Federation TAFE has been providing much needed support for over 500 members of the community in the last 5 years, who were seeking to return to education and employment through the Re-connect program, which is funded by the Department of Education.
The Re-connect program is free for people aged between 17 to 64 years that require assistance around further study options, employment, or volunteering. Many accessing support are vulnerable individuals who are faced with barriers such as family violence, mental health issues or literacy and numeracy difficulties benefit from the Re-connect program.
The goal of the program is to assist people with their personal goals, to become ready for study or employment and to support them to connect and thrive in their chosen pathway whether this be studying or employment.
Over a 12-month period, a case manager works with clients to give them the support they need to reach their goals using an integrated approach.
Alyce Knight was referred to the program by her employment agency. She jumped at the chance to participate.
“I wanted to further my education and get a position in a field that interested me, which was education”.
The 36-year-old describes herself as a “bubbly introvert who loves to learn new things”. Her mental health condition influences what she can do and how long she can do it for.
Previously she worked in retail and felt her lack of qualifications were holding her back from moving into a more fulfilling career.
One of Alyce’s biggest barriers is leaving her home and the comforting side of family and friends to do things on her own. She felt that the Re-connect program could help her “take baby steps to get into doing something I truly wanted to do”.
“Along with the help of Re-connect and my employment services provider, I have been able to achieve my goal of finishing my certificate through Federation TAFE and gain a low-hour position to be able to build me up to working full time.”
Alyce was able to focus on her education and self-confidence with her case manager's support. Her case manager made the process easy for her needs, including inviting family members along to appointments and meeting in mutual places so that the task did not feel unachievable.
“My case manager really thought outside of the box for me, every step of the way.”
Alyce is now thinking about further study, potentially taking up a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education to become a teacher and realise her dream, which is now one step closer.
“I am not the person I was three years ago because of the help from Federation and the Re-connect program.”