Loving learning at Livvi's

NOVA Transition has a big focus on high-quality work experience that provides our trainees with a taste of the working world and the skills needed to thrive in it.

Livvi's Cafe in Elara Estate is one of the fantastic businesses Rouse Hill Nova Transition has partnered with. Owners Brendon and Debbie have been teaching us some valuable skills about food hygiene, customer service and hospitality.

The cafe is part of the Touched by Olivia Foundation and a percentage of each coffee sold goes towards helping to build inclusive play equipment for children with disabilities. ‘Our reason for existence is to help the Touched by Olivia Foundation build inclusive play spaces,’ says Brendon. ‘We also have a goal to help young people with disabilities transition into open employment.’ 

The best day of my life!

More than one graduate of NOVA Transition nominated last Wednesday - graduation day - as the best day of their life! And it’s not hard to see why.

It was a day of pure celebration for the graduates of 2017 attending a three-course lunch with live entertainment, awards and dancing at the Catholic Club in Campbelltown.

We celebrated more than 80 young people with disability graduating from NOVA’s two-year transition-to-work program and gaining their Certificate 1 in Work Education. (See previous blogs for more details of some lessons learned during the training, including work-ready skills, such as goal setting, resume writing and interview practice, and life skills, like healthy eating, healthy mind and travel training.)

A fair go

Just imagine: you’ve landed a job, you’re starting to earn money, maybe you’ve even moved into your own place – life is sweet! And then…

…you accidentally spend the rent money; or you lose money through a scam, or you’re not being treated fairly at work.

Luckily, there are ways to avoid these situations, or minimise the damage if they arise. To find out how, Hornsby NOVA Transition hosted Windsor, Rouse Hill and Blacktown outlets for some interactive sessions with Arienne Bourne from Fair Trading NSW.

Lights, camera, action!

Industry visit to ABC Studios and Media Production

At NOVA Transition, we research industries and learn about different job types experientially – by seeing and feeling what it’s like. We learn through exploring in fun, engaging way. So when Liverpool Transition trainees were presented with an opportunity to tour ABC Studios and Media Production they jumped at the opportunity.

The day was planned from beginning to end (all part of our learning here in Liverpool). We read the tour rules, found out how to get there and mapped out our way to Ultimo. We even appointed our cameraman for the day: Jordan, one of our trainees who is keen to explore photography and social media as one of his job choices.

Having a ball in Windsor

Friday the 13th might be unlucky for some but certainly not for the trainees of Windsor, Richmond, Blacktown, Rouse Hill, Parramatta and Hornsby who were treated to a professional coaching clinic at Windsor tennis courts.

It was the most beautiful spring day and we all made sure we had sunscreen, hats and water bottles. We knew we were in for a day of fun when our coaches, Tony and Arvind arrived with a boot packed with racquets, balls, nets, hula-hoops and a BBQ! Between them, Tony and Arvind have 42 years of coaching experience and were recently awarded Tennis NSW’s Coaching Excellence Award: we were in good hands.

For young people with disability, being able to take part in social activities, access local facilities and maintain a healthy lifestyle is key to long term independence and wellbeing. It's one of the reasons that NOVA is passionate about promoting inclusiveness. Tennis is a terrific way to tick each of those boxes.  

Hospitality how-to

Hospitality is a great career choice for many NOVA Transition trainees. Ben, Johnny, Manisha and Yunn from Blacktown NOVA Transition recently did a four-week barista course to develop the waiting skills they would need for work in a café or club.

You might think that a barista course is about making coffee, but there’s a lot more to working in hospitality than making the perfect latte. Understanding the tricks of the trade means you can look professional. For example, you can:

  • carry a heavy tray of glasses without spilling or dropping anything
  • see when a customer has had too much alcohol
  • carry three plates to the table at a time
  • and more!

Getting technical at the Microsoft store

Learning about technology is an important component of NOVA Transition training. But at Richmond and Windsor NOVA Transition, we learned about much more than technology on a recent industry visit to the Microsoft Flagship Store.

Before we even began to look at Microsoft products, we practised our travel training to get into the city, and then had to negotiate the hustle and bustle of Pitt Street Mall.

When we arrived at the store we were given a card on a lanyard with activities to explore the different products. As we moved around the store, we tried:

The sweet taste of success

The path to employment can feel like a long road. But that makes the taste of success all the sweeter when you reach your goal.

Three young men – Pissett, Lochlan and Hayden – are now enjoying life in the workforce following their NOVA Transition training. In fact, NOVA Transition gave them a big leg up on the journey to employment. Lochlan says he developed good skills in customer-service, time management and organisation through NOVA training and work experience; while Hayden says that NOVA also helped him to learn how to live more independently.

Experiential learning for independent living

Knowledge is experience. Everything else is just information. – Einstein

At NOVA Transition, we focus a lot on learning experientially – through doing, rather than by reading or watching. It’s a great way to build up our skills and confidence so we’re ready to get a job. But experiential learning is also really important to prepare ourselves for living independently.

