Job skills program blooms for people with disabilities


VMCH is proud to launch the latest branch in its job skills program, set to build a real pathway for people with disability to find paid employment.

Recent figures show working-age people with disability are twice as likely as those without disability to be unemployed. Insufficient work experience is one of the most common reasons people with disability have difficulty finding work (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020).

The Green Team will see up to ten people with disability take on garden maintenance at VMCH sites across Melbourne. There, they’ll learn practical horticulture skills, build confidence and gain vital experience. They will also be introduced to VMCH employment partners for further work experience and job opportunities.

Daniel Carter, VMCH General Manager Disability Services, says the Green Team – set to launch in April – is part of a huge job and life skills focus at VMCH.

“Our job skills program is focussed on giving adults and school leavers the skills, experience and confidence they need to move on to paid employment. The three areas we focus on are hospitality, horticulture and retail. From our Cre8 Program in Wangaratta, where people learn woodworking, to our travelling Coffee Lovers cart, we want to help people learn the skills they need to progress to a job they love,” Daniel said.

“We’re very excited to launch this addition to our job skills programs. The Green Team will not only provide practical skill development, but emotional support for the next part of their journey as people transition from trainees to paid employees.”

The Green Team will also run programs at Collingwood Children’s Farm, where participants can join in on gardening, farm tasks and woodwork activities – with proceeds from much of the work going back to support the farm and fund inclusive community programs.

Collingwood Children’s Farm Community Engagement Manager Steve Costello says his team is “really excited” to become an employment partner with VMCH.

“The Farm community is a brilliantly diverse one and while volunteering on a long-term basis provides a sense of community and connectedness, we recognise that for many, it is a pathway to paid employment that is desperately needed. Partnering with VMCH will allow the Farm to leverage its key attributes – access to green space, meaningful work, community and opportunity – to help people with disability transition to the workforce.”

The Green Team follows the recent launch of Where Is My Coffee?, a social enterprise café in Wangaratta, where eight young people are currently completing work experience, and loving every minute.

Trainee Bianca says she’s having fun learning new things and making friends.

“The skills I am learning here will help me to talk to people outside my comfort zone, and help me more in the future, when I am studying and have a full time job.”

VMCH is looking for people with disability who have NDIS funds to join the Green Team. If you are interested, or know someone who might be, contact us on 1300 698 624.