Creating jobs from the ground up – Recent Sunshine Coast Daily article

A non-profit learning centre and a vocational college have teamed up to get young adults into work

“DO WHAT you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”Realistically, life is a little more complicated than an inspirational quote.

Fortunately for anyone on the Sunshine Coast who is looking for career inspiration,
Solutions 4 Learning is a great option. S4L is a non-for-profit adult learning centre on the grounds of Sanctuary Park Church of Christ in Nambour.

Formed via an army of passionate volunteers the S4L runs weekly programs to help adults improve their reading, writing, spelling, numeracy, basic computer skills and study skills.

Mainly funded through Queensland Government grants and donations, S4L have now joined forces with Smart City Vocational College offering courses in hospitality and horticulture. SmartCity’s modern and dynamic approach to learning is designed to re-engage young adults out of school.

Focusing on learning outside the square, SmartCity’s involvement with S4L combines hands on education with some theory for adults looking to gain important skills in the hospitality and horticulture industries. The purpose behind this proactive method is to better a student’s chance of gaining workplace apprenticeships and jobs within the industry.

Tim Wagland of SmartCity said it’s great to see the students’ confidence and skills grow.

“The bulk of students who stop attending classes only do so because they find employment,” he said.

One of those students is Didier Murphy-Russell, who is now starting a landscaping apprenticeship with East Coast Apprenticeships at Maroochydore.

Didier discovered the possibilities available at S4L and SmartCity after speaking with BUSY At Work’s Transition to Work Employment Consultant, Rebecca Fellows.

“I have always been interested in landscaping / horticulture fields, but did not have much experience. I completed BUSY At Work‘s career assessment tool and the results also confirmed that I am highly suited to landscaping type roles. This gave me added confidence to enrol,” Didier said.

Didier was one of many adult students who helped revamp the grounds provided by Sanctuary Park Church of Christ in Nambour. From stick and bush to pavement and beautiful gardens, the ability to learn hands-on skills in the industry provided an excellent opportunity for students suited to non-traditional methods of education.

Didier said his time at S4L taught him vital time management

‘‘ The bulk of students who stop attending classes only do so because they find employment.

along with health and safety skills which he is now utilising in the work force.

There are many different ways of learning, and for many young adults who don’t have the funds to access full training, finding the skills to pursue a career can be difficult.

The S4L adult learning initiative started in 1998 and CEO Di Cummings joined in 2000 with the shed opening at Nambour in 2010. During this time Di has faced numerous financial challenges, however with the help of kind-hearted volunteers, the not-for-profit Registered Training Organisation is servicing people in Nambour and the surrounding community in fostering a positive change for not only individual lives, but the community as a whole.

“It’s great to be able to offer this option to the disadvantaged,” Tim said.

If you are 15 years or over and are feeling unsure or lost about your career path, drop into the S4L office at 22 National Park Rd, Nambour or talk to Danny O’Brien of Smart City Vocational College on 0428 418 890.

Article written by Sunshine Coast Daily. Photo by John McCutcheon.

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