Local students experience at the Learning Centre

Recently, Mercy Connect partnered with Victory Lutheran College VCAL students to offer a unique work experience opportunity.

On Wednesday 2nd May, Mercy Connect hosted an induction afternoon in the Chapel at St. Johns for the 10 students from Victory. The students alongside school staff travelled to St. Johns to meet with staff and participants. Their induction included a tour of the St. Johns grounds showcasing a number of Day programs that are held there, including Woodwork, Art and Craft room and the Bottlebrush Cafe, where they were able to meet participants for a brief chat.

They were then given an informative session with Jessie – Manager People and Culture, who spoke to the students about Mercy Connect, who we are and our background in the Disability Industry. Megan (Support Coordinator) also spent time chatting to the students about starting off as a DSW and the paths this industry can take you, the benefits of this job and how to get into the industry once you leave school.

On Wednesday 9th May and Wednesday 23rd May, the VCAL students split into two groups of 5 and spent the afternoon’s at the Learning Centre day program. During the sessions, they were able to interact with the participants and undertake a range of activities with them. The students also had the chance to chat to the staff about their roles and how they got into the industry.

The students sat with the Disability Support Workers to learn what it means to support someone with a disability and how to encourage skill based learning on a daily basis. The students also chatted with participants including Nicholas about his interests and what he does at the Learning Centre and Susan, who chatted about her regular staff and her love for cats. They played ball with Michael and Chris, who appeared to enjoy the interaction.

According to the DSW’s at the Learning Centre, Rachael, the teacher from Victory Lutheran College, is one of the best teachers they have met. Rachael’s love for the students and participants were shown through the way she interacted at the sessions. Rachael spoke individually to each participant making them feel special and valued. She also brought her own spinning wheel and Alpaca wool and sat with the participants and showed them how to spin wool. Books about Alpaca’s were also brought in and helped participants visually. The participants, especially Coral and Bradley expressed their delight in spinning wool. Prior to spinning the wool, Bradley had a little anxiety and during the spinning he totally relaxed and loved doing it and didn’t want to stop!

Overall, the participants enjoyed interacting with new people and the students enjoyed the opportunity to experience what it is like to work in the Disability Industry.