A self funding program engaging disadvantaged youth from 13yrs on, to develop skills in cabinet making at a pace that suits their individual needs using a Competency Based Training approach delivered by a trained teacher and a qualified tradesperson.

My experience with disadvantaged youth has taught me that they learn best when their learning is related to an interest they have. By instilling an interest the learning process ceases to be a source of rebellion and instead becomes a platform for change.

The program I am proposing is based on the amalgam of four learning principles. Competency Based Training (CBT), Task Analysis (TA), Mastery Learning (ML) and Cooperative Learning (CL) .

By reducing a task into smaller components (TA), an individual can be taught these skills at a rate that suits them (CBT) to reach a point where they can perform the entire sequence of skills and complete the given task without assistance (ML). Mastery Learning follows the sequence of demonstration, guided practice and individual practice until mastery is achieved. As skills are learnt, new skills are added while old skills are applied to new tasks further increasing competency.

The program is made up of four streams; Junior, Intermediate, Advanced and Apprentice. Rate of progression through the first three streams is determined by each individual's skill development. An apprentice will be chosen at the end of the first year of operation, followed by two the following year and four the year after. The apprentices will work together or in smaller groups (CL), depending on the project, overseen by the lead apprentice and the tradesperson.

All participants will engage in a numeracy and literacy program following initial assessment. Apprentices will also learn computer, furniture design as well as marketing and sales skills.

Community participation will be encouraged particularly retirees to act as mentors.

This methodology can be applied to any industry that is workshop based. It is my aim to not only demonstrate that this method is feasible but I intend to train other teachers and tradespeople to replicate it in other industries.

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