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The best next step for school leavers with a disability

Work Learn Connect SLES CatholicCare Sydney

For many students in their final year of school, the prospect of finding work can seem daunting, particularly for students with a disability. Thanks to Centacare's School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES)  by CatholicCare, these young people can access training, and develop skills that will help them both secure and retain employment.

Centacare offers a welcoming and encouraging start for school leavers and an engaging pathway to becoming job ready. The program is run from their recently renovated training facility in Belmore, and offers a broad range of courses that fall under the pillars of Work. Learn. Connect.

The energy at Centacare is fun, kind and lively, and students like Tom (pictured above), who has autism, are there every day, developing their skills, relationships, and confidence.

Centacare's Executive Manager, Brad Burridge, says that for parents and students thinking about the future, the choice is often difficult.

"The job market today is very different to what it was in the past, so we make sure our School Leaver’s program continues to be innovative.”

“We lead with what the participant is most passionate about, building toward solid foundations in all key areas of Work. Learn. Connect. To make sure we are up-to-date with current work practices, we tap into the simulated work-training environment developed with our business partners: Flexco, Artistic Den, GNB Industrial Power, and Save on Shave. The Life Skills training teaches participants fundamental skills in managing domestic duties, financials, travel, numeracy, literacy and also covers composing a resume and interview techniques." Brad Burridge, Executive Manager, Centacare

"The students that come to SLES are at the heart of everything we do," says Illy, Director of Disability Services. "It’s about them reaching their potential and tapping into things that they didn’t know about themselves, or that they weren’t sure were possible, like going to the gym or even running a café.”

According to Tom and his father, Paul, Centacare’s School Leaver Employment Supports has offered a fresh start and a pathway towards a brighter future for Tom.