TAFE NSW Western Institute and Greater Western Area Health Service have been working together to improve vocational opportunities for people with mental illness.
Jo Sedgers, Director Learning and Engagement for TAFE Western Institute said she is pleased with the progress that has been made since a partnership was formed with Greater Western Area Health Service to improve vocational training opportunities for people with mental illnesses.
Lindsay Johnson was appointed as a Teacher Consultant (Psychiatric) seven months ago and she has been working with the GWAHS Mental Health Services and both the Equity Team and teachers from TAFE to plan opportunities for vocational training amongst people with psychiatric disability.
After a period of consultation several courses have been organised. Courses in Workplace Hygiene and Language Literacy and Numeracy were run last year. This year courses in Ceramics, Small Motors and Workplace Hygiene have already started. Other courses planned for 2009 include Information technology, Carpentry, Tourism and Hospitality and Ceramics Production.
These courses are being delivered at Bloomfield Hospital and TAFE faculties.
Lindsay has also been working to provide training and support for TAFE teachers to enable them to provide appropriate support for students with psychiatric illness who are able to participate in mainstream TAFE classes.
This work is part of an ongoing agreement between Greater Western Area Health Service and TAFENSW Western Institute to improve vocational training for people with mental illness. Education and training along with employment has the potential to help people recover from mental illness.
When a Memorandum of Understanding between Greater Western Area Health Service and TAFE NSW Western Institute was announced during Mental Health Week in 2007, Dr Russell Roberts, Director of Mental Health for the Greater Western Area Health Service said, "Involvement in education is known to contribute to self-esteem, quality of life, employment and recovery for people with a mental illness.
"People who have a mental illness generally want to work and be able to do so.
Vocational education increases employment opportunities for everyone." Dr Roberts said.
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