[Sub ID 4582] School for young parents and their children (Cape York Partnership)

Submission ID: 4582
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 parents, Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Many indigenous children represent the third generation of welfare dependency. They have not seen any members of their family work – not their granddad, not their mum and not their siblings. The very notion of work, and its associated benefits, is out of sight and therefore far from their aspirations. An Australian Government review titled “Reforming the Australian Welfare State” (2000) found that parents play a significant role in supporting and insisting that their children study or work. “This suggests to us that young people may gravitate towards unemployment and welfare dependency almost as a default position, unless their family directs them otherwise. The reason these children had not drifted into unemployment and welfare dependency was because their parents (reinforced by teachers, peers, and even older siblings) had successfully set out to ensure that this would not happen.”

The “Home Work” idea addresses the need to build positive beliefs about work (and its value) within families so that this can be transmitted to children prior to adolescence. Parents that have not experienced work do not see the value of work and will not require their children to aspire towards education and employment.

What is your idea?
“Home Work” proposes to engage families of children (starting in Prep and continuing throughout their primary and high school journey) to establish an environment of work.

The school provides parents of primary school children with actual work (at the school or in associated contracts such as cleaning or grounds keeping), with volunteering opportunities that simulate a paid work environment and/or on-site tertiary study. The school would have a two-fold agenda – to provide education to the students, and to provide work/study environments to the parents. It may be that your welfare dependent mother is a full-time, volunteer librarian support worker and she takes you to school in the morning, works all day in the library and then heads home with you at the end of the day.

The program would need to re-design the delivery of education services to accommodate significant numbers of low-skilled, paid and unpaid workers. It would have a “tertiary facility” where parents attend the school to pursue a university degree. These programs will benefit both the families of young students and the graduating students from the school itself that may be at risk of welfare dependency.