[Sub ID 4581] Sign Up (Cape York Partnership)

Submission ID: 4581
Organisation name: Cape York Partnership
Contact name: Ms Tania Cobham
State: QLD

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
In the same vein as the actuarial research undertaken by DSS, our work running a Prep to Year 12 school facility in the southern suburbs of Cairns has shown that a large proportion of school leavers do not progress into further study or work. We work with Indigenous kids, and we see huge numbers of them return to remote communities to start their journey on welfare. While there are some basic case management supports for these kids, it does not appear to be working to any large extent. Why would a young student who’s family is all on welfare buck the trend and take the leap into the challenging world of work?
CYP have identified this conundrum as the “welfare pedestal”. The current welfare system has in-built disincentives to transition into work. A person starting work at the minimum wage will earn less than they can receive on welfare for doing nothing. Our “Sign Up” program neutralizes these disincentives by countering them with attractive incentives. There is a push and pull mechanism – pull into work by offering opportunities and support, push out of welfare by requiring opting out of the system and penalties for dropping out.

What is your idea?
Our idea is called “Sign Up”. Many kids don’t make it to Year 12 and for those that scrape through a pathway after graduation is unclear. Typically these kids are not academically strong and do not have any family at university or working. We are proposing a 10 year pathway for this cohort of kids, starting at age 15. These kids (and their families) would be required to “Sign Up” to a covenant including training, employment and assistance to save for a home in return for committing to the idea that welfare should be a safety net only.
The actual incentives and benefits that the student (and their family) would be provided will be co-developed with the cohort. Incentives may include facilitated accommodation for university, attractive site-visits or trips interstate/overseas and guaranteed access to jobs that have been secured by the scheme. The goal of the program is to simulate the opportunities that are available to middle class students by virtue of their family connections and financial status. The students of welfare dependent families that “Sign Up” will be exposed and groomed in the world of university studies and working adults. In return, they will agree to revert to a different form of welfare should they leave the scheme within two years.