Program helps youth into work

Stephen Parsons’ work life is testimony to what can happen and when a person with a disability gets an opportunity to improve his skills.

Mr Parsons is part of Ticket to Work program which helps young people get into the workforce. Today, he works at the Burleigh Surf Life-saving Club while he completes a Certificate III in Hospitality. The 17-year old said he decided to pursue a Certificate III in Hospitality after successful completing a Certificate II during Year 11 at Varsity College.

“I really enjoyed working at the surf lifesaving club. I love talking to people and being around them” he said. Mr Parsons said he worked at the club three times a week and was full of praise for the program.

“It gets young people out and trying new, different things so they know what they would like to do before they get into the workplace”, he said. Ticket to Work was developed after research showed young people with a disability are more likely to drop out of school early. It found they have fewer educational qualifications, experience poverty and are more likely to be socially isolated. Studies also show high school students with a disability who are involved in a work experience programs and have jobs are more likely to succeed after school. In addition, research shows most workers with a disability do their jobs as well as those without disability, are often more reliable and take fewer sick days.

George Crofts, work adviser for the program, said the aim was to bring together businesses, schools, youth organisations, employment agencies and training providers to give students career development, workplace preparation, work experience and school based-apprenticeships and traineeships- 80 per cent of students who took part in the pilot program in 2012 found jobs.

Original article from the Gold Coast sun on the 28th of December 2016.