concreting and shoveling,” explained Don and Christine, owners of the Nursery. “So he took it upon himself to start going to the gym to improve his strength, which worked well. He showed a lot of initiative, and was very dedicated to completing the traineeship.”

Blake completed his traineeship in January 2017, shortly after his Year 12 graduation. Blake continued to work with EPIC to secure employment after finishing his traineeship as Bouganvillia Del were unable to provide full-time employment.

“We approached a number of local employers and were able to gain full-time employment for Blake at the Maryborough Golf Club,” said Don. “In addition, we assisted Blake in securing some driving lessons, which would help him gain independence and get to work.”

EPIC staff have seen that Blake has more confidence and has greatly improved with his communication skills.

“Maryborough Golf Club was so impressed with Blake and his work ethic, they offered him a full time apprenticeship”.

“I love working at the golf club,” Blake said. “There is a lot of variety in my job, with many different tasks that change all the time. The staff also treat me very well and are always there to help me,” he said.

Original article by Epic Assist.