Woodwork course is carving out career pathways

19 August 2019

Vision Australia’s woodwork courses in Kensington are helping young people who are blind or have low vision to kick-start their careers.

Tyler, 17, is completing his VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) and enrolled in the woodwork course early this year. Having lost his vision at a very young age, Tyler discovered his passion for manual trades working at home with his dad, including building a shed and a completely new deck.

“I’m not exactly a pen-and-paper kind of guy, and I wanted to find something that was hands-on,” Tyler explained.

“I’ve done woodwork at school and have worked with tools since I was very young, so Vision Australia’s woodwork course was a perfect option. It’s helping me to develop the skills I need to reach my goal of getting an apprenticeship in building and construction.”

In the short space of time he’s been doing the Vision Australia course, Tyler has already made a chopping board and a park bench.

[PD: A two-tone varnished chopping board on a white kitchen bench top]

Vision Australia industrial skills instructor Brett insists you don’t have to be a home handyman like Tyler in order to do the course.

“There are basically no prerequisites for the client, so they don’t need prior experience. But first, we would teach them basic measurement and calculation methods with the use of assistive technologies,” Brett said.

“We have a four-point safety plan to teach the client how to approach the machinery safely, going by touch and sound to determine whether machines are switched on or off or come to a complete stop.

“Coming into the woodwork program can be life-changing. From a social aspect, it’s fantastic. On the other side of it, people are building skills for home or the workplace. They may not have had any experience in woodwork before but after a few weeks, they’re suddenly working with panel saws and drills, making some amazing stuff.”