12 Dec Falling between the cracks – Barry’s story
Barry is an old shearer who was a ‘ratbag at school’ and never learnt to read and write properly. He said his desk was outside the principal’s office. He got to Year 7 but was always disruptive. Now he is finding day to day life difficult as so many tasks must be done on the computer, such as Centrelink claims and notifications.
One day he heard an Indigenous bloke on the radio saying ‘any of you mob that can’t read should call the Hotline’. He said he’d been meaning to call us for years. With the Hotline’s help, Barry tried his local Community College and TAFE, but they had no classes on offer.
He seemed to be stuck. Barry is on a Disability pension, but not on the NDIS so is not eligible for benefits. He’s not seeking work so is not eligible for the SEE program. Distance LLN is not available in Victoria, and General Education courses are not free. He is a widower, and on his own. He drives a V8 so only has limited funds for transport to another TAFE across the border in NSW. His daughters have families of their own and have no time to help him, and he doesn’t have the skills to use online resources. The Hotline can’t send him workbooks as he has no one to help with them.
The Hotline made further enquiries and have found Barry an alternative at the local TAFE where he may be eligible for a course for learners with a disability profile.