A Different Path To Learning
Kalgoorlie youth disengaged with high school have found a whole new way to learn — one that puts them firmly in the driver’s seat.
Pathways to Employment, TAG’s Alternative Education Program, is an 18-week course adapted to the needs of each participant, a tailored approach that trainer Janna Sekhon said really worked.
“We spend the first few days getting to know them and asking what it is that they want,” she said.
“It’s not about forcing things on them but finding out what it is they would like to do. They are encouraged to help design the program and are often really surprised that they have the freedom to choose.”
Janna said while literacy and numeracy were part of the course, they could be delivered through games, rather than textbooks, and in one session, the group, aged between 15 and 17, might be solving a murder mystery one minute and playing Pictionary the next.
“By keeping it entertaining and interactive, while also teaching them, means they are more likely to engage,” she said.
Janna works closely with each student on an Individualised Transition Plan, identifying their education and employment goals and helping to take the steps to reach them. Those who complete the course also walk away with four competency units in the Certificate II in Civil Construction Pathways.
“For most, school doesn’t really work for them and they want to get a job, but it’s all about showing them their options and mentoring them along that path,” she said.
“Aside from practical sessions such as resume and interview skill workshops, a big focus is getting the youth out into the community, whether it’s volunteering at the garden centre, touring a mine site, or heading bush to do photography.
“Excursions and guest speakers are organised with a view to improving their employability skills, as well as giving participants the opportunity to meet and hear from potential employers.”
TAG, which provides pickups and drop-offs as well as healthy lunches for the participants, also organised for the current group to get their White Cards, which gives them entry to construction sites.
Janna said some participants might re-engage with school, while others used their new skills to apply for an apprenticeship or to get into TAFE.
“What makes this program so special is it’s not a one-size fits all – it is about helping each person learn more about themselves and what they can do, and then helping them to get there,” she said.