Student sparks friendships with seniors after work placement

Workplace student Tim Armstrong with Mercy Place Edgewater residents Mary Smith and Kenneth Thorpe.
Workplace student Tim Armstrong with Mercy Place Edgewater residents Mary Smith and Kenneth Thorpe.

WHEN 16-year-old Tim Armstrong began a workplace learning placement at a local aged care home, he thought he would be helping to make cups of tea and coffee for residents.

But the Butler resident, who was diagnosed with autism two years ago, has made several strong friendships during his weekly visits to Mercy Place Edgewater and has also discovered a passion for working with older people.

“Initially Tim was a little nervous about starting his work placement as he was concerned he’d find it difficult to talk with seniors, but after being taught how to communicate appropriately in the workplace he gained confidence,” mum Les, who also has a background in aged care, said.

“Before long all the residents knew his name and he was learning a great deal about their lives, from memories of the war years to their life adventures.”

“Both Mercy Health and his school, Wanneroo Secondary College, have been amazing and the experience he’s gained has really boosted his confidence.

“Tim enjoyed his work experience so much that he has requested to go back and visit the residents after his placement has actually ended.”

Mercy Place Edgewater resident Mary Smith with workplace student Tim Armstrong.

Mercy Place Edgewater service manager Alison Devonport said they were “delighted” to welcome Tim to the aged care home.

“He has proven to be a real hit with residents and has fitted in incredibly well, helping out with gardening, craft activities and outings,” she said.

“He also relates extremely well to our residents who felt very at ease with him from day one, and very much enjoyed spending time with him.

“We’re incredibly pleased to have a strong relationship with Wanneroo Secondary College, and we hope to continue to receive students on placement into the future – our residents certainly enjoy spending time with the younger generation.”

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