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The School-to-Work program is, as the name suggests, a chance for students to gain hands-on training across many areas of our business and transition into meaningful employment.

In 2018, 240 students from 30 schools participated in the program including Lachlan Highland and Connor Dawkins.

18-year-old Lachlan, who has ADHD and is on the autism spectrum, struggled in a mainstream school setting and was considering dropping out, according to his mum Narelle.

“He wasn’t happy, he wasn’t achieving. Then he started to do one day a week at Bedford and his attitude totally changed. Just being treated as an adult and feeling accepted. It gave him something to work towards,” she said.

… And work towards his goals he did. Lachlan eventually completed year 12 and has now landed a job he loves with Bedford at Panorama, in the packaging department.

Hamilton High’s Conner Dawkins also completed the School-to-Work program after taking part in two Bedford placements – an individual hospitality placement and a group placement in packaging.

Connor’s determination was clear to see for his support staff and he too was offered a part-time hospitality position afterwards at Balyana.

Bedford Chief Executive Maggie Dowling said we offer many positions for young people with disability in areas such as horticulture, hospitality, cleaning, packaging and manufacturing.

“However, due to delays in the NDIS rollout and individuals not being given the right funding plans, we still have approximately 130 more positions to fill,” she said.

“One of those funding plans which needs addressing is called ‘Finding and Keeping a Job’. However, we hope the federal government’s new work taskforce will address some of these issues as soon as possible.” Maggie said.

If you’d like more information about our School-to-Work program, School Leavers program (SLES) or Supported employment contact us on (08) 8275 0211.