The Engage 2518 program is an alternate offer facilitated at the Bellambi Neighbourhood centre.
The program provides an opportunity for students to achieve positive social, community and educational outcomes. In its inaugural year we delivered some quality outcomes and are looking to build on these in 2018. The environment is informal where students feel more empowered and willing to engage in learning.
Content is built around the core subjects of Maths & English and supported by qualifications such as Cert III Retail Operation and Cert II Skills for Work & Vocational Pathways, and is complimented by courses First Aid, Food Handling, Responsible Service of Alcohol, Barista and White card.
There are currently 20 students enrolled in the program, with 12 students attending regularly.
The staff and volunteers have delivered the program with a strong focus on building positive student relationships where students understand their social obligations. Positive outcomes are evident in students demonstrating increased confidence, ability to interact in groups, social etiquette, workplace expectations & community values. As the program progresses, a number of students are starting to show signs of becoming self-directed learners and beginning to make encouraging career path choices.
The paperless classroom and online learning system ‘edmodo' has allowed students to work at their own pace to complete set tasks in working towards attaining their Certificate III in Retail. A record and overview of each student can easily identify where they are up to and if additional support is required. Edmodo can be accessed from any device and a number of students have demonstrated increased independence through completing tasks in their own time.
The ‘Work Studies' unit and ‘High School Careers' website allows students easy access to their resumes, very useful job/career information, career games/quizzes and job vacancies. This has been a reliable way for students to create a resume' and know they have access to it any time. Before using this system resumes were saved to a USB and often misplaced or emailed with many students not being able to remember passwords to access the documents.
Students have audited & identified the employability skills they need to develop for the workplace.
Students have also practiced cold calling and approaching a potential employer. Students understand the opportunities in the hidden job market and appreciate the importance of presenting in a professional manner.
Students undertake external work placements to expose them to real work environments to develop employability skills and job readiness. Students have attended placements at veterinaries; Real-estate agents; Cafes; Bunnings & Construction.
As a result of the work placements, we are observing that some students are beginning to realistically consider their career paths. One student spent a week at a real-estate agent, a week at Bunnings, has a placement setup in child care and is interested in a placement in a beauty and make-up salon; she is gaining an understanding of a variety of industries and what they might look like to work in, meanwhile growing in confidence and adding these experiences to her resume.
A couple of external speakers have addressed the group, presenting their stories about goal setting, developing resilience & fortitude and getting over barriers. Student feedback was the stories resonated well and that they empathised with the presenters.
The ‘Young Beans Cafe' commenced operating an additional one day each week (Wednesdays 10-2pm) during term 2. This proved to be successful as the number of customers to the cafe' increased significantly due to the centre operating a community lunch, mum's and bubs group and a bingo group on the same day. The cafe' continues to open on a Friday afternoon (12-2pm) which tends to be a quieter day with the focus on further development of student's barista, customer service and cafe' management skills.Ten students now have their ‘Basic Barista' certificate and are working towards their 50hrs of volunteer work at the cafe.
Bellambi Neighbourhood Centre has African hand drums and students have on a number of occasions started their own drum circle, with several students remembering rhythms they learnt in primary school. Following their interests, a music program was started part way through term 2 with an experienced drummer volunteering to teach traditional African rhythms.The program is run on a Friday afternoon in conjunction with the cafe' and is also open for members of the community.This has brought together community elders, volunteers from the centre and cafe' customers, along with the young people, where intergenerational interactions are taking place and people are working together in developing community ties.
The partnership between Bellambi Neighbourhood Centre, Corrimal High School and Bellambi Surf Club remains strong. Our amazing volunteers Vic Huggins and Michelle Coughlan continue to bring invaluable support, experience, knowledge and skills to the program.
Students have attended the YES (Youth Engagement Strategy) at TAFE each Friday during Term 4. Students were exposed to several different industries to enable them to gain real work skills and an appreciation to the environmental conditions associated with each industry.
Fortunately, we are now in a position to add a casual cafe' manager. Honora Jenkins will be joining the Engage 2518 team, working 8 hrs per week. Her main role and responsibility will be to;
- enhance the program through working closely with the students
- re-introducing basic cooking skills
- managing operational function of the cafe'
- ensuring procedures and policies are adhered to.
Honora has previous cafe' management experience and has worked from the centre with some of the students having already developed a good working relationship with many of them. With the additional staff support the coordinator will be able to work more closely with students who are not regularly attending to identify barriers and put a suitable support structure in place, as well coordinate additional internal and external program activities.
Suitable projects are being sought in conjunction with Wollongong Council where students can take ownership of; examples are art projects/graffiti cover on bus shelters, gardens and walls.
A student development day has been scheduled for the first week of term 3. Students will re-visit setting goals assessing where they currently are and what they plan to achieve over the coming 6 months. They will complete surveys for the collection of quantitative and qualitative data, review changes to the term timetable and the opportunities to attend further training and programs. Feedback from students will be used to continually refine the program, incorporating student inputs and suggestions where possible.
Students will be periodically counselled focusing on welfare & wellbeing to ensure student needs are anticipated.