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TRY Australia is now Sparkways! Find out why and how it might affect you here.

For most young people the end of high-school marks an exciting transition into further study or full-time employment. But for some this transition doesn’t come easy. In Stefan’s case his acute shyness and lack of confidence was proving a barrier for him embracing the next stage of his life.

Referred to us by his high-school teacher, Stefan joined our Social Enterprise program in 2017. For the first few months, Stefan didn’t talk to anyone and avoided contact with his peers wherever possible.

But with the encouragement and support of the Sparkways team Stefan began to come out of his shell. Slowly he began participating in conversations and became more and more comfortable having his voice heard.

The Sparkways approach meant that Stefan was able to get the extra attention he needed to build his confidence and sense of belonging in a workplace environment – while gaining practical construction skills that he could take into his first job.

For Stefan, a hands-on learning environment was much more beneficial for him than the mainstream education system. Through our social enterprise he was able to learn skills and techniques in a safe and supportive environment that catered to his individual needs.

Through our partnership networks we were able to facilitate a paid opportunity for Stefan as a member of the McConnell Dowell Level Crossing Removal team. He is so excited to be working at a large construction site, doing odd jobs and learning first-hand about the industry.

Nick highly recommends the Sparkways Social Enterprise programs, especially to young people experiencing barriers to participation of inclusion, because of the extra support that you wouldn’t receive at other services.

Note: This story was first published 06.20.18 and was updated 13.01.21