Ladder’s augmented Reconnect Program is delivered in partnership with the Department of Education and Training and Gippsland Employment Skills Training Inc. The program aims to assist young people aged 17-25 to build resilience and capacities required to successfully transition into employment, education, and or training in a sustainable way.

Cooper joined the augmented Reconnect Program in October last year. Cooper was hesitant to engage at first, but he soon built a trusting relationship with Ladder’s Reconnect Case Manager and started attending 1:1 sessions. These 1:1 sessions focus on the individual’s needs and achieving their set goals. As Cooper progressed through the program, he soon became confident to participate in group sessions with other young people. The Reconnect Group sessions aim to build participants confidence and social wellbeing through a range of activities including work experience and recreational activities.

When Cooper was referred to the program, he felt isolated where he was living. He had recently moved there so didn’t really know anyone. He has really enjoyed meeting other young people. He’s also shared his passions for writing poetry and performing rap music and has shared some of his music with the group.

Cooper is vision impaired and will not be able to secure a driver’s licence, but that has not stopped him from exploring different employment opportunities. With support from the augmented Reconnect program, Cooper developed a resume and applied for a range of local employment opportunities. After applying for a job at his local McDonalds, Cooper received a call-back, attended an interview and completed his formal training. Cooper is now working casual shifts and is looking to secure full-time employment.

Cooper will continue to be supported by Ladder to ensure that his employment is sustained. Through Ladder’s position as the official charity of AFL players, Ladder has organised a Carlton Football Club player to mentor Cooper. Their first meeting will be in March, and we believe this extra support is exactly what Cooper needs to continue kicking goals.