[Sub ID 4630] Skills and Enterprise Learning Centres (Marist180)

Submission ID: 4630
Organisation name: Marist180
Contact name: Dr May Lam
Contact email: may.lam@m180.org.au

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

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Young parents and carers typically experience social isolation and limited mobility. For those with poor experiences of education and no qualifications, plans for working futures seem too long term and unachievable. As the formative years pass for young carers and parents, they can lose confidence and self-esteem, motivation and opportunities to acquire the skills to get paid work.

Mainstream employment assistance and vocational training providers typically do not provide the learning environment that supports people to learn at their own pace to acquire the employability and enterprise skills and work experiences increasingly needed for the future. At the same time, the Australian labour market is losing secure, full-time jobs, and there is rapid turnover in entry level jobs.

Young carers and young parents will need to become adaptable, enterprising job seekers and micro-entrepreneurs. They need places to engage in graduated learning activities by making and doing things, working in groups. They need support and solutions for their caring responsibilities while they care for themselves and build their own futures. They need to clarify their goals for work and income through small, successful project-based learning experiences, building the employability and enterprise skills that will lead to paid work.

What is your idea?
Skills and Enterprise Learning Centres offer a phased-in and flexible way for people disengaged from formal learning or paid employment to join in on purposeful, pleasurable and profitable activity. In a workshop environment, people learn new skills, like woodworking or propagating plants, to manufacture and sell objects from which they can retain the income.

Initially structured projects give way to workshops that are increasingly co-designed and managed by natural leaders emerging among the young parents and carers. Workshops are taught by skilled tradespeople or other specialists; product development and sales are informed by enterprise coaches explaining the basics of trading goods and services in local markets and online. A daily lunch is accompanied by a menu of conversation, reflecting on what is being learned, what opportunities identified, and how people are working together.

Alongside these making and trading activities, a youth worker supports individuals to identify and overcome the practical obstacles to further participation in learning and work. This is complemented by an employment advisor who prompts conversations at the right time for each person about their likes, interests, and future goals, supports people to recognise and grow their employability skills, and builds links to paid work.