School Leavers Employment Program (SLES), Encourages Teenager’s Passion For Cooking
For 16-year-old teenager Colin, cooking and preparing a meal for his family meant more than just throwing together ingredients from the fridge. Colin’s experience with ADHD and a learning disability made a classroom-based education a challenge, so he decided to leave school. Fortunately, Colin was connected to consultant Monica from WDEA Works Bendigo NDIS School Leavers Employment Supports (SLES) program.
Like most 16-year-old teenagers, Colin was excited to start engaging in the adult world and gain independence. Monica and Colin decided to plan and prepare a family meal in order to increase his skills as part of his ‘Find and keep a Job’ goal. Tasks like these enable Colin to build the skills needed for future employment.
Working with Monica, Colin decided he wanted three things: To be supported to access his community, to increase his independence skills in daily activities and explore a future career with cars and mechanics.
The SLES program allows participants to determine their own goals toward developing the skills and confidence for employment. WDEA Works makes sure their SLES program is unique and tailored to the individual to help them reach their goal of employment.
With these goals in mind, Colin and Monica planned a session based on ‘healthy lifestyle’ and ‘travel training’. Together, Colin and Monica planned out all the steps required to prepare the meal, including selecting what to cook and planning the ingredients list. Monica drove Colin to his local supermarket in WDEA Works’ dedicated SLES vehicle, which helps to eliminate travel barriers for participants.
With Monica’s guidance, Colin was able to navigate the supermarket and gather all the ingredients. He was also able to present himself at the register and pay for the groceries.
Monica believes Colin has made excellent progress.
“I’m really proud of Colin making this meal for his family. I think people underestimate just how much confidence skills like shopping, money handling and cooking can provide someone. What may feel like a life-skill is also part of getting ready for employment” she said.
Colin’s mother Julie is also proud of Colin’s hard work and said the meal “tasted amazing”.
WDEA Works has carefully designed Colin’s SLES journey to ultimately guide him toward his goal of employment. By learning how to shop independently, Colin has learnt to become task oriented while developing his organisational and interpersonal skills which are important to have when finding and maintaining employment.