Mr MELHEM (Western Metropolitan): I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Meri Ivanovska and Darren Hughes from the Inner Northern Local Learning and Employment Network and Oliver Walsh from the Powerful Placements program, who are working closely with our special schools in Victoria to provide work experience placements to students with disabilities within the Parliament of Victoria. I believe the concept is fantastic and gives students the opportunity to gain hands‑on experience in a structured environment around influential people working closely with the community. We are one of the first equal opportunity offices to participate in this new placement program, helping to provide young persons with such work experience and endeavouring to make a positive difference.

Our work experience student, Jake Tynan from Ascot Vale Special School, has been a delight to teach and has had the opportunity to experience how the office operates day to day. He has even had a visit to Parliament House this sitting week, where he has been able to experience all aspects of the Victorian Parliament in action. Jake Tynan is a talented young man who has displayed an interest in drawing, art and graphic design. He is very passionate and develops his own art designs. Through his creativeness, sensitivity and imagination he has been able to design my Christmas card for 2017. Jake plans to work in a creative role in the near future. Well done, Jake, and thank you for sharing your creative talents with our office.

Lastly, the work experience placement program is beneficial to both the students and members of Parliament, so I ask all members to please consider making a difference to young people with disabilities by giving them the opportunity to experience the work we do.

1 November 2017