After completing his studies at Port Phillip Specialist School, a school that caters for children with special needs, Monty Cooper enrolled in the Certificate III in Events at Box Hill Institute. At the same time, he was undertaking a traineeship with GTR Events, an organisation specialising in sports and festival event management and delivery.
Monty's love for events provides him with focus and structure. To support him, Box Hill Institute has adapted resources and assessments for his learning and assessment experiences and encourages inclusion, which enables Monty and many other students to have learning opportunities.
Monty said, "This extra support showed me that Box Hill Institute is inclusive of all abilities and looks at the strength of students rather than their diagnosed disability."
Through his traineeship, Monty works on the operational aspects of events including cycling, running, fishing and recreational events applying the theory he learns at Box Hill Institute in practise. He said, "The theory is converted for me by Box Hill Institute and spoken to me through speech to text software.
“Box Hill Institute has been very accommodating of my additional needs and offered extra support when required for me to undertake the course," he said.
Sharyn Smith is Monty’s teacher, who has been adapting the events course content to help him achieve the competency goals to the best of his ability. Monty said, "She has allowed me extra time and, through online face-to-face sessions, given me the ability to show that I know the content and can do the tasks without the added pressure of reading and writing all the information needed."
Box Hill Institute has also supported Monty by being flexible with his workplace hours and online studies, especially during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Monty's favourite experience is participating in the events and learning about the event industry. He works two full days a week and sometimes up to four to six days depending on events. He also does extra work for other businesses such as Big Dog Events, a freelance events company. He said, "I enjoy working on the events and with the staff that I learn from, spending time working and being a part of the event crew."
Monty said it is exciting seeing people participate, compete and achieve their goals. He added, "I like setting up the event areas and seeing it all take place. Sometimes I also participate in the events, which adds to the excitement.”
Monty's advice to other students with special needs is to focus on their ability, not the disability. In the future, he sees himself working in events, in a role he can perform independently and without support.