Breaking Through Barriers To Assist Young Blind People To Transition To Adulthood
Ms Courtney McKee, Client Insights and Engagement Consultant for Vision Australia will be at this year’s National Employment Solutions Conference, presenting “Breaking through barriers to assist young people who are blind or have low vision to transition to adulthood and prepare for work”.
Job seekers who are blind or have low vision are four times more likely to be unemployed compared to the general population (Vision Australia, 2012). To support young people who are blind or who have low vision and are transitioning from secondary education into employment, Vision Australia implemented a Pre-Employment Program (PEP) in February 2017. PEP was designed to accelerate personal development from adolescence to young adulthood and improve employment prospects of recent high school graduates in Queensland and Northern New South Wales, Australia.
The program was developed by Dr. Karen Wolffe to address barriers to employment, improve emotional resilience, build job skills and develop soft skills. This presentation aims to facilitate understanding of how PEP was contextualised for this demographic as well as the participant and organisational outcomes achieved. It first outlines how PEP was designed to accommodate the needs of individuals with blindness and low vision.
The presentation then covers key components of PEP and the process for engaging participants throughout the program. This includes a discussion on the use of technology to connect with participants located in regional and remote areas of Australia, and an outline of training activities, such as mock interviews. Following the conclusion of PEP, an evaluation identified several positive participant and organisational outcomes.
Feedback from presenters, participants and stakeholders commended PEP for improving participants’ hard skills, such as job search, job retention, career planning skills, as well as soft skills, including their communication and interpersonal skills. All participants made progress or achieved the goals they had set during the program. Case studies and examples of these outcomes are presented.
Overall, the modifications made to selecting participants, the delivery mode, and the program timeline resulted in a high retention of participants, and valuable outcomes for both participants and Vision Australia.
The 2017 National Employment Solutions Conference will be held at Mantra Legends on the Gold Coast from Thursday the 16th to Friday the 17th of November 2017. It will be a platform for policy makers, academics, employers, human resource managers, recruitment services, association and “not-for-profit” representatives.