The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2020-05-06T08:28:20Z NSW Hunter region to pilot new virtual work experience program for high school students 2020-05-06T08:28:20Z nsw-hunter-region-to-pilot-new-virtual-work-experience-program-for-high-school-students Hunter high school students will soon be able to take part in the pilot of a, locally developed, virtual work experience program – a first for the region. The Virtual Intern program has been developed by Hunter-based social enterprise, She Can, to connect students with employers and work experience in a relatable, interactive and immersive format for young people. Founder and director, Tricia Martin, is calling on local businesses and organisations to join the program and for interested students and schools to register their interest. Ms Martin is initially targeting the hospitality, business services and retail industries. She said The Virtual Intern Platform has modules for different industries that contain real world tasks for students to complete as well as mentor videos, CV builders, career maps and other soft skills resources to give them a practical understanding and experience of that industry. Prior to starting the program, students match their interests with specific career clusters and businesses. “Virtual Intern tackles the misalignment between young people’s work expectations and the assumed knowledge and capability expectations of local businesses,” Ms Martin said. “Young people commonly enter work experience programs lacking basic skills such as problem solving, financial literacy or basic communication,” she said. The Foundation of Youth Australia’s The New Work Reality report says the two main barriers for young people transitioning to full time careers are lack of career management skills and not enough work experience. The report says 75 per cent believe they do not possess the relevant vocational and practical work experience to gain the work they desire. “We are creating a capacity building program where students are engaged, rather than being passive, and are building their self-efficacy, not just their knowledge.” “Students gain tangible, company accredited, skills that employers are looking for, to help them enter the world of work. They get to build relevant networks before they enter the workforce. We work with employers to capture and transform their expertise into virtual internships that mirror real-world tasks.  “Employers get to identify future employees, understand the needs of a future workforce, and play their part in ensuring their business workforce is future-proofed.” “Importantly, the platform helps to even the playing field, allowing students, regardless of socio-economic background, location or demographic, to access 21st century workplaces and mentors.” The program has been built by working with more than 200 Hunter students in career-readiness workshops and consultation with local business leaders and teachers. It has received funding and support from Charter Hall, Edified and the Layne Beachley Foundation. Virtual Intern is also benefitting from being accepted into the Foundation of Youth Australia’s Social Pioneer Accelerator incubator program.  She Can is a Hunter-based organisation that equips secondary students with career-readiness skills that can be transported into post school life. Ms Martin, who is 25 years of age, has worked with almost 35,000 students throughout Australia as a behaviour change facilitator for in-school career readiness workshops. The program’s aim is to offer work experience to 500 Year 9 and Year 10 students across three industries in the second half of 2020 pilot, expanding to 2,500 students across 15 industries in 2021. The program expansion will specifically target students from low socio-economic and high unemployment areas. To register or find out more visit virtualintern.info Inquiry into Newmarch House needed 2020-05-06T08:23:11Z inquiry-into-newmarch-house-needed An inquiry into the COVID-19 tragedy at Newmarch House is urgently needed as the situation has tragically highlighted the desperate need for reform in the sector, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA). “A purposeful inquiry is needed. The investigation will get lost if it is incorporated as part of the very large Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, as has been proposed,” said ALA spokesperson, lawyer and aged care advocate, Ms Catherine Henry. “The residents of Newmarch House and their families have legal rights and, as a community, we need to understand what went wrong in the management of the outbreak at this facility. “One of the significant and ongoing issues in aged care is the lack of transparency and accountability. Holding an inquiry into this disaster will provide the opportunity for open review of the situation and will draw the Federal Government’s attention to the urgent underlying issues. “It seems that what we are seeing unfold at Newmarch House is a failure to meet accepted standards with undertrained, inexperienced staff being forced to handle the outbreak and the facility neglecting to provide adequate resources for its residents. “Residents with COVID-19 don’t appear to be receiving treatment from doctors for days and sometimes are not even receiving treatment from registered nurses.  “We cannot understand why sick residents were not transferred to hospital and those not infected with COVID-19 moved elsewhere when the illness was first detected in the facility. It is inexplicable, and has resulted in a very distressing and tragic situation for the residents and their families.” The ALA says failures in governance, accountability, policy and the regulatory framework are all evident in the current residential aged care system and have contributed to the tragic situation at Newmarch House. “An underlying cause of the systemic problems in aged care is the Aged Care Act 1997 itself. It is weighted in favour of providers and has promoted the privatisation of services and competition, allowing profits to prevail over quality of care,” said Ms Henry. “We need a new Aged Care Act – one that ensures transparency and accountability and includes an independent tribunal to hear complaints of substandard care. “The current system places undue focus on internal complaint mechanisms. We believe the sector needs an independent, external tribunal like the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission.” The ALA recommends that the tribunal’s function should include the capacity to: hear complaints with powers to issue fines; cancel accreditation; publicly reprimand providers; and order monetary compensation. The ALA is a national association of lawyers, academics and other professionals dedicated to protecting and promoting justice, freedom and the rights of the individual.