Popular creative program for young adults with autism heads to the Gold Coast

Posted 4 years ago by Nicole Pope
Mentor Jeremy Hautsolo likes seeing the students grow in confidence [Source: Supplied]
Mentor Jeremy Hautsolo likes seeing the students grow in confidence [Source: Supplied]

A popular games, animation and creative design program designed for young people on the autism spectrum is expanding its reach to the Gold Coast in July.

Developed by Autism Queensland in 2014, the Studio G Program aims to support young adults aged 16-24 years old in developing social, employment and life skills to help with the transition to employment, training or further education.

Already successful in Brisbane and Mackay, the 10-week term-based interactive workshop will commence on 16 July at the Creative Lab at the Helensvale Library.

Enrolments are now open for the program, which has a capacity of 20.

Studio G Program Coordinator, David McCartney says the program’s popularity has exceeded all expectations.

“Over 100 young people across Queensland have participated in the program to date, with 80 percent transitioning on to internships, employment or further education.

“We build on the interests that these young people already have – game development, animation, creative writing, music, video making and more.

“The strength of Studio G is its nurturing and supportive environment, which is why we partner the participants with mentors who are graduates from the Griffith University’s Digital Media Centre.

“Many young people come to us after prolonged periods of social isolation or disengagement from work, so getting them engaged with society and peers is really important.

Mr McCartney said Autism Queensland was excited to be partnering with Creative Tech Lab to deliver Studio G.

“It’s an exciting new venue designed to support creative young people on the Gold Coast,” he said.

Jeremy Hautsolo, a Griffith University graduate in animation and illustration has been a mentor with Studio G for three years and will lead the Gold Coast program.

“It’s been so rewarding to share my skills and knowledge with Studio G participants over the years, to watch their confidence grow, see them develop new skills, make friends and be accepted,” he says.

“The great thing about Studio G is that it’s more than just building technical or computer skills, it’s also about helping young people to develop the social skills and self-confidence they need to find work or take on further formal education.”

Chief Executive Officer of Rockmelon and Autism Awareness Australia, Nicole Rogerson commends Studio G in equipping young adults with autism with the skills they need to succeed in employment, study and training.

“It is critically important that more resources go into helping young people on the autism spectrum transition successfully from school into the workforce.

“We know that there is a ‘services cliff’ that many families fall off once school is complete.

“Studio G is a great initiative and the expansion of it should be applauded. In saying that, it is essential these types of services are true transitions rather than holding patterns.

Ms Rogerson says the outcomes are a critical component to the success of these types of programs.

“Organisations reaching out to wider networks and facilitating those further opportunities is key.

“We know individuals with autism have much higher rates of unemployment, here is hoping programs like Studio G can start to address that issue,” she says.

The program will be held each Tuesday and Thursday for 10 weeks from 16 July.

To enrol visit Autism Queensland’s website.