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Growth. Education. Connection.

It’s been seven months since commencing in the ‘hot seat’, and I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as the third CEO of Latrobe Lifeskills in three decades. When I took on this position, I had been working at Lifeskills for six years. I thought I knew Lifeskills like ‘the back of my hand’, however, I soon realised that I had begun a whole new job and a whole new way of contributing toward the goals of Latrobe Lifeskills.

I am most fortunate to be well supported by a team of loyal, talented and enthusiastic staff, alongside a lineup of multiskilled and well-credentialed Executive Team (Tammy Matthews-Prosser, Daniel Lim and Jacqueline Flynn). One of the many strong foundations laid by my predecessor Douglas Ball prior to his retirement from the role.

Reflecting upon our journey, our previous Vision, Mission, and Values have suited a purpose, but it was time to look forward and re-engineer. We asked ourselves, ‘what do people want, how do we better serve our community, and where can we improve on people’s experiences?’.

We studied our value proposition, analysed survey results, and found a common theme across our service sites; Participants LOVE to attend Lifeskills, enjoy activities with peers alongside staff, and will not skip a single day. Thus, our new Vision is born:

Creating a place where everyone wants to be.

alongside our Mission and Values:

Mission: To provide opportunities for growth, education, and connection.
Values: Equity, Diversity, Innovation, Independence, Creativity, Choice.

It is a purpose and a journey of growth together. We believe that the new Mission and Vision cut through our entire organisation and sit well with all levels of people engaging with Latrobe Lifeskills. Most importantly, we are paring it back to focus on growth, education, and connection for the Participants, families and carers, staff teams and the local community.

It only works if we embody, exemplify, and express it. Holding ourselves at Lifeskills responsible and accountable for making good things happen. Together, we create a place where everyone wants to be. And for that, we are not afraid to roll our sleeves up and get on with the work.

Growth. Education. Connection.

Our staff numbers continue to grow to match the increasing demand for our services. As part of this growth, we are introducing a rolling recruitment via our new ‘Join our team’ page. As staff numbers increase, so do our offerings from their unique skill sets. Lifeskills is committed to providing our teams with more hands-on supervision and professional development to increase staff experience, skills and knowledge base.
Exciting work is also underway, including partnerships and collaborations, more engagement with community services, improved individualised support, new service types (watch this space), and ultimately more value for Lifeskills’ Participants.

I thank our recent collaborators and wish to celebrate the successes of:

– Stella Batsanis, Head of University Campus at Ivanhoe Grammar School (IGS), who attended our Certificate Presentation Ceremony for IGS & Latrobe Lifeskills Year 9 Program 2022. We are looking forward to what 2023 brings and meeting the eager Year 9’s who wish to experience a week at Lifeskills and be involved with Participants on campus – for many, a valuable introduction to the disability sector.

– Inspector Chris Allen, Whittlesea Local Area Commander at Victoria Police, who kicked off the inaugural Latrobe Lifeskills & Whittlesea Police Academy. I am blown away by the immersive experience, support and resources that Inspector Allen and the Victoria Police has placed into community engagement for people with disability, and the goals of establishing increased trust, confidence and positive interactions with Police. A strong collaboration and partnership which we will continue to build upon. Thanking Inspector Allen, the brainchild behind Police Academy.

– Ally Borgelt, Business and Engagement Coordinator at Nangak Tamboree Wildlife Sanctuary, is the driver of our ‘cross-pollination learning’ work and access to resources for our gardening group to be better equipped and eventually design a native-focused garden in Bundoora.

– Rachel Baron, Lecturer – Industry Placement, & Dr Susan Chong, Senior Lecturer at La Trobe University, who are our Work Integrated Learning & Placements (WIL) Partners. Lifeskills hosts La Trobe University Student Placements annually, creating an avenue for uni students to complete research, work on unique project briefs, and obtain tangible industry experience.

The great successes in our Partnership Programs are only made possible by their vision, drive, shared goals, and tireless work. I thank you sincerely for our ongoing synergistic relationships.
Last but not least, thank you for your continued support. I am constantly reminded why we perform our many daily functions at Lifeskills – it is to support you, the Participants, in pursuing and achieving your goals. Without your support and decision to attend Lifeskills, we would not exist.
I know many have come to know my predecessors very well, and similarly, I endeavour to engage with you on a personal level in time. I am proud of our achievements and am excited about the next chapter of Latrobe Lifeskills.

Join us on our journey in creating a place where everyone wants to be.