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LEAPing into employment and leadership: LEAP 2021 Graduation Ceremony

6 December 2021

Storytelling, speaking with confidence and clarity, emotion management, organisation, and timekeeping are just some of the skills LEAP (Learn, Engage, Act, Perform) 2021 participants have worked hard to learn and practice this year.

Wowing their audience and showing how far their public speaking skills have progressed, participants completed their final LEAP activity, a three-minute presentation on a topic of their choice.

“Discovering my bravery and confidence”, “A crash course on car engines”, and “All about the raspberry pi's” are some of the fascinating presentations participants shared with us.

Elated with their achievements, participants took to the (virtual) stage to celebrate their graduation from the LEAP 2021 program.

LEAP program coordinator, Claire Nolan, shared her experience with this year’s LEAP program.

“It has been my privilege to watch as each participant’s confidence grew during the program. Armed with new skills in how to get a job, be a leader, and take on responsibility, our LEAP 2021 graduates are ready to achieve their big goals,” Claire said.

“I am thrilled so many graduates have already started to apply for part-time jobs, put their hand up for public speaking opportunities, or have enrolled in tertiary studies.”

Prepared with new skills in public speaking, job searching, resume writing, interviewing, networking, and emotional intelligence, as well as new friends from all across Australia, LEAP 2021 graduates are ready to tackle their personal and professional goals with confidence.

"Guests and the graduating class of LEAP 2021 meeting virtually through Zoom. "
Guests and the graduating class of LEAP 2021 meeting virtually through Zoom.

LEAP 2022 applications close December 14, 2021.

Could your child benefit from building confidence and skills in employability and leadership? To register your interest to participate in LEAP 2022 or find out more, visit our LEAP website or call Vision Australia on 1300 84 74 66.

Join the LEAP 2022 Q&A to meet the LEAP Program Coordinator, LEAP 2021 Graduate Mentors (2020 Graduates), and LEAP 2021 Graduates.

Date

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Time

Western Australia: 4-5 pm

Queensland: 6-7 pm

New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, and Victoria: 7-8 pm

Join Vision Australia Meeting (Meeting ID: 96037465731)


The mock interview: Setting up LEAP participants for success

11 November 2021

“There is so much that blind and visually impaired people can do … You just have to show the best of you, don’t be nervous, and just be confident in yourself!”

That’s how Ruby, 14, feels after participating in Vision Australia’s LEAP (Learn, Engage, Act, Perform) program  in 2021.

The LEAP program is a pioneering employability and leadership program for young people, aged 14-18, who are preparing to tackle their personal and professional goals. 

Over the course of a year, LEAP participants expand their networking and social skills, as well as experience their first steps into the working world in a controlled environment.

Ruby recently completed her mock job interview as part of the program. In this scenario, Ruby interviewed for a sales assistant position at a cosmetics store, Sephora. The interview was conducted by Vision Australia CEO, Ron Hooton.

“This was my first [job interview] ever”, Ruby said.

“You need to go into the experience thinking, ‘I can get this and this can happen’. I applied for the job in real life after the mock interview. I wrote a cover letter as well [during my time in LEAP] that was already tailored to a job at Sephora.”

Ruby joined LEAP because she wanted to learn how to become employable and better at self-advocating. She’s now much more confident about disclosing her vision condition to potential employers.

 “It’s better to tell them when you’re in the interview. It’s good to talk about it in a positive way and give them ways that you are going to do [tasks].

“I use Seeing AI to read boxes and I use apps that help me see what colour things are and to help me navigate around.”

The full interview can be seen in the video below:

Do you know a young person who wants to take the first step on their employment journey?

Vision Australia’s LEAP program might be just what you are looking for.

Participants will gain real experience in areas such as creating a resume, preparing a job application and completing a mock interview for a job of their choosing.

“The skills you learn in LEAP will help you for the rest of your life!” says Ruby.

Do you know a young person who would benefit from LEAP? Share the LEAP webpage and expression of interest page with them.

LEAP 2022 applications close Tuesday, December 14.

Email [email protected] for more information or to discuss eligibility.


Talking Vision: Landing a part time job as a teenager

23 September 2021

When Caitiln’s peers started landing part time jobs outside of school, it was a milestone she wanted to reach too.

Unfortunately, her search wasn’t as easy.

“For me being visually impaired and being in a semi-rural place, it was extra hard for me to find jobs,” she told Vision Australia Radio’s Talking Vision.

The 16-year-old is one Vision Australia’s 2020 LEAP (Learn, Engage, Act, Perform) program graduates, and is now embarking on being a mentor to other teenagers who are blind or have low vision build their confidence.

LEAP is a nine-month program that offers employability and leadership training for young people, aged between 14 and 18 who are blind or have low vision.

“I learnt how to get a job, and learnt things like confidence building, self-branding, difficult conversations, all things to help me in the future.”

Cailtin’s favourite aspect of the program was the ever daunting but highly rewarding ‘mock interview’.

“I’d never been in an interview before, and so I got to hear what questions they would ask and so when I do go for a real interview I’m not so terrified.”

Thankfully, the hard work paid off and Caitlin landed her first job at her local McDonalds.

“I handed in the resume I had made in LEAP and it felt awesome.”

Caitlin is now passing on her wisdom to the 2021 and 2022 LEAP participants.

To hear more about Caitlin’s experiences, listen to the interview in the player below (interview begins at 7:55)

Talking Vision is a weekly discussion of issues relating to blindness and low vision, including stories of inspiration and achievement and information on services for the community. Tell us your story by emailing [email protected].


LEAP participants blaze ahead to success

26 May 2021

As participants of the LEAP (Learn, Engage, Act, Perform) program, our young people are learning important skills like how to communicate professionally, understand their personal values, and develop a job application.

