Over the last 6 months we’ve seen the Fortitude Valley Site connect with the community in a very positive way. A number of work experience participants have secured jobs both full time and part time, I believe the time they have spent here has contributed to their confidence, work ethic/routine and enhanced their skills to better prepare themselves to enter the workforce.
We have had a culturally diverse group of participants from; China, Iran, Philippines, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, Burma, Russia, where the project has provide a space for some to practice their English and communication skills on a regular basis.
Through the media hub activity, participants learnt a variety of skills, creating and producing a broad range of visual projects, developing skills in graphic design, basic web development, studio operations, and skills using 3D animation suites.
The participants had the opportunity to utilise their skills on real word projects, assisting non for profits and social enterprises with web development, graphic design and other technical issues with email and domain administration.
Resonate a local social enterprise who links professionals to not for profits and other social enterprises, needed our assistance with their pre-existing site rather than a new site built, work being carried out consisted of the following: site transfer and move from testing server to the registered domain, the creation and setting up of email accounts for the domain, page edits, parallax images fixed, content updated and removal of the account sign up and login features. The work was ongoing and the participants were challenged and gained exposure to the industry.
Participants have also had the opportunity to diagnose, repair, install software and hardware with Windows based PC’s and Apple IMac’s with OSX.
Some of the coding and language skills learnt include:
HTML & CSS: learning how to create websites by structuring and styling pages
PHP: Learning to program in PHP, a widespread language that powers sites like Facebook.
In addition to the main activities here at Fortitude Valley, we ran complimentary workshops to further enhance our participants skill set to re-enter the workforce, and to offer overall a more holistic approach considering participants many barriers.
Artspace was introduced in March 2015 as an environment for people to explore their creative talents and abilities. Artspace was held twice a week, which provided a space where participants have the opportunity to learn and use a variety of mediums such as charcoal, pencil, ink and acrylic paint, whilst learning a variety of illustration and painting techniques.
The connection achieved through this engaging workshop where participants are encouraged to think creatively and express their artistic talents, has empowered people, built confidence, self worth and discovery.
The creative writing group which is a part of the SORT Valley Hub ran two workshops a week - Monday and Friday - to engage the two different age groups of participants, the 18-30s and the 30+ groups.
The class runs between 2 hours, depending on the flow of discussion. The class is structured as a workshop, rather than a class. Little or no instruction is involved, rather the participants are encouraged to express themselves and then discuss each other’s work. We begin with a 5 minute challenge, and then move to a 10 minute and 15 minute challenge. The participants have their own book which we keep on site so that every time they write they are building a body of work.
Feedback from the classes indicates that the participants enjoy expression and hearing from each other. The participants get to know each other better and are developing skills in not only reading comprehension, writing expression but also in debate, discussion and empathy towards others expression and views and experiences.
After being unemployed for 5 years and having numerous employment barriers, *John secured employment with a Government Department within the area of Science, Information Technology and Innovation as a Digital Delivery Officer. *John utilised his time with us to keep up his skills, apply for jobs and research new technologies. John used me as a reference and dropped in to say thank you for giving him a glowing reference which helped him to secure the job.
A number of other participants have gone on to full time and part time work in the areas of hospitality, trade areas, business, sales, real estate, graphic design, fashion retail and aged care, one has applied to commence full time education after developing a portfolio of work while with us at SORT.
*name has been changed to protect the participant’s identity.