Published on 27 April 2020

Learning about life

Young people aged 16 to 25 are learning practical life skills and gaining confidence in the City of Onkaparinga’s How to Adult program.

Young people in the local community are joining in a free seven-week program called How to Adult. The program is helping participants learn how to manage the responsibilities that are part of everyday life for most adults.

The How to Adult program was developed in 2018 by the Onkaparinga Youth Committee to answer the call from residents who sought information to smooth their transition from teen to independent adult.

Onkaparinga Youth Committee member Ella Uhl says her peers expressed concern about their lack of knowledge in areas such as finances, tax, renting and buying a car.

“The committee created the program from the ground up, starting by brainstorming things that young adults say they didn’t learn in school, and don’t have the skills to manage on their own,” Ella says. “Then, we put the draft program content to a vote to determine which topics would be most beneficial, and refined it to seven key areas.”

The seven topics cover working, wellbeing, housing, government payments, finances and contracts, and maintenance of a motor vehicle.

The first program was held in early 2019 with great success. Local organisations partnered with council staff to help deliver the sessions and provide answers to the participants’ questions.

“Across the seven weeks, participants develop valuable skills that they can use throughout their life,” Ella says. “By being able to manage adult tasks on their own, people are able to save themselves time and money, and positively influence their future.”

Observing the growth in confidence among the group is the best part of the program, Ella says.

“The participants have more faith in their abilities to undertake everyday tasks in a positive way,” Ella says.

“They think ‘if I can learn this, I can do other things too’.”

Overwhelming interest in the How to Adult program has led to plans for it to be run more frequently. The first session wrapped up in March, held at the Wardli Youth Centre in Christie Downs. Term 1 program participant Josh de Heus, 23, says although he had a basic knowledge of much of the program content, the sessions have provided a “good top up of information”.

“I can always learn something new,” Josh says. “I was excited to join the How to Adult program because I thought it would come in handy.

“The first week, we had a presenter who shared her experiences in the workplace. It was interesting to hear from someone who’s had a range of jobs, some good and some not so good. We’ve also been shown examples of extreme cases of rental property tenants. That was an eye-opener, as I’ve only started to learn about renting in the last year or so.

“And, we’ve been encouraged to check in with our superannuation fund to make sure we’re being paid correctly by our employer.”

The opportunity to hear from a variety of presenters has appealed to Josh.

“It’s great to be able to learn from different people, including the other members of the group,” he says.

Josh encourages local young people to get involved in the How to Adult program.

“Definitely check it out,” Josh says. “It’s a real confidence boost, particularly for people who are thinking about moving into their own place, soon or later on.

“This program is something people need to get around.”

Keep an eye out for future programs at:

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Callum Grigg and Blair Kennett