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Sebastian Brown and Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson.

Program reaches Mundaring men

YOUNG or old, men in Mundaring are benefiting from a new mentoring program accessing community Men’s Sheds to help men with intellectual disabilities. 

Mundaring’s Sebastian Brown is one of those young men taking part in the Curtin University project with the help of Mundaring Community Men’s Shed.

Every week for about 12 months, Sebastian participated in activities or helped with jobs at the shed on Jacoby Street.

“I definitely picked up new skills, maths was always quite hard and tricky for me, but I’ve learnt new techniques for refurbishing materials to be reused or recycled,” he said.

“Basically I learnt skills from that and from some of the tips and tricks the blokes would give me.

“They gave me some really good advice and helped with feeling you’re a part of something, this program really helped me with that.”

Even though the program has finished Sebastian has remained part of the team and become a member.

“I found when I was just at home I was only focusing on getting a job and then I would be satisfied,” he said

“But in reality, if you’re more involved with society you’re more likely to get a job, to be happier and productive within the community.”

Former shed president, and Sebastian’s mentor Martin Beal said the program was about more than teaching young men trade skills but also about introducing essential employment skills.

“We encouraged him to interact with the other men, as well as give him real jobs to do, we tried to promote the idea that he should be punctual and all the things that come with being a productive employee,” Mr Beal said.

“He’s become a valued member of the shed.”

He said the program was also good publicity for the local community group.

“We call ourselves the Mundaring Community Men’s Shed, we try to get involved in community projects and you get some satisfaction from passing on information and skills.

“Some of the blokes here have never been in that situation before, to pass on knowledge, so it was a good experience for them too.”

A group of 18 unemployed young men with intellectual disabilities took part in the program across Perth. 

The men, aged 17 to 24-years-old, were awarded graduation certificates by Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson at a special ceremony attended by Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry earlier this year. 

By Claire Ottaviano

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