A little work experience goes a long way for Tiana

WAVE School students are getting a taste of work thanks to a new program at the school.

The school’s co-ordinator Damian Farley said the industry mentoring program was like a work experience program, but more specifically tailored to the students.

“There are existing programs and opportunities that aim to prepare young people for work, but they are often too brief to provide ongoing learning for the student, or to allow a business to invest enough time in a student to do more than basic odd-jobs,” Mr Farley said.

WAVE School tries to engage young people who have become severely disengaged from mainstream education by helping them achieve Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning certificates.

“For many (of our students) they are at an age where they are outgrowing the mainstream school environment, but they’re not yet ready for full-time employment,” Mr Farley said.

“Industry mentoring bridges this gap.”

The program kicked off yesterday, with WAVE School student Tiana Kladaric, 16, beginning her first day of mentoring at Ishka in Warrnambool, under the guidance of store manager Sahra Beckham.

“I think it’s really important to give young people a chance to step out ... and have a go,” Ms Beckham said.

“And I’m grateful for the opportunity it gives me to put back into the community.”

Students will undertake weekly work experience sessions over a period of months in what is hoped to be “a more supported, ongoing experience” than traditional work experience, which typically happens in a couple of week-long slabs, Mr Farley said.

“The aim of the program is to provide young people with a better introduction to, and immersion in, the world of work and specific industries they are interested in. All schools have work experience programs that provide students a snapshot of the world of work. However, these tend to be only a couple of weeks which restricts how much a student can learn and how valuable they can become to a business. 

“The industry mentoring program provides a more supported, ongoing experience.”

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