Practical preparation for life after school

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Not everyone is suited to the academic pressure of high school and tertiary education. But just like their peers, those who prefer a more practical environment still need to plan for an independent life outside of school.

Understanding your personal strengths, weaknesses, and goals can help you plan for a future that suits you. This is also the best way to start to prepare for your NDIS plan. It has certainly helped Challenge Community Services client Kevin find a path that prepares for a future outside of school whilst finishing Year 12.

Kevin has always been interested in working with his hands and at school woodwork and metalwork are his favourite subjects. He has learning difficulties and, according to his mum Lisa, he has experienced problems in situations where he couldn’t understand a teacher. Both Kevin and his mum would love him to find a job in a trade but were unsure where to start.

In August 2017, Kevin joined Challenge’s Connexions in Newcastle to add to his skillset to become work-ready. The first step in this process was to participate in the ‘Getting Your L’s’ preparation course, so Kevin will eventually have the independence to get himself to and from work. The successful ‘Getting Your L’s’ program teaches you the process of getting your learner driver licence and what will be expected of you during the tests.

“Connexions taught me how to read the test questions properly and what I might be asked because I couldn’t understand it,” Kevin said. “I ended up getting my L’s so they must have helped!” According to Lisa, passing his L’s test gave Kevin a huge confidence boost. “He was so excited when he passed the test; he said ‘at least I’ve passed something in my life’,” she said.

With his learner drivers licence in hand, and his first goal achieved, Kevin’s next step is finding work. He has one-on-one support from Connexions staff to help him write a resume, prepare cover letters and explore work opportunities for when he finishes school at the end of the year.

“My disability support worker is good because he explains everything clearly. He is helping me to prepare my resume and learn how to write cover letters,” Kevin said. “I want to work in a trade, but I haven’t thought about what exactly I want to do yet. We are looking to see what sort of jobs are out there. Connexions is also helping to find workplaces to approach. I’m looking forward to doing work experience.”

Both Kevin and his mum Lisa said they would recommend Connexions to other capable young people with as disability who have lower support requirements and want to extend their skills in the company of those with a similar experience.

“The support they give you is great; I love it. I’ve met lots of new people,” Kevin said. “I will do more activities in the future. The staff at Connexions are good, they’re nice, and they help you and explain things to you.”

“I would highly recommend Challenge Disability Services,” Lisa said. “I was a bit dubious at first because while Kevin is pretty easy going and will get along with anyone but if he can’t understand what you are talking about he gets frustrated. The staff at Connexions are unreal; they’ve been so nice. Now he can’t wait to go, every Monday he is asking if it is time to go to Connexions yet.”

To help you prepare for your life after high school, check out our ebook "The School Leaver's Complete Guide to the NDIS".

CTA NDIS school leavers 3

Author: Challenge Community Services

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About Challenge Community Services

60 years ago we were a small band of parents and friends seeking support services for our children with disabilities. Today, Challenge has grown to be one of the largest community support services in New South Wales. We provide support to over 2500 people from Albury to Lismore, Sydney, Dubbo, Tamworth and beyond. With over 600 staff, 85 of which have a disability, we strive to comply with and exceed all standards required under State and Federal Acts.
In the spirit of Reconciliation, Challenge Community Services acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country, and their connection to land, water and community. We pay our respect to them, their cultures and customs, and to Elders both past and present.
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