The METWAY Project - a Toozly Research Model for pre-apprenticeship training for jobseekers with disability

Toozly has in the past worked with TAFE Colleges to design a 16-week pre-apprenticeship program specifically for school leavers and young people with a disability. Toozly worked with Swinburne College in Wantirna, Melbourne to design two such courses: one in automotive mechanics and one in hospitality.

Toozly chose both of these skills areas because of a shortage of skilled workers in both areas at that time in Melbourne and that apprenticeships were therefore in demand. Toozly called the program METWAY (Metropolitan East Training and Work Apprenticeship). Toozly provided support to the participants both at college and out of college to work on their competencies, their confidence and their ability to become independent both in the learning environment and the community.

This was a full-time program for the participants as they spent 3 days a week at TAFE and 2 days in Toozly’s specially designed program off campus, that aimed at increasing participant independence and competencies. Ten participants were involved in each of the motor mechanics and hospitality courses and two intakes were conducted over the 12 months, a total of 40 participants with disability received this service.

The off-campus program, designed by Toozly staff emphasised learning techniques, development of social competencies, work expectations and positive interaction with co-workers.

Adapting a pre-apprenticeship course for people with disability involved an emphasis on visual presentations of theoretical work, blending theory with practical examples to reinforce new concepts, providing information in smaller chunks and constant reviewing and testing of knowledge in a novel way. Toozly staff had special education background and assisted TAFE teachers at Swinburne TAFE to adapt their courses to specifically cater for the needs of students with disability. Toozly worked with TAFE staff during the period of the course and closely monitored the progress of each student.

At the end of the pre-apprenticeship course the aim was to place each participant into a full apprenticeship in their respective areas of specialty, supported by the Disability Unit of the TAFE college. Toozly successfully placed over 85% of participants: 100% of the automotive students were placed. Toozly used its recruitment resources to find appropriate apprenticeships for the participants who had a decided advantage having completed the pre-apprenticeship course. The program was fully funded for 12 months by the Victorian State Government who saw value in the program.

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