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Finishing school is such an exciting time, full of opportunity! But if you’re not quite ready for the world of work, NDIS-funded SLES (School Leaver Employment Supports) is there to help you make a smooth transition, and develop the skills you need to get job-ready and chase your goals. And in the Blue Tongue Pathways SLES service, we’re all about the big picture, helping you grow in all the areas you need, to get on the pathway to success.   

Independence skill-building is at the crux of it,” explains facilitator Mitch Brennan. “After all, that’s a foundation for life.” 

“Then we branch out from there, to work on getting job-ready!” 

Putting You On Your Chosen Pathway 

The two-year Pathways program starts out with a focus on building your confidence,  interpersonal skills, and communication skills – taking a holistic approach to developing your independent living skills. And it’s a chance to really narrow down your goals and how to go about pursuing them.  

In the second half of the program, it’s about implementing what you’ve learned, putting your skills into practice. This could include volunteering, work experience, or paid employment. 

SLES supports are customised to your own unique job goals and needs, but you’ll also benefit from working in a small group setting. 

“The start of the day in Blue Tongue’s SLES service is workshop-style, with group-led discussions. It’s great for relationship-building and team-building, and gets our participants really engaged,” Mitch says.   

“The topics of discussion might centre around expectations of a workplace, hygiene and presentation, time management, internet use and cyber safety, through to workplace health and safety. We even cover independence skills like opening bank accounts, paying cash vs credit, how to vote, or applying for a rental.”  

After a morning spent in theory-based workshops, it’s time to dive into hands-on, practical work. This is done with 1:1 or 1:2 support, depending on your needs and preferences. 

“That might be work experience. It might be mock job interviews,” says Mitch. “Sometimes it’s learning how to use public transport to get to work on time. It could mean attending a workshop and then coming back to practice the skills you learned.” 

Your Goals, Your Choices 

When you have a goal to work in a particular industry, Blue Tongue Pathways is deeply dedicated to supporting you to pursue it. Across our Brisbane and Toowoomba centres, our current SLES participants have a diverse range of job goals on the go. 

“We have a few guys who’ve just got white cards and forklift tickets. Hands-on, warehouse work is really popular. We have many who want to work with animals, one who wants to be a personal trainer … and one who’d like to be a train driver, so we’re working with Queensland Rail on that,” Mitch says.  

“They’re all really achievable goals – and we’re there to help get the ball rolling for them.” 

Support Every Step Of The Way 

Mitch’s skills and background as a social worker are a big part of his strengths as our SLES facilitator.  

“My advocacy skills from social work have come into play, to liaise with stakeholders, and create opportunities for our participants,” he says. 

“Also, I can pick up on nuanced barriers that might be in play. There could be mental health issues that affect confidence, or their ability to articulate what they need.  

“Some of our participants come in with goals that they feel they can’t achieve because of their disability.”  

“We can build their confidence and say ‘your disability is not your problem. Disability only exists because society won’t cater for you properly. It’s not on you to make room for others. Society needs to become more accessible for you.’ And you can really see their motivation lift when they understand that,” he says. 

Contact the team on hello@bluetonguepathways.com.au to find out more, and discuss a SLES service to put you on the pathway to achieving your goals! 

  • SLES stands for School Leaver Employment Supports. 
  • It is an NDIS funded support for senior school students and young adults with disabilities. Participants are generally 18-20 years old, but the cutoff age is usually 22. 
  • It assists participants in making a smooth transition from school to working life. 
  • SLES is generally funded for two years, under the NDIS support category Finding And Keeping A Job. 
  • To be eligible for the funding, you need to have goals in your NDIS plan such as “looking for work” or “building work readiness skills” 
  • SLES is a flexible support service, tailored to your individual needs and goals (it is not a formalised ‘course’). Progress is measured with regular check-ins with you, support workers and stakeholders to see how you’re progressing against your goals, and identify any areas that need further focus. 
  • Our SLES service runs from 9 am to 3 pm, and participants attend one or two days a week.