Northcott-led ‘FutureFit Forum’ tackles post-school transition

By Natalia Carozzi, 5 June 2020 , Comments

Following the positive feedback received from attendees at our first FutureFit Forum in Term 1, Northcott has again brought together a selected group of Support Transition Teachers (STTs) and disability industry experts to continue the conversation. The purpose of these events is to share insights and ideas to better support young people with disability to find meaningful employment and ensure they are ‘FutureFit’ for life in the workforce.

As part of their role, STTs support students with disability to transition and explore post-school options.

Last year, during a product review, Northcott interviewed several STTs to understand the current student journey and the impact it was having in their roles. From these discussions, it was evident that the current processes don’t work for all and, in some cases, make it difficult for STTs to support youth to transition into the workforce.

Northcott decided to kick off an initiative to advocate in this area, creating a safe space for exchange of experiences and ideas. Our aim was to work towards the shared goal of improving employment opportunities for students with disability as they transition from school.

Northcott Deputy Chief Executive Officer Lee Carpenter said: “The main idea of these forums is to have a space for collaboration and inspiration with like-minded individuals, capturing their pain points and creating an ecosystem of people who advocate for people with disability coming out of school, supporting them through the transition, and enabling them to lead a great life.”

While the focus remained the same, the second FutureFit Forum held recently had to be a bit different in delivery. This time it was hosted online, with the support of Brainmates, a company specialising in Product Management training, consulting and community.

National Disability Coordination Officer Devan Nathan, who attended both forums, noted: “It’s good to be part of the Futurefit Forums because of the focus on preparing students for the future and the thinking around the processes necessary for achieving it.”

One of the issues discussed in the first forum was the lack of statistics showing how young people with disability transition from school to being part of adult society, especially those who don’t have NDIS support.

Since then, Northcott has partnered with Western Sydney University to develop a longitudinal research study that looks into this topic. Attendees at the second forum were updated on the study by Dr Caroline Mills of the Occupational Therapy Program at Western Sydney University, who reported that the joint research would be carried out to understand the experiences and identify barriers for school leavers who made this transition.

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Maddy and Melissa, two Northcott Vocational Skills customers, who shared their experience of adjusting to participating in the program from home as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senior Advisor for Accessibility, Disability Rights at the Australian Human Rights Commission, Donna Purcell, was another guest speaker. She shared insights on a project related to increasing employment opportunities for people with disability.

This quarterly event will be continued, discussing different topics that will encourage conversations and solutions to enable young people with disability to become FutureFit.

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