Vicsport discovers benefits of Vic Uni Polytechnic work placement course

A Victoria University Polytechnic course is offering students with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to develop hands-on skills in workplace settings throughout the Victorian sport and recreation sector.

Resulting in a Certificate II in Work Education, the course aims to improve participants’ understanding of workplace expectations, ensuring they are prepared to enter the workforce and find the best possible employment opportunities.

Placements in real world settings also assist the participants in improving their communication skills, how to work autonomously, under supervision and within a team while also learning how to self-evaluate and be evaluated.

Tom Dixon, Vicsport Participation Strategy Manager, discovered the program through Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV).

“Shawn Stevenson from SRV sent through some information about the student placement program and connected us with Victoria University,” Dixon said.

“We then spoke to the program coordinator and set up a week-long placement with one of the students, Andrew Tserkezidis.

“As the peak body for sport and recreation in Victoria, Vicsport needs to lead by example. We champion a safe, fair and inclusive sport sector, including greater participation from people with disabilities, but we can do more than help people get more active.

“Sport can also provide pathways for meaningful employment and we really valued the opportunity to welcome a student from this program and help provide the experience of working in a sport office.”

Across five five-hour days, Andrew discovered how Vicsport provides assistance, advice and support to its members while helping to service the 16,000 sporting clubs, 980,000 volunteers and 4.3 million sport participants throughout the state.

“It was all new to me, working in an office, but overall it was a really good experience,” Tserkezidis said at the conclusion of the week.

“I had to get used to being in an office and sitting at a desk but it was very interesting to see sport from a different angle.

“I’ve been involved in sport for a long time, playing for the Williamstown Seagulls Football Integration Development Association (FIDA) but this was a different experience.

“At a workshop in the City of Brimbank, I got to see how much help sports need, how many volunteers they require to keep sport running, how people struggle to find time to volunteer and how hard it can be to promote their programs.”

Throughout the week, Andrew was also able to educate himself on concerns around child safety, discrimination, harassment and member protection through the Play by the Rules online courses.

“It’s important that all students of sport management understand the work we do behind the scenes is not always glamorous,” said Dixon.

“As the peak body, we were able to offer Andrew some broad advice on the varying career opportunities available in sport and broaden his options once he graduate from university.”

Several SSAs have already utilised the program through their connection with Victoria University including Triathlon Victoria and Gymnastics Victoria. Dixon believes the program would be a positive experience for all SSAs throughout the state.

“This program is beneficial for all parties involved and Vicsport would love to see all SSAs regularly welcome students and work placement participants into their offices.”

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