[Sub ID 4860] Remediation of Cognition and Employability Skills Development (Warakirri College)

Submission ID: 4860
Organisation name: Warakirri College
Contact name: Ms Carolyn Blanden
State: NSW
Contact email: principal@warakirricollege.nsw.edu.au
Contact number: 0299143250

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

What need or issue are you trying to address?
We aim to address the issue of young people dropping out of study and not achieving or staying in employment due to diminished executive functioning skills.

It is now recognised that many young people in this group have suffered from some form of trauma through family breakdown and domestic violence, refugee experience, homelessness and frequent social/familial dislocation, substance misuse, pregnancy, interface with the justice system, being indigenous etc. Trauma, especially accompanied by non-supportive parenting which is common in this group, is known to impair executive functioning skills. Hence young people have difficulty learning, impaired short term memory, mental health challenges such as depression, inappropriate sleep patterns, tendency towards addiction and inability to successfully manage social and professional interactions.

The aim of the program is to collect and analyse data which will build a better understanding of how at risk young people can be equipped to successfully transition from study to sustained employment and independence by enhancing executive functioning skills.

Trauma has been shown to impair Executive Functions of the brain which adversely affecting both educational success and job success. Borella et al. 2010, Duncan et al, Gathercole et al. 2004, Bailey 2007

What is your idea?
This proposal is called ROCESD (Remediation of Cognition & Employability Skills Development). ROCESD provides a novel, cognitive enrichment program for 15-21 year old young people at Warakirri College, to overcome the impacts of trauma and social disadvantage to enhance executive functioning and education and employability skills.

The program will generate data to support implementation of strategies that deliver measurably better education, training and employment outcomes. Students will develop the skills to learn and skills to achieve and maintain sustained employment.

The ROCESD program is readily scalable, accessible to young people in regional and isolated areas and applicable to young people from educationally disadvantaged or CALD backgrounds

Neuroscience research has shown that the brain has the ability to change and adapt, both structurally and functionally, throughout life. ROCESD is a Brain fitness program (1) which uses specific brain-training exercises to produce improvements in cognitive performance and brain function. (2) Overall, our aim is to scientifically validate the feasibility and utility of cognitive training to mitigate the negative effects of traumatic experiences associated with social disadvantage.

Such a viable intervention that improves cognitive processing and executive functioning would empower and enable young people so they have the skills to achieve educational and employment outcomes.