[Sub ID 4846] Community based mentoring and partnership network (Churches of Christ in Queensland)

Submission ID: 4846
Organisation name: Churches of Christ in Queensland
Contact name: Mr Mike Folland
State: QLD
Contact email: mike.folland@cofcqld.com.au
Contact number: 0733631806

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

What need or issue are you trying to address?
There is a need to challenge the assumption that an individual has to find paid employment to survive. The challenges of finding employment can be a barrier to some young people, particularly those in rural areas, those from an indigenous background, and those who have carer or parenting responsibilities. When opportunities appear limited, self-esteem and engagement often suffer and a young person can give up on searching for a job. Rather than becoming stuck in welfare dependency to find money, the opportunity can be developed to seek different income sources; finding an income rather than a job.

Some projects seek to develop entrepreneurship skills in young people, but the majority of these programs tend to be in city areas with access to multiple resources and opportunities. There are however, very different challenges and opportunities in regional, outer metropolitan and rural areas.

Our organisation works with many young people who come from challenging backgrounds, including statutory care and indigenous communities. For many, their “family of origin” is either absent or unhealthy and this can perpetuate a cycle of welfare dependency. Our work intentionally seeks to build a “family of destination” that is supportive, empowering and builds resiliency.

What is your idea?
Our idea is to develop a community based mentoring and partnership network that stimulates creative income generation. The program will be aimed at young people in regional, outer metropolitan and rural areas who struggle to find employment opportunities, particularly if they are constrained by parenting or carer responsibilities.

Participants in the program will receive training and mentoring to identify income generating ideas from within their local environment, communities and resources. The aim is to build on their existing circumstances and situation, to find opportunities that generate multiple sources of income. These may be micro-businesses, on-line sales or services, ad-hoc services that leverage current lifestyle patterns, or many other variations. An important aim would be to help young people overcome the existing barriers to small business and sole trading.

The program will intentionally seek to build capacity within individuals and communities to discover their own solutions, collective self esteem and resiliency. Whilst the actual income activities need to “bubble up” from the young person’s local context, the program will be designed to stimulate a sharing of ideas between communities and shared-coaching. These sharing networks are also intended to be organic and self generating, rather than centrally organized or administered.