[Sub ID 4575] Peer support training for young parents (Mission Australia)

Submission ID: 4575
Organisation name: Mission Australia
Contact email: tenders@missionaustralia.com.au

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young parents

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Young parents have particular vulnerabilities that limit their workforce capacity. These vulnerabilities can be used as an asset in working with other young parents to overcome barriers to workforce participation. Shifting to a strengths-based approach helps them to address risks and work towards positive outcomes including workforce participation.

Young parenthood can not only limit a young person’s ability to participate in education and work, but often comes with substantial stigma. However the challenges of young parenthood can occur in parallel to significant personal growth, maturity, responsibility and a newfound sense of purpose that can be leveraged.

The first step into the workforce is often the hardest and young parents may not have the relevant education, skills and experience to compete for jobs in areas of high youth unemployment. However they do have unique skills in negotiating young parenthood which can be an asset that is leveraged to enable workforce participation and grow their experience.

What is your idea?
A peer workforce is a tried and tested model in mental health services and the idea is to transfer that model to peer support for young parents. This provides a positive stepping stone to workforce participation for the young parent and the young parent’s experience is an asset to the parenting service. The young parent can speak authentically to their peers about stigma, service access and aspirations for education and work and support them on their journey.

While working in a peer support capacity, the young person can complete a relevant qualification such as a community services certificate, opening up access to other jobs in the sector. On obtaining their qualification, peer workers can transition to caseworker or other community services role or into another field of work with the experiences, qualifications and references to give them a competitive edge in the job market.

Potential peer workers would be aged 18-25, providing an alternative career pathway for young parents who have not and are not seeking to complete secondary school. Young mothers and fathers would both be potential participants, with young fathers being able to operate male specific services such as fathers’ playgroups.