29 August 2022

Sam is on the tools at Hamilton Men’s Shed, building projects and his employment skills at the same time with the support of Young People’s Employment Pathways.

Sam and a Men's Shed volunteer wearing hats and gloves planting small plants in a box.

Sam is a young man with Autism who left school last year. Together with his parents John and Sally, Sam has been looking for the best option to support his transition from school into the workforce. They hadn’t found quite the right fit – until they came across Young People’s Employment Pathways (YPEP).

“One of our NDIS contacts suggested Life Without Barriers and this program. So, we met with Eduardo, and the vibe was really good. It felt like the right place for Sam,” said John.

Soon after their first meeting, Sam began exploring pathways with the support of his Employment Pathways Coach, Eduardo.

“The first week, Sam took me to all the retail shops that he would like to work at. Big W, The Lego shop – Sam loves Lego. Working in a retail shop is definitely a potential for the future, but to start with, we decided to focus on hands-on work and places where Sam can work independently,” said Eduardo.

After doing some research and talking to people around Newcastle, they received some feedback that the Hamilton Men’s Shed might be a great option for Sam. Sam and his parents contacted the Men’s Shed and organised a trial.

“Sam started his trial a few weeks ago, and I think everyone’s been really happy with it, especially Sam,” said John.

At the start of Sam’s placement, the Men’s Shed sent him a checklist of tools that he would be using. Sam’s parents helped him prepare for his induction by showing him how to use the tools around the house.

“Sam and his parents sent me pictures of Sam doing things at home with the tools. It was very rewarding to see how on board his family was,” said Eduardo.

Sam in the Men's Shed holding a drill.

So far, Sam’s favourite task at the Men’s Shed has been woodworking. He started working on a creative project, making a painting and constructing a frame out of wood.

“I am making a picture of Yosemite Sam to hang on my wall,” Sam said.

Sam is certainly taking the transition period very seriously. He has already started a second placement, working at the Adamstown Men’s Shed, setting up a garden and growing vegetables.

Sam planting small plants into a box at the Men's Shed.

Sam has only been in YPEP for a short time, but he has already met lots of new people, improved his communication skills and is feeling more confident every day.

“Sam looks much more comfortable in this environment now. He manages himself very well with things, putting tools back in place,” said Eduardo.

Sam’s father also noticed the progress Sam has made.

“We've certainly noticed Sam's independence."

"He thinks nothing now about getting on the bus and going to the shopping centre or somewhere he needs to go, which used to be a nervous time for us. So far, we've got nothing but praise for the program, it is really working well,” said John.

Thanks for allowing us to share your story Sam!

A person's story is precious. We take storytelling seriously. Sometimes people are able to tell their own story, and we love that. We always make sure they give us their ok, and we will always honour the trust placed in us to bring their story forward.

Young People’s Employment Pathways

Young People’s Employment Pathways supports young people with disability to gain skills and experience and to find meaningful employment.

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