Perth: Men’s Shed mentoring program gives 18 intellectually disabled men important skills


Curtin University’s Dr Ben Milbourn (suit) and Ciarain Hoey (purple shirt) with mentees (back left to right, then front left to right), Mathew McWhirter, James McMahon, Jamie Clements, Declan Prince, Sebastian Brown and James Mincham.
Curtin University’s Dr Ben Milbourn (suit) and Ciarain Hoey (purple shirt) with mentees (back left to right, then front left to right), Mathew McWhirter, James McMahon, Jamie Clements, Declan Prince, Sebastian Brown and James Mincham.

A MEN’S Shed mentoring program has given 18 young unemployed men living with intellectual disabilities the skills needed to enjoy a successful working life.

Over six months the men, aged 17 to 24, visited Men’s Sheds in Manning, Fremantle, Victoria Park, Stirling, Yanchep, Mundaring and Joondalup once a week to take part in hands-on projects including woodworking, metal work, gardening, arts and crafts and computing.

Curtin University project lead Ben Milbourn said at least one of the participants had already secured a job.

“We are so proud of these 18 young men for their commitment to the mentoring program, which has equipped them with social and practical skills to help prepare them for the workforce,” he said.

“By working with mentors from their local Men’s Shed who had been trained by occupational therapy and nursing academics from Curtin University and Western Sydney University, these young men boosted their confidence and knowledge of work skills, experienced decreased anxiety, and developed their work routine and work relationships.

“One of the young men has already secured employment after taking part in the program and many will continue their involvement with their local Men’s Shed because of the relationships and skills they have developed.”

The mentoring project was jointly run by Curtin University and Western Sydney University with the help of Therapy Focus.

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