[Sub ID 4639] Young Parents Work Readiness Program (The Salvation Army Employment Plus)

Submission ID: 4639
Organisation name: The Salvation Army Employment Plus
Contact name: Mrs Narelle Caulfield
State: VIC
Contact email: narelle_caulfield@aep.salvationarmy.org
Contact number: 0408919234

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?
Each year 1000 parents under 19 enter the welfare system. If nothing changes, 70% and 40% of these will still be on welfare in 10 and 20 years time respectively. Many of these depend on Parenting Payments as they have little or no other income.
The move to parenthood whilst still in their teens and still at school is a life changing event. Whilst their peers are contemplating what careers they should pursue, these mostly teenage women have conflicting priorities and other life decisions to face.
Currently, secondary schooling lacks a young parent focussed, work readiness program linked to work experience that can help young parents find work or make appropriate study choices.
During a recent Employment Plus Employer Forum, our employers reported many young people lack useful work experience (application of so-called hard and soft skills) and that a young person’s expectations differ to labour market realities.
Young parents need to juggle work and study along with child care responsibilities. They also need help with financial literacy. Linking these components into a single package specifically targeted at this vulnerable cohort should help address their needs and arrest the current inflow of young parents entering the welfare system each year.

What is your idea?
Our Young Parents Work Readiness Program encourages young parents to participate in work readiness preparation in their last semester of secondary schooling.
It has four stages:
1. Preparation for work – work readiness, arranging child care support, and financial literacy;
2. Work trials – work experience with national and local employers, tailored to child care support needs;
3. Case management – aimed at gaining suitable, stable employment;
4. Mentoring – employing other young adults who have experienced similar challenges to play a mentoring role.

Program prerequisites include:
• Final year of secondary schooling (including those returning to school after child birth);
• On parenting payments; and
• Work is with industries experiencing skills or labour shortages.

Features of the program include:
• Student assessment by an employment services provider to identify strengths, resilience etc;
• Job matching with employers that can offer work trials;
• Flexible work trials tailored to child care support arrangements (min 6 weeks);
• Workplace mentoring focussed on both building resilience and flexibility with the employer; and
• Access to suitable child care and financial literacy training.

Benefits for Young Parents include:
• Gaining valuable work experience and a chance for permanent employment; and
• Accessing mentoring support from someone who has walked in their shoes.