Jesuit Social Services has long believed that education and employment are key to enable someone to meaningfully participate in society. Having worked for many years with people who face significant barriers to mainstream education and

employment pathways, we founded Jesuit Community College in 2011. Our goal was to help people, and by extension their families and communities, reach their full potential.

“You start with the end in mind, and the end is always employment,” says Lorraine Nesbitt, General Manager of Jesuit Community College. “Employment is one of those things that can solve a lot of the problems our participants are facing.”

The College delivers courses that teach life, employability and work skills across a wide range of areas including: literacy and numeracy, English language skills, hospitality, animal care, permaculture, gardening and horticulture, financial skills, aged care, carpentry and construction.

Long-time trainer, Astrida Pepe, who has been working for the College for nearly 10 years, has seen the impact of the College on participants time and time again.

“Many of the people who come to us have been really hard done by – emotionally, socially and in education. They have low self-worth. We build relationships based on each person’s strengths and then help them develop skills that reinforce these strengths.”

From 130 students in its first year, the College has steadily grown, with over 2,000 participants preparing for work and further study through its courses in 2020. Looking forward to the next 10 years, Lorraine knows the College has the potential to do more.

“We want to keep growing so we can help more people. We know that digital literacy is a huge area where the College has the potential to help.”

Reflecting on what she’s most proud of about the College, Lorraine is clear: it is how the team lives the College’s vision and values every day.

“Our vision is for people to be contributing members of the community by way of employment. But we recognise that every individual has a whole range of barriers and our team comes together to address those. We are and will forever be wholly committed to this vision.”