Nine students from the Wangaratta District Specialist School (WDSS) have been learning valuable skills at Merriwa over the past five weeks, working in packaging, processing, timbers and at Park Lane Nursery.

The partnership between Merriwa and WDSS has allowed for students to see a clear employment pathway from school to work and truly experience the opportunities that are available for employment in our community.

At the beginning of November, Merriwa hosted several groups of students to give insight into the many roles available across each division and to see how they might match each student’s interests and skills to placement opportunities, which has now evolved into individualised work experience placements.

Joanna Bate, Support Officer at Merriwa says “It’s brilliant that we can provide this pathway for local students and give them a real taste of working with our team, carrying out tasks and experiencing a full day at Merriwa and Park Lane Nursery. We already have several team members working with us who have transitioned from WDSS which is such a great outcome.”

“One of our students, Lachlan Dalton, has been working at Park Lane Nursery each week and has absolutely thrived as one of our team members. Each week he has taken on new tasks including potting and preparing plants for retail and we have seen his skills and confidence grow greatly over the last 5 weeks. All the students participating in the program have asked to extend their time here at Merriwa and Park Lane, which is an even better result than expected.”

Shane Crispin, Structured Workplace Learning Coordinator from NE TRACKS LLEN, has played a vital role in coordinating opportunities for students to gain placement at Merriwa and has said “The experiences that Merriwa is offering these students will place very them well as they move towards the world of work. We are so proud to be playing a role in supporting this initiative.”

For further information about employment pathways from school to work with Merriwa, please contact Lisbeth Long or Joanna Bate on (03) 5722 7600