Cire’s Reconnect program is going from strength to strength, with client numbers almost doubling in just 12 months, demonstrating Cire Training’s reputation for supporting a diverse range of people to engage in positive education, training and employment pathways.
In 2021, 40 people benefited from Cire’s person-centred and holistic approach, and even more so due to the impact of Covid; the current caseload is 79, with an identified need for even more places.
Reconnect is a Victorian government-funded initiative to support eligible adults to engage with a training and/or employment pathway of their choice. The program supports adults who have been unemployed and not engaged in education for six months or more, as well as certain other priority groups. Those engaged with Youth Justice, on certain Humanitarian Visas and with lifetime experiences of Out of Home Care are also eligible. Using a case management model, the program supports people to engage with education, training and employment while providing wrap-around supports and referrals for up to 18 months. In this way, adults who may have otherwise struggled to engage in accredited training or sustained employment have the best chance of succeeding in their goals.
Funding for more participant numbers has steadily grown since Cire commenced delivering Reconnect in 2018, and last year Cire Training again successfully applied for extra funding for additional places in 2022.
Reconnect Coordinator, Erica German, said the additional funding clearly demonstrated Cire’s reputation for assisting learners to access supports, services and education and training opportunities.
“What makes us unique is our person-centred and holistic approach and local knowledge and networks with easily accessible support services,” said Erica, commending the expertise and commitment of the training team and ancillary staff.
Cire’s tailored assistance includes the delivery of tailored pre-accredited training programs, further strengthened by Cire’s wrap-around supports and established network and connections with external agencies
Cire’s wrap-around model is even more significant given the impact of Covid and ongoing challenges.
The pandemic presented challenges in terms of client engagement and rebuilding relationships with local support services to organise co-locations and receive referrals. These included the difficulties with support services working remotely as well as courses still being delivered online rather than face-to-face.
“With more people now back in their offices and a return to face-to-face delivery, it has become easier for us to support clients and refer them to more easily accessible local supports as needed,” Erica said.
Senior Reconnect Case Worker, Sara Chehade said the impact of COVID had been noticeable among clients in terms of their mental health and social interaction and the need to rebuild confidence and trust and re-engage.
“Reconnect has been so helpful because we offer that extra layer of support in our case management approach and holistic wrap-around support to assist the overall wellbeing of participants and help them identify a suitable pathway moving forward,” Sara said.
“Our learners also know that through Reconnect, they will receive 18 months of support to maximise their opportunity to succeed”.
Adding greater depth to Cire Reconnect, participants have access to additional tailored supports such as Study groups and literacy support for those wanting to pursue careers in Community Services through the Skills for Work and Study- Community Services program. These programs offer extra support to further develop confidence and self-esteem as well as maximise opportunities for success in chosen courses.
Sara said it is extremely rewarding to see Reconnect clients succeed and pursue positive pathways. There were many examples, including those of Maria and Bella.
Reconnect participant Maria enrolled in Cire’s 2021 intake for a Diploma of Community Services. Unfortunately, due to pandemic lockdowns, remote learning replaced the face-to-face classes Maria specifically wanted. She found it challenging to complete her units with limited trainer interaction. However, she persisted and also joined the Reconnect Study Group for further assistance, support and interaction with others and has now successfully completed her diploma.
Clearly demonstrating the benefits of Cire Training’s holistic approach and the benefits of being part of a larger organisation, Maria gained the confidence to embrace other opportunities along the way. She volunteered with First Impressions Clothing Exchange (FICE), which has led to a paid position with the program and has now come full circle and been engaged as a peer support worker with the Reconnect team.
In the meantime, Reconnect participant Bella has kicked many goals since joining Reconnect in April this year, highlighted by her nomination in the upcoming Maroondah City Council FReeZA Youth Awards.
Bella, who has actively engaged in several Cire Everyday Pre-Accredited Learner Programs and activities and volunteers at FICE, is an active member of several community-based youth and mentoring programs.
The Reconnect Program is a Victorian government-funded initiative to support people experiencing challenges such as unplanned unemployment and who are:
- Young people aged between 17 to 19 years:
- Who are not engaged in education or training for six months or more (less than 8 hours per week).
- Mature participants aged between 20 to 64 years:
- Unemployed for six months or more (less than 8 hours per week) and
- not engaged in education or training for six months or more (less than 8 hours per week).
- Young people (17 to 24 years of age) who have been, or are currently on, Youth Justice Orders
- Asylum Seekers: A person without citizenship but holds a valid:
- Bridging Visa Class E (BVE)
- Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV)
- Temporary Protection Visa (TPV)
- Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) (subclass 449) visa (449 visas)
- Temporary Humanitarian Concern (subclass 786) visa.
- Out-of-Home-Care (Aged 17 to 64): A person that has a current or previous experience with Child Protection
- Other: From time to time, we may approve the accommodation of additional target groups during the term of the program (for example, this may include groups such as people impacted by bushfires, COVID-19 or retrenched workers etc.).
Click here for further information about Cire’s Reconnect program or Sara on 0475 807 044.
Image – Cire trainer and Reconnect caser worker Sarah Kilgour provides support to a pre-accredited taster group for those interested in undertaking qualifications in Community Services and including Reconnect clients. The group from the left are Kate, Travis, Hamid, and Ali.