We believe people in our GeekAbility program don’t need to be limited to class work on a computer – we embed digital skills in real workplaces, so that people can learn the business skills necessary to thrive in work.
While there are different training and vocational courses available, few provide the support, training and work experience steeped in digital literacy necessary to build bridges for people with disability the move towards paid mainstream employment.
The Geekability program has been recognised for its innovation, recently receiving support from the NSW Government’s Disability Sector Scale-Up (DSSU) initiative to provide people with a disability in Greater Western Sydney a unique pathway towards paid work opportunities. The program draws on the latest research and technologies to integrate digital literacy into an active and vital learning environment. GeekAbility is the start of training and work experience on the path to employment.
According to the Australian Digital Inclusion Index, more than 1 million people with disabilities in Australia do not have access to the internet, and over 85% of people with disabilities never find work in their lifetimes. This is a staggering statistic in a country with a population of only 24 million and where people with disabilities have much more support than in less-privileged countries.
Government agency Job Access has compelling evidence that people with disabilities are more productive, reliable and have lower recruitment costs and superior safety records than other workers.
We provide solutions to employers to make their workplaces disability-ready and then gives them workers trained with the specific skills they need for their businesses.
Young people with disabilities will learn practical digital skills that will enable them to manage their daily lives more independently and increase the proportion that secure paid employment. This will build their confidence, give them a sense of purpose, relieve pressure on their families and carers, create more fulfilling and inclusive workplaces and reduce inequality.
The program will be delivered by professional trainers and support workers on site at our learning centres. In workplaces, we offer internships and mentoring with accredited training by registered providers. As well as, in field travel training and social activities to develop life skills.
Most disability services have historically focussed on recreational activities and day care programs where clients are kept busy from 9am-3pm. We will combine early intervention and the tailored use of technology to develop individual plans for all students that focus on incremental progress toward achieving their personal and professional goals.
Unlike general activity-based programs, we will secure commercial work agreements that will set high expectations and deadlines that will need to be met by vocational teams supported by trainers. Processes will be broken down to component tasks that can be performed discreetly by student with high needs.
We acknowledge that everyone is different and even though each student has an individual plan and goals, we can all learn from each other as we learn together.
Young people with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community and this is why we want to create employment opportunities for them that will give them authentic commercial experience that will show prospective employers what they’re capable of. We will employ suitable graduates as trainers, support workers and corporate consultants to audit and educate workplaces how to become disability–ready.