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Unemployed young men graduate with work-ready skills

Media release

A group of 18 unemployed young men with intellectual disabilities have gained vital job skills after graduating from a Men’s Shed mentoring project run by Curtin University and Western Sydney University.

The men, aged 17 to 24 years, were awarded their graduation certificates by Disability Services Minister, the Hon. Stephen Dawson, at a special ceremony attended by Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry yesterday.

Over a six-month period, the young men visited their local Men’s Shed once a week to work on a range of projects, including woodworking, metal work, gardening, arts and crafts, and computers.

Project Lead Dr Ben Milbourn, from the School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology at Curtin University, said he was delighted that one of the young men had already secured a job.

“We are so proud of these 18 young men for their commitment to the mentoring program, which has equipped them with social and practical skills to help prepare them for the workforce,” Dr Milbourn said.

“By working with mentors from their local Men’s Shed who had been trained by occupational therapy and nursing academics from Curtin University and Western Sydney University, these young men boosted their confidence and knowledge of work skills, experienced decreased anxiety, and developed their work routine and work relationships.

“One of the young men has already secured employment after taking part in the program and many will continue their involvement with their local Men’s Shed because of the relationships and skills they have developed.”

The young men were recruited through employment agencies, including Edge, Life Without Barriers, Workpower, Valued Lives and the Disability Services Commission.

The group took part in the mentoring project through the Men’s Shed programs run in Manning, Fremantle, Victoria Park, Stirling, Yanchep, Mundaring and Joondalup.

The mentoring program, funded by the Department of Communities, was carried out in partnership with Therapy Focus.

The graduation ceremony, held at the Manning Senior Citizen’s Centre, was also attended by City of South Perth Mayor Sue Doherty, WA Men’s Shed Association Executive Officer Gary Bryant, Federal Member for Swan Steve Irons, South Perth MLA John McGrath, South Metropolitan MLC Kate Doust, participants, friends and family members and mentors from the Men’s Sheds.