At Caringbah and Engadine NOVA Transition, we learn how to

  • cook for ourselves
  • get around on public transport
  • be wise with money.

Getting the heads up on mental health

Award-winning singer-songwriter Lucy Neville, 21, has experienced the stigma and discrimination associated with having a mental illness.

But the Beyond Blue volunteer guest speaker had some positive messages about dealing with anxiety when she visited Windsor NOVA Transition recently.

Anxiety had been part of Lucy’s life from the age of 13. She would assume the worst of every situation. She would avoid social situations, and was often crippled with feelings of paranoia and panic if forced to catch public transport or meet new people.

Making small talk

Being able to make conversation with others at work – whether they’re your colleagues or your customers – is important for finding and keeping a job. Here at NOVA Transition Penrith, we regularly practise our communication skills as we work towards becoming job-ready.

Making small talk comes more naturally to some people than others. The good news is that it’s something that you can get better at with practice.

So what exactly is small talk and why is it so important?

Industry visits: more than meets the eye

When you have a job that matches your skills and interests, you’re more likely to do it well, to enjoy it, and to keep it. It’s a win-win situation for you and your employer.

But how do you know what jobs you like and are good at? Finding out about our trainees’ interests and skills is one of our key strategies here at NOVA Transition.

That’s why industry visits are such an important part of our program. Visiting a local workplace gives trainees an insight into what it would be like to work there – and to get a sense of whether they would enjoy it.

But there are other benefits of an industry visit as well – as this story shows.

Learning experientially

I hear and I forget, I see and I remember. I do and I understand – Confucius

We learn experientially at NOVA Transition. Do you know what this means? At Caringbah and Engadine outlets we do! Learning by doing (instead of by reading or watching) is an important part of our training for Certificate 1 in Work Education at NOVA Transition. Not only is it a good learning strategy; it also gives us experience, which helps with getting a job.

Why I come to NOVA Transition

If you're going to spend three days per week for two years at NOVA Transition, you want it to be worthwhile, right? 

It certainly has been for the many former trainees who are now employed – read some of their stories here

For Danika, a trainee at Rockdale NOVA Transition, there are plenty of reasons to show up each day: 

'I come to NOVA Transition because there are people who help and support me on my journey to find a job I’m interested in.

How is Transition different from school? Part 2

Trainees from St Marys and Campbelltown NOVA Transition outlets have been pondering the differences between school and life at NOVA Transition. You can read St Marys' take on the subject here. Meanwhile enjoy Campbelltown trainees' creative approach:

A day in a life: Transition (versus school)

No glitter or crayons, assignments or tests
No Sir, Madams or Miss
No hands up or late notes
No bullies or cool kids.

How is Transition different from school?

After finishing year 12, young people with disability can go on to a two-year program with NOVA Transition.

So is Transition an extension of school? Trainees from St Marys and Campbelltown NOVA Transition outlets have been pondering the differences. And they’ve taken very different approaches to explaining what they came up with!

St Marys

School is for all children who start when they are five years old, finishing year 12 by age 18. In school we learn reading, writing, respect and discipline.

Another happy parent

Imagine being the parent of three taxpayers.

Kathy Sammut never imagined this would be her life. She recalls that when her children, Anthony, Michelle and Matthew, finished school, she and her husband would say, ‘They’re going to be home all the time, and they’re not going to see the world out there’.

But all three have found work through NOVA Transition Liverpool.

Focus on Ability Film Festival 2017

NOVA Employment’s Focus on Ability Short Film Festival 2017 is almost upon us. It’s been called ‘the most inclusive film festival in the world’ and we love it.

Inclusive because of its theme, because it’s open to everybody, and because there are no entry fees. Plus there are so many ways you can participate: by making films, watching them online (and voting for your favourites), or organising a festival event or screening in your community.

So here’s a timely reminder: entries close on 30 June. Your film must be no longer than five minutes (not including credits) and must be about the ability of people with a disability. We’ll upload all eligible entries to the website on 25 July, and voting will then be open until 7 August.

Let's get working

Let’s be honest: there’s a lot to getting a job. Before you can walk in that door as an employee, you’ll need to:

  • figure out what sort of job will suit you
  • get some training (unless you are already able to do the job)
  • apply for positions – this might be by:
    • responding to an advertisement
    • talking with people about what work they have available
  • write resumes and cover letters
  • convince an interviewer that you’re the person for the job.

Phew! It can be a tough gig. NOVA Transition is here to support you along the path to employment. A valuable resource is NOVA Employment’s Let’s Get Working website, which is packed with practical tips and advice for job seekers.

Catching up on bus business

What better way to learn about travelling by public transport than to take the train to the bus depot?

That was the mission of the Windsor Wolves on a recent excursion. Being able to use public transport is an important skill that we practise at Windsor NOVA Transition: it enables us to travel independently to work.

But we decided to go one step further and find out all about buses, the bus industry and what it's like to be a bus driver. So we headed to Windsor Busways Depot to meet Ian, the Manager, and Senior Bus Driver Chris.

Please wait