Over April and May, LEAP participants have been tackling their biggest challenge yet – fundraising!

Supported by their LEAP Service Providers and Mentors, participants have been working hard to design and plan their own, unique fundraiser. Our LEAPsters have brilliantly risen to the challenge and raised a whopping $5,759 so far!

LEAP’s fundraising activity is an opportunity for our young people to develop and practice important skills they will need in employment. Fundraising asks our young people to:

  • Practice and perfect their elevator pitch
  • Build confidence to approach new people
  • Develop organisational skills
  • Develop creative thinking and problem solving skills
  • Persevere - choose their goal and commit to it (even when it’s hard!)

What are some of these unique fundraisers you wonder?

Participants are utilising their natural abilities and designing their fundraisers around baking, busking, rowing, skating, crafting, going without technology, trivia, dance and disco nights, and diary writing, just to name a few!

Head over to the My Vision for Vision page to support our LEAPsters in their fundraising journey.

If you would like to know more about the LEAP fundraising activity, LEAP program, or discuss your child joining us in LEAP 2022, please email Program Coordinator Claire Nolan at or check out the LEAP webpage.


LEAP: can't stop, won't stop!

10 March 2021

LEAP registrations doubled between 2019 to 2020 and from 2020 to 2021 they more than doubled again. LEAP is certainly gaining the attention of our young people!

What is LEAP you might ask?

LEAP is Vision Australia’s employability and leadership program for young people. With activities like resume writing, job interviewing, and learning how to speak with confidence, LEAP is the program for young people who want to craft themselves a great future.

As more young people enroll in LEAP, we are making the program bigger and better. Read on to find out three exciting additions to LEAP.

Read the full article: LEAP: can't stop, won't stop


The final LEAP: LEAP 2020 graduands wow their audience with their final presentations

2 December 2020

“I've learned some really useful skills from LEAP, like how elevator pitches work, how to prepare for an interview, as well as resume and cover letter writing.  These are all skills I will definitely be using in my future and I am thankful and happy I learned them with LEAP”, said Alex, a participant from the graduating class of the 2020 LEAP (Learn, Engage, Act, Perform) program.

In the final LEAP meeting, Alex shared the (virtual) stage with her fellow graduands as they completed their last activity before celebrating together in their graduation.

Read the full article: The final LEAP

"The LEAP Class of 2020 as seen through zoom"

The LEAP Class of 2020 meeting virtually through Zoom


Podcast: Listen to LEAP Program Co-ordinator Claire Nolan chatting about all things LEAP 2021


Vision Australia CEO Ron Hooton and LEAP 2019 participants share their experiences of LEAP program and Magic Moments camp.


The day the LEAP participants were interviewed by a CEO

15 October 2020

As a young person, the world of applying for a job is like stepping into another universe. It is filled with job searching, cover letters, interviews, CVs and resumes.

This process is tricky to navigate but is a vital step in a young person’s journey towards independence and adulthood.

At Vision Australia, we want our young people prepared with the skills they need to embark on this journey confidently and with pride.

Read the full story: how this year's LEAP participants were given a unique step-up


LEAP 2020 participants are dressing for success

25 September 2020

Chloe Naughton is Melbourne Fashion Festival’s chief Fashion Programmer. It is Chloe’s job to make sure Australia’s largest fashion event dazzles the crowd and brings style, sass, and inspiration to their audience through the world of fashion.

So, who better for our LEAP 2020 participants to learn tips on dressing professionally than from Chloe herself?

LEAP participants met with Chloe to learn all things fashion and style in the professional context. They learned there are many ways to dress professionally. For some this might involve a classic suit jacket and for others this might be an amazing pair of closed-toe shoes to complete the look.

LEAP participants learned that putting your best self forward when going to a job interview, networking, or attending formal events doesn’t mean you should lose your unique personality and style. Chloe lives and breathes fashion and champions the importance of expressing your personality in what you wear (and yes, avocado socks do have a place!).

Read the full story: putting your best self forward. 


Meet Chloe: a past LEAP program participant

Hear from Chloe, year 9, and her experience from Vision Australia's LEAP program.


LEAP 2020 participants get career boost from LinkedIn

LEAP Team know that our young people want to learn employability and leadership skills from prominent leaders in the field. That’s why we bring in guest speakers who have real-world experience to chat to our young people, to provide industry-insights and inspire them to realise their potential.

During LEAP 2020, participants took part in an online session supported by LinkedIn.

Angus McAvaney from LinkedIn spoke to the group about the importance of having an online professional profile and gave tips on how it can help them to search for and secure a job.

They were also joined by Vision Australia CEO Ron Hooton who shared his journey of becoming CEO. Ron shared with our young people important career insights as well as techniques and strategies he learned during his career and continues to use today.

Vision Australia’s Vildana Praljak, Service Designer at Vision Australia, said the LinkedIn session provided participants with valuable insight around their career paths. “As a teenager, there’s a whole world to figure out. It’s certainly a time when people are giving more thought to their career path and we want to make sure young people who are blind or have low vision have every chance to succeed,” Vildana said.

Tiled view of LEAP participants on LinkedIn meeting virtual call

In photo: LEAP 2020 participants, Angus from LinkedIn and several VA staff members all give a thumbs-up in a Zoom video call.

“Hearing from Ron about his career was a great opportunity for them to understand what it takes to be successful in a senior position, while Angus’ talk highlighted the changing nature when it comes to finding career opportunities and the importance of being ready to make the most of them,” she said.

The group was also surprised by Angus, who also shared with them that LinkedIn has provided all LEAP 2020 participants with access to LinkedIn Learning. LinkedIn Learning is an online learning platform that will support the LEAP participants to develop leadership and employment skills.

Back to LEAP