Course Success Stories

Keep On Stepping

December 2020

‘Keep on Stepping’ is a continuation of our highly successful ‘Step Forward’ course. ‘Step Forward’ provides students referred from Coast Shelter’s Homeless Youth Refuge, the Samaritans and other community organisations, with life skills including healthy cooking on a budget, social skills, and fitness; employability skills such as presenting for an interview, communicating and working with others; and accreditation in 1st aid, RSA, RCG, Barista and Food Handling.

‘Step Forward’ encourages, guides, and empowers these young people to develop their strengths and talents to create a space that allows them to step forward and plan their journey. ‘Keep on Stepping’ provides a consistent, safe, and understanding learning environment, and assists students in gaining additional qualifications to help them realise their potential. It focuses on acknowledging and building on their strengths and improving their resilience. The program is built around a trauma
sensitive framework, understanding how traumas and adverse experiences can affect the ability to learn.

‘Keep on Stepping’ also gives disadvantaged students a taste of working in various industries including Business, Retail, and in trades such as Horticulture. The focus is on work-based skills but also incorporates Art therapy, where the students can reflect and think about themselves, their identities, expressing themselves in alternative ways, and exploring who they want to be and where they want to be in the future. Additional components include Driving Lessons for those with provisional licences, practising for their Learner’s permits, and learning about sustainability by repurposing second-hand clothing and furniture.

‘Keep on Stepping’ provides incentive and momentum for these young people to further their skills and knowledge, while building their resilience and a can-do attitude towards further education, job seeking, self-employment, and life in general.


In our inaugural ‘Keep on Stepping’ course, we had 9 students enrolled, 6 referred from Coast Shelter’s Homeless Youth Refuge and 2 from the Samaritans, of which 3 identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

On completion:

  • 5 students have enrolled into further education in ACE and full qualification courses with 1 of these students planning to enrol in the University of Newcastle’s Open Foundation Program
  • 2 students have gained part time employment
  • We had 1 withdrawal due to mental health issues and another is still deciding what path she wants to take.

Multi Trade Taster

December 2020

Our Multi Trade Taster course was developed as a career taster for disadvantaged students who may wish to pursue an apprenticeship trade in the mechanical or fabrication industry. The course provides hands on experience by completing a combination of theoretical and practical training components in our new trade training room at Ourimbah, recently established utilising our ACE Infrastructure funding.

The room required extra security, especially the windows. Some of our students cut out and fabricated the
security screens (pictured below) at our Rutherford Skills Centre as part of their learning.

Our first course at Ourimbah attracted a number of keen students from Coast Shelter’s Homeless Youth refuge. The course keeps students engaged by showing them how to use hand tools and techniques using a drill gauge. One student (Corry – pictured below) wanted to use these skills to make something different. With a passion for street art and the ability to use our new CNC plasma cutter at Rutherford (we recently invested in state-of-the-art equipment to give our students access to the latest technology being used in
industry), he combined his design and his newfound skill to deliver a great showpiece. There are all kinds of shapes we can now cut out of metal with our new plasma cutter. Other students have made weathervanes with one choosing to use their indigenous totem – a praying mantis


  • Getting the students engaged and taking ownership of their jobs is important to keep their interest while learning.
  • We achieved that and more – Corry has indicated he wants to learn welding after doing our Multi Trade Taster course…our goal is for him to enrol in one of our welding courses in 2021.
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