• Trent

More than just a job

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

Sometimes problematic drug and alcohol use can lead to someone losing their job or stepping away from the workforce. If that happens, places like The Centre for Continuing Education, offer a way forward.

I’m the first person many people speak to if they want to get back into work after long-term unemployment or if they want to sign up for the study they need to get into a job. I work with a range of individuals. Some are disengaged young people who’ve dropped out of formal schooling and who are at The Centre to complete their secondary school certificate. Others might have been out of the workforce for a while, build confidence to get another job, or perhaps they’ve never been employed before.

There are always reasons why someone left school early or has been unemployed for a long time, or has had trouble holding down a job. As one of the Learner Engagement Officers at The Centre, it’s my job to help people overcome those barriers.

Sometimes it’s simple; some folks just didn’t realise they could come to The Centre to finish their secondary schooling or to do a pre-employment course that’ll help them to get a job. Other times it can be more complicated. There can be a whole swag of reasons why people haven’t been able to reach up to climb out of their situation, and some of those can be the stress and anxiety or overcoming drugs and alcohol.

That’s where I come in. It’s my job to work with people and to put stepping stones in place to help them overcome the barriers to their getting education or employment. Sometimes people live out of town and don’t have any way to get into Wangaratta to attend classes. To get around that I might connect them to the L2P program where they can get their driving practice hours up, so they can get their licence.

I might work with someone who had a poor experience of education and dropped out of school early. I’ll try to convince them of the benefits of learning and how their completing a course could be a stepping stone to further education or even a job. They might be anxious or lack the confidence to meet new people or perhaps they’re afraid of the classroom environment. I’m here as support, and there’s no limit to how many times they can speak with me. I’m here for our learners for as long as they’re studying with us.

I get real satisfaction out of my job. Just last month, someone I worked with completed a Responsible Service of Alcohol program. That course gave them a real taste for study and now they’ve gone on to TAFE.

Often the hardest part is getting started. Once a learner has made it to The Centre, I’m there to offer the professional support, information, advice and guidance that they need.

We’ve got a wide range of programs can help: Reconnect is one of the best. It’s free, confidential and has a rolling start, so people can join in anytime and don’t need to wait until next semester before they jump in. That program and my support are here at The Centre, waiting for learners, as soon as they’re prepared to commit to education. Or commit to a chat.

If someone is hesitant about getting started, they only need to give me twenty minutes of their time and I'll convince them about how we can work together to change their circumstances. My number here at The Centre is (03) 5721 0200, or pop in and see me at Chisholm Street in Wangaratta. Even if it’s just for a chat.

How big a challenge is problematic drug use in your business? If something happened, how would you respond? Do you have the appropriate drug and alcohol policies in place?

Join us at our Wangaratta business breakfast on 16 April. RSVP here.

This article appeared in the Wangaratta Chronicle - we thank them for supporting our initiative.

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Since 2015 the Wangaratta Local Drug Action Team has been working with its community to improve awareness of the facts and issues surrounding drug use.

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