Prior to commencing the Step Up Sydney program, Simon was disengaged in education, was affiliated with gangs and was involved with Juvenile Justice. Simon was referred to the program by his Juvenile Justice case work, who advised it might take some time for him to open up.

During Simon’s first session with his Ladder Development Coach, he became comfortable quite quickly, due to the nature in which Ladder works and our strengths-based approach. Simon was quick to open up because of his Development Coach’s caring nature and the program’s ability to tailor the session to Simon’s individual needs. Simon was very vocal about his goals and aspirations and did not shy away from tough conversations. Simon expressed that he wanted to receive mentoring, vocational and lifestyle advice and support and his goals were to obtain employment and education.

As part of his first session, Simon’s Development Coach brought to Simon’s attention the way he physically presents himself and Simon explained it was a way of intimidating other people. His Development Coach expressed that he was entitled to present himself however he wishes but if he wanted to be taken seriously in job interviews and everyday life, he should consider getting a more welcoming and presentable haircut and work on his body language in different environmental settings. At the next session, Simon presented with a new haircut and explained that he wanted to look more approachable which shows Simon’s mindset and commitment to bringing about positive change in his life and his ability to have challenging and open conversations with adults.

During his time in the program, Simon made many positive changes in his life. He disassociated with certain peers that were gang affiliated, he obtained his Learner’s Licence and applied for Centrelink as a Job Seeker, whilst actively applying for work in warehousing, retail and hospitality. He is unsure of what he wants to do with his career, so his Development Coach has provided extra support by scheduling him in to see a Careers Counsellor at TAFE.

Simon really wants to receive more training in a variety of fields. His Development Coach referred him into Asuria and was successful in his enrolment in Certificate 3 in Medical and Business Administration. Simon was delighted and has taken it as an opportunity to expand his qualifications and future employment opportunities.

Simon had some fines prior to engaging with the Ladder program. He was given a Work and Development Order (WDO) which allowed Simon to pay off his fines based on his ongoing engagement with the program and attendance of sessions. Simon has now completed his WDO and has paid off all his previous fines.

The Ladder program has made a significant impact on Simon’s life and we are so proud of how far he has come. He has done a complete 180 from his previous life and has a positive outlook on life, now focusing on his strengths and skills and being exposed to other life possibilities and choices. Ladder will continue to support Simon on his journey and pathways to employment.

"The Ladder program has come into my life at the perfect time. I had decided to bring about change in my life by myself, but I didn't have anyone to navigate me through that decision. My Development Coach has been a great mentor and helped me steer my life in a positive direction. I am the eldest sibling in my family and I truly believe the reasons why I made so many mistakes in my life were because I did not have an older brother to tell me right from wrong, and my Development Coach has done exactly that."