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Three local businesses have stepped up to help clear a roadblock on the path to employment for an important group of young school leavers.

Frankie’s Café in Pakenham, Woolworths in Hampton Park and Star News Group’s Pakenham office have taken on students as part of Outlook’s Steps to Employment and Independence program.
And Outlook is encouraging more businesses to take part.
The Steps to Employment and Independence program is designed to help young school leavers increase their independent living skills and develop their employment pathway.
Co-ordinator Rachel Morley said that, after identifying a need within the system for young school leavers with mild intellectual disabilities, Outlook created Steps to Employment to provide individualised training and working readiness activities.
This is a five-day-a-week program, fully supported by Outlook staff, where participants spend at least one day a week on work placement.
“We help young adults develop their skills and work out their future employment pathway,” Ms Morley said.
“Steps is for those who are capable of working, being independent and contributing to society, but may not know what they want to do or, are not quite ready when they first leave school. We’re here to help them figure that out.”
Daniel O’Halloran, a young man who dreams of one day working at Channel 7, is completing his work placement at Star News Group.
Ashleigh Allen is in her second year of Steps and is currently undertaking one day work placement each week at Frankie’s Café in Pakenham.
Ashleigh is loving the opportunity to work in a vibrant café environment and feeling like a member of the team.
After trying other industries, she hopes to one day gain employment in the hospitality industry.
The third participant, Daniel Oreski, is supported by staff at Woolworths Hampton Park.
“We have participants who are interested in a really wide range of industries,” Ms Morley said.
“From trades and mechanics to retail and hospitality, these guys just want an opportunity to be in work environment and improve their skills. They are a great asset to local businesses,” Ms Morley said.
If you are a business, large or small, who would like to join the program for a short term trial, get in touch with Mollie Templeton at Outlook on 0429 170 108 or MollieT@outlookvic.org.au

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