Project ready for next phase
Aunique partnership involving a Wimmera disability-service provider and two Horsham schools is set to enter its next phase with project leaders keen to start involving students in the program this year.
Warracknabeal’s Woodbine has established a base in Horsham College’s two-storey building as well as working at Horsham Special School as part of an expansion of services.
It is now ready to introduce students from the schools to the world of disability-service provision.
Woodbine chief executive Bernie O’connor said an initial stage of the project had been to establish and consolidate a Woodbine presence in Horsham.
“The initial aim was to get in and get settled and now we’re set up at both schools, the next aim is to involve the students,” he said.
“I’m wanting to get it happening this year. I’m ready to start talking about how we can engage students so we are contributing to the schools and the schools are contributing to us.
“Ultimately, at some point, students attending the college who gain insight and experience from the program might well consider working in the disability sector in the future.
“At the same time, we will get a good look at people who might become potentially immediate workers with Woodbine.”
The partnership is designed to enhance and develop new learning, activity and employment opportunities. It also has the potential to open new doors of opportunity for people with disabilities from across the region and beyond while stimulating student education and career ambitions.
Mr O’connor said about 11 people were so far using the service, which also involved working relationships with Bunnings and Spotlight businesses in Horsham.
“Reports are good. There are still a lot of people preferring to travel from Horsham to Warracknabeal, which is fine,” he said.
“But what we have to do is create and develop the same culture we have at Woodbine at the school and we’re confident this can happen.”
The inter-town program is designed to enhance service provision at Warracknabeal and ‘increase and enhance opportunities and choice’.
Part of the attraction for Woodbine in the arrangement is that it will have access to modern facilities at the new schools.
For Horsham College, the partnership concept is to provide students with opportunities for inclusive practice, work experience, schoolbased apprenticeships and traineeships and the potential for school leavers to enter the disability-sector workforce.
Woodbine has established a catering program at Horsham Special School and consolidating the partnership has the potential to open the door for other student-engagement activities.
“What we have to do is create and develop the same culture we have at Woodbine, at the school” – Bernie O’connor