[Sub ID 4611] Spectrum Disorder Initiative (The Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE)

Submission ID: 4611
Organisation name: The Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE
State: VIC
Contact email: arigoni@gotafe.vic.edu.au

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young parents, Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Spectrum Disorders from a vocational perspective identify a broad range of mental conditions that affect people’s abilities to undertake training and work. However, it is unclear exactly how, for example, young people with ADHD, Asperger’s and Autism conditions, are affected in this context, other than it often leads to unemployment and being disengaged.

The ABS Labour Force Participation Data (2012) and Survey of Children Adolescents (2015) articulate the following problem in this area:
• Approximately 1 in 7 of 4–17 year olds surveyed had a mental disorder that affects their ability to study and work.
• Respectively, 7 and 0.5 % of these had ADHD and Autism.
• The workforce participation rate for people with Spectrum Disorders is exceptionally low compared to other workers. For example, the participation rate for people with autism was only 42% compared to 53% for other disabilities and 83% without disabilities.

GOTAFE as the largest provider of VET programs in the Hume Region has found through its Skills and Job Centres and its VCAL Pathways Unit that 1 in 3 students referred from schools have a Spectrum Disorders problem. A more targeted program and training is required address the problem from a vocational perspective.

What is your idea?
GOTAFE’s initiative proposes to develop an integrated transition and training plan to address the growing problem of youth with spectrum disorders entering the workforce. There are, for example, instances where youth with high-level functioning spectrum disorders are incorrectly treated the same way through existing curricula and work placement as youth with more severe disabilities. This creates a problem where the training not suite the person’s needs, and employers are incorrect informed on how to maximize the talents that individuals with high functioning spectrum disorders often bring with them, such as, an enhanced capacity to concentrate and solve complex problems. The development the vocational training plan will also help address the broader socio-economic problems exist when youth in this group become unemployed and disengaged in the community.

The Broad Spectrum Disorders training plan proposes to develop:
• A transition model that employs live and simulated vocational technology and training to prepare participants in this group for work and study.
• A Workplace Familiarisation/Work Experience Program implemented from Year 10 which address the transition issues into ongoing training, education and work.
• An Employer Awareness Program to help guide the successful employment of youth in this group.
• A marketing campaign to grow and support the Initiative in the community.

The Initiative, however, needs to be supported through specialised funding and support to be successfully developed. It is envisaged industry will provide ongoing support once the Initiative is operational.