Work experience placements can be beneficial to all

Ms Nadia Martucci and David Abrahams

A relationship between Lisarow High School, Youth Connections and Organise Internet has proven just how much value work experience participants can deliver to small, time poor and resource stretched host businesses.

The link between work experience and quality vocational education is well documented for students. The growth of new industries, coupled with the narrowing job-base in regional centres like the Central Coast, only affirm the advantages of getting work-ready prior to leaving the classroom. But can the experience be genuinely beneficial for the host business or organisation — an often small, exceedingly busy business with deadlines to meet, clients to communicate with and work to complete?

Mr Dave Abrahams and Mr Les Hornery of Organise Internet believe that, if the host provides the necessary investment of time and energy from the get go, the benefi ts back to the business can be outstanding. Youth Connections has been a valued service provider of Structured Workplace Learning for 19 years.

It has worked with schools, TAFEs and local employers spanning the Central Coast to coordinate structured work-placements for Year 11. Youth Connections constantly seeks new employers and businesses that can provide immersive, interesting and realistic work placement experiences to students hungry for an insight into the adult world. Organise Internet is an online development company that has been a partner in this work for the long haul, taking placements for over six years.

This year, that commitment reached new heights through the formation of an alliance with Lisarow High School’s Advanced IT class. Head of IT at Lisarow High, Mr Don McGuinness was incredibly supportive of the new arrangement. On a regular basis, Organise Internet took on pairs of students for a week of structured, engaged workplace learning in their Gosford-based media hub and IT studio. Mr Abrahams said he is adamant that work placements are a worthy investment for student and employer.

“We want students to get a genuine experience where they see how a business works in real-time and are effectively mentored and granted responsibility to make creative decisions,” Mr Abrahams said. “To do that, we need to put time and energy into each placement, but we are always rewarded for that effort through the student’s engagement.” he said.

During 2015, over 30 young people have been offered a vibrant and hands-on insight into the IT industry; a worthy contribution to youth education and employment outcomes. Organise Internet worked closely with several signifi cant clients, facilitating an opportunity for students to contribute to the editing of online projects and practise skills in coding, text, image and video editing.

This was in conjunction with side-projects in animation, video production, web programming and photo editing, tailored to the individual student’s interests and talents. By brokering a partnership where Lisarow High School students worked directly with the one employer, and placements were consistently coordinated around Organise Internet’s schedule and workload. Youth Connections could ensure a high quality experience that was mutually beneficial for student and employer.

This exemplifies the cross-sector collaboration the organisation is known for; procuring partnerships to ensure best-practice outcomes for young people. Lisarow High School student, Ms Nadia Martucci is testament to the success of this innovative model and to the calibre of both employer and student that Youth Connections works with in the Structured Workplace Learning program.

Through her impressive work-placement, she was offered part-time work with Organise Internet and now provides valuable assistance with the production, formatting and tagging of the online version of signifi cant publications. “They offered a realistic experience of what work is like in the adult world and I was treated like an adult rather than a student,” Ms Martucci said.

“I would love to pursue a career in IT, or business operations. “This has inspired me to own my own business in the future,” Nadia said. Mr Abrahams said that with a little preparation, student work placements can energise both students and employer. “If you approach it in a structured way, you can achieve fantastic outcomes for the student and your enterprise,” he said. “With the right resource allocation, you can get more work done and know you’ve done a great service in helping students like Nadia become truly great industry leaders.”

Media release, Oct 30, 2015 Ruby Wharton, Youth Connections