Equal@Work is a tailored learning and mentoring program that supports people with disability to develop employment skills and access paid employment. The program is a collaboration between Yooralla and the Box Hill Institute/Centre for Adult Education.
There are three ways you can be involved in Equal@Work, as either:
- a person with disability looking to build skills to gain employment,
- a volunteer mentor for people with disability, or
- an employer looking to provide employment opportunities to support people with disability.
The Equal@Work program is comprised of four stages.
- A six-week pre-accredited course
The Skills for Life and Work course is conducted at Box Hill Institute’s city and Shepparton campuses. This classroom-based course is tailored for people with disability and covers: interview and communication skills, reading job descriptions and writing resumes, and industry tasters including: hairdressing, gardening, administration, horticulture, commercial kitchen (e.g. cooking, kitchen hand), hospitality (e.g. waitressing) and manufacturing skills.
- An eight-week mentoring program
At this stage of the program, volunteer mentors work with the participants to understand and apply their learnings from Skills for Life and Work course. Volunteers are all screened for suitability. Once accepted, mentors undertake a training program, which covers mentoring principles and disability awareness.
Mentoring sessions run for two hours a week, and are based around a series of workbooks that comprise: daily planning, dreams and aspirations, rights and responsibilities, occupational health and safety, job seeking, and a site visit at a potential employer. After the mentoring sessions, participants are assessed to ascertain their work readiness.
- Work experience
Participants undertake a three-week work experience placement, either at Yooralla Business Enterprise or external employers. The program supports participants to find meaningful opportunities in the local employment market, based on their goals and aspirations.
- Job search
The Equal@Work team then works with participants to develop a meaningful job plan. This process includes investigating employment opportunities and supporting participants through their interview process and then assisting them in their transition to the workplace. The team also work with the employer to ensure that workplace is accessible.