[Sub ID 4771] Development and job readiness (healthAbility)

Submission ID: 4771
Organisation name: healthAbility
Contact name: Mrs Rosalyn Sandwell
State: VIC
Contact email: Rosalyn.Sandwell@healthability.org.au

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?
Our aim is to address the issue of young students within Nillumbik and Banyule, developing long term dependency on welfare due to offending behaviours, behavioural issues, contact with police or justice system, family breakdown and AOD issues. Nillumbik is a unique geographical area with both metropolitan and rural characteristics. While the area scores well on the CEFA index, the strain of geographical isolation, minimal infrastructure, long working hours and high housing prices, leads to family disconnection and youth disengagement.

A study completed by BNLLEN showed that 20% of year 10 students were at risk of leaving school early. Of the 6316 student responses, 98 were homeless.

The local Reconnect Service, staffed by two part time workers, is stretched beyond capacity. They find young people’s families are crying out for programs to support both them and their young people.

Schools and tertiary education providers in the regions also request programs and support for young people who are at risk of leaving school early. Local Police have set up ‘High Risk Youth’, conferences, with community agencies, in an attempt to intervene early but the common theme is the lack of programs aimed at engaging both the young person and the family members.

What is your idea?
Development of a program offering the identified client group and their families a 12 week program, followed by support and counselling for up to 2 years.

The initial 12 week program would include:
• 12 week personal development program for the young person. The program includes personal development, making connections, job readiness, life skills and skill development sessions enabling them to participate in a 5 day camp followed by a 5 day job readiness program.
• 12 week program for families of the young people including understanding of the youth program, truncated Tuning Into Teens and support group work. Individual family work would also be available.
• Joint family and youth activities, focused on promoting a sense of connection, fun and getting to know each other again through positive, life affirming experiences (e.g. bowling).
• Monthly follow up sessions.

Studies show that reliance on income support tends to run in families. In order to effect change, programs benefit from viewing the young person as part of an intrinsic value system as influenced by their families. Connecting the family and the young person with community agencies and police, in an early intervention and prevention model increases the potential for long term change to take place.