...value and form good relationships with your lecturers. The added insight they can provide outside of lectures is invaluable.
I studied a Bachelor of Business Management in Brisbane and completed the degree in 1997.
Leticia and I met in 2010 when I was working with the Salvation Army Employment, which included managing work experience for the Gold Coast area. Leticia was the Marketing and Volunteer manager at Volunteering Gold Coast. Volunteering was a very useful activity for job seekers that had a work experience requirement and Leticia always welcomed new volunteers for her various not-for-profit organisations. As we collaborated we realised how compatible we were - and have stayed together ever since.
After graduating in Business I worked in Banking for five years, predominantly in the small business finance department. While I found the role interesting, I was not fulfilling an internal need to assist those who really need it. Looking to make a difference, I started working in the Employment Services industry where I performed various positions. I was an employment consultant for Indigenous, mature age, youth, very long term unemployed, people with disability and non English speaking background groups.
I assisted these groups with employ-ability skills training and marketing into employment. I started to see a gap in the existing methods linking people’s natural strengths to the industries that thrived on those particular skills.
I was later given the opportunity to manage other consultants and create methods for monitoring and increasing the rate of job seekers into sustainable employment. I felt restricted due to resources and processes that were very prescriptive and not efficient enough to assist the participants that had the most difficulties. I saw this as an opportunity to design a comprehensive method to fill the gap that current services don't address. Inspiring participants to find out about themselves, gaining industry knowledge and creating a personalised career plan.
With an understanding that employment represents the main activity in a person’s life, Leticia and I decided to dedicate our lives to improving the selection of a career. We started two businesses; one focused in providing assistance to unemployed people or people who are currently working in an incompatible industry, and the second in the area where I believe is making the most difference, our program for young students including disengaged youth, who all together represent the future of Australia.
The fact that I came to Australia when I was 15 years old allowed me to fully experience two different cultures. After adapting I could understand the challenges both internal and external of feeling outside of the norm. Disadvantaged youth and Indigenous Australians have a similar feeling and go through similar challenges. The current school system is not completely suited for these minority groups. While most students can learn by reading, listening and writing, disadvantaged youth and Indigenous Australians absorb more when the information is presented in a more kinetic form, allowing them to learn by experience and involvement, utilising their imagination to engage their cognitive ability. One of the main clues that led me to this understanding was the Indigenous traditional method of learning - storytelling. This is one of the main principles we use in our Foundation skills and employability training courses.
The moment I realised I could relate to the most disadvantaged people by being their consultant and taking their interests into my hands. Putting a positive spin on their natural abilities and getting that “thank you” handshake when they changed their lives through employment. Another major highlight was of course when I decided to create my own business dedicated to what I believe in the most, which is improving life and society by assisting those most in need.
I was born in El Salvador, Central America at a time of civil war. My father was a successful Agricultural Engineer and despite his good position, the war made it very unsafe and there were very limited opportunities for our future. In Latin America, Australia is known for having a highly respected education system which opens doors all around the world. Due to an immigration program being offered, he made the tough decision to relocate. To learn a different language as well as another culture was challenging, and it took some time before we could adapt and make the most of the opportunities Australia had to offer, but we did it, and the process has sure made me understand the importance of pursuing your life calling.
Walk Of Life Training Inc (WOLTI)
Walk Of Life Training Inc (WOLTI) is a not-for-profit Charity established to provide intensive employment training, education, case management and other supportive services to high risk youth. Our mission is to promote self sufficiency among youth for a productive and prosperous transition into adulthood. WOLTI aims to provide education support, job readiness training, vocational skills development, entrepreneurship training, case management services and other intensive supportive services to youth at risk.
As a result of our work, disengaged youth participating in WOLTI will have education, marketable employment and vocational skills, be employed in careers that have defined career paths for continual growth and advancement, and will overall be more self-sufficient. These attributes will allow them to support themselves, and view attainment of education as a valuable and necessary tool for success in life. These youth will depend less on social services, and will be able to share their experience and knowledge with their families and friends in the community.
Our approach to motivating youth participants involves learning by hands-on activities and drawing lessons from experience. We also address employ-ability skills with the WOLTI Assessment Tool which is designed to discover each individuals most positive traits and link them to the most suitable work place environment. It also provides a list of suitable suggested jobs to research.
The training includes foundation and employability skills training, resume preparation, interview techniques, overcoming objections, work place visits, industry guest speakers, networking events with potential employers and employment related organisations, financial and time management, and one on one meetings throughout the program with each participant to discuss and make appropriate referrals to other community programs, training organisations and employer connections such as traineeships, work experience or job searching strategies.
My Career Walk (MCW) program for job seekers
With the vision of placing people in suitable employment as a method of improving living conditions for the person, their family and the community around them making our society full of success and harmony, we created the MCW (My Career Walk) Program. The development of this training program was based on over twenty years of employment services and volunteer management experience, together with extensive research on human behavior and personal development. It provides a method that can efficiently lead a Job Seeker and his/her Consultant to discover their most relevant positive personality traits which results in providing knowledge, confidence and motivation.
MCW Program "results page" also shows how to relate these personality traits to the employment environment that best suits them, and finally, it provides suggested jobs where they can begin their search for a successful and sustainable career.
The best advice I can give to current ACU students would be to value and form good relationships with your lecturers. The added insight they can provide outside of lectures is invaluable. Don’t focus too much on the marks you receive - but more on your understanding of each subject and how it will be useful for your future career. Finally, do consider work experience, casual employment or volunteering during your time at ACU, and try to do it in a workplace related to your study. In the end when everyone graduates and everyone has a degree, that experience is what will differentiate you from the rest. Remember any job, no matter how basic, will give you transferable skills which will eventually prove useful.
We are working on a project for the near future, to provide disengaged Indigenous in remote areas the opportunity to work and earn an income without having to relocate. There will be temporary accommodation and a Permaculture garden to provide food in a micro environment including some animals and a range of edible vegetation.
During their stay they will have access to a work shed with areas and materials to create manual arts, craft, pottery, weaving and painting. There will be instruction videos donated by existing Indigenous artists and manufacturers so they can learn from their own culture.
The shed will include an exhibition area for tourists to come in and purchase their creations, and we will also create a website so that the products can be purchased nationally and internationally. The costs will be covered by the price and the remaining income will go directly to the artist with no middle man, so that Indigenous in remote areas see the value in participating.
Page last updated: 2017-11-14
Short url: http://www.acu.edu.au/790809