WDEA Works SLES Program Means Game On for Matt and Phoenix
The pathway to a career is not always a simple one, and the School Leavers’ Employment Support program (SLES) uses a variety of innovative ways to help school leavers find their way into meaningful employment. SLES is a NDIS service designed to prepare young people for employment, and WDEA Works was able to connect two of its participants.
Matt (pictured), a Shepparton SLES participant, has a passion for video games and his dream job is to be a game developer.
Matt’s WDEA Works Consultant Reggina Vasi (Reggie) designed Matt’s COVID-19 virtual sessions to be as engaging as possible, while still working towards Matt’s goals of future employment. Reggie found an online game builder site that allows prospective game developers to create their own game, constructing everything from the buildings, characters and background rules, including actions for the gamer to follow.
Matt’s experience of making his very own game was a great demonstration of the ‘behind the scenes’ skills needed, and all the work that goes into creating a game. Through the process, Matt learned how to troubleshoot on his own, and was able to add further levels. Matt and Reggie have since researched about the further skills, education and experience you may need to get a job in the game development field. Matt has identified certain courses he’d like to do, and the technology required.
Despite the restrictions COVID-19 has put in place for SLES, the availability of video calls has provided the opportunity to link participants in different regions and increase their social circle. After sharing Matt’s games with the broader SLES team, Haylee, an EPEC based at the Ballarat office, mentioned that one of her participants Phoenix had very similar interests and goals to Matt. Hayley shared Matt’s games with Phoenix during one of their individual sessions.
Hayley and Reggie decided to connect the two participants. After floating the idea with each of them, a group video conference call was scheduled for both Matt and Phoenix and their consultants Hayley and Reggie. As suspected, Matt and Phoenix hit it off, discussing their games and planning a collaboration. Using his existing skills, Matt was able to lead Phoenix through the discussions, sharing his new-found knowledge.
School Leavers Employment Supports (SLES) is a national disability insurance scheme service designed to prepare young people for employment. SLES is available for students who are leaving school though to 22-year-olds who have a significant disability and require support with the transition from school to employment. SLES is offered under the NDIS category Finding and Keeping a Job.
WDEA Works operates the SLES program across all 16 of its sites, and the SLES team meets on a weekly basis discuss ideas, challenges and find opportunities, including linking participants to increase social connections and learning opportunities.