STEPS are Expanding to Build Brighter Futures
STEPS Pathways College based in Caloundra is continuing to teach the skills of independent living to young adults living with disability and is expanding to meet current demands for their Australian-first learning model.
The idea for the College was simple, it came from a place that all parents of children with disabilities experience day in, day out – ‘What’s going to happen to my child when I’m not here?
STEPS Group managing director Carmel Crouch, whose 48-year-old son with a disability is still living at home, said for her, this perspective has always been her driving force.
“This idea of the college comes very much from my personal point of view, I always thought there had to be some way we could make opportunities for young people with disabilities to become independent,” Ms Crouch said.
“Now the College has been up and running for three years, we’re clear how successful the learning model is, we’ve had our first cohort graduate into independent living, so expansion is the way forward for us,” Ms Crouch said.
“We’re excited to announce we will have a new expansion built by November this year, to accommodate a further four boarding students, and we’re looking to accommodate another 14 students, in a ready built complex soon.”
STEPS Pathways College also runs a day program, providing flexible learning five days a week, and the opportunity to experience campus-life for students still living at home.
The day program is now available online and is accessible Australia-wide, the interactive program includes a combination of online classwork, group discussions and project-based activities to enhance the participants’ learning and reduce isolation.
STEPS Pathways manager DJ McGlynn believes the exponential growth of their programs is a true testament to their success.
“Every single element of our training program has an educational underpinning, we see it working everyday as we witness the confidence and capacity of our students grow,” Mr McGlynn said.
“The nine-module curriculum is a mix of classroom learning with time to explore concepts and hands-on practical applications, every student has an individual plan tailored to their needs, it’s a true training program, not a therapy program.
“I’m constantly surprised by how much a student can do when given the opportunity.
“When you put the right resources in front of students, they really come out of their shells, and the peer support is amazing to see, they all help each other out, they all love the campus-lifestyle,” Mr McGlynn said.
Looking to the future, the passionate team at STEPS have very big plans on the table, and they invite the world to come and join them, either as a student, a parent or a much-needed supporter of STEPS Charity, donating funds to build the expansions and to keep the dreams of so many families alive.
Mr McGlynn said he’s receiving applications from all over Australia, as far as Tasmania, Western Australia and Alice Springs and welcomes everyone to apply.
The college is best suited for young adults with intellectual disabilities, Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder, a simple suitability assessment process is completed as part of the application.
To find out more about the College and their life-changing initiatives, visit stepspathways.com.au or call STEPS on 07 5458 3000.
Caption: STEPS Pathways College is expanding to deliver independent living to more young adults with disabilities (photo taken pre-COVID19).