[Sub ID 4865] WeLead (Victorian AIDS Council)

Submission ID: 4865
Organisation name: Victorian AIDS Council
Contact name: Ms Caroline Bayer
State: VIC
Contact email: caroline.bayer@vac.org.au
Contact number: 0398656746

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 implement early intervention strategies with young transgender and gender diverse (TGD) students at risk of long-term unemployment. TGD people (approximately 4% of the national population) are reported to experience under employment due to the impacts of social isolation, school harassment and abuse, disengagement from education, employment discrimination and poor mental health which are factors linked to long-term poverty, unemployment/under employment and high rates of suicide.

The mental health of many TGD people is poor, with a suicide rate 125 times higher than the general population. Due to harassment and abuse in schools, young TGD students are more likely to experience poor education outcomes, disengage from school and not attain appropriate secondary or tertiary qualifications to ready them for work. ‘From Blues to Rainbows’ (Link A) a 2014 Australian national study into the mental health of young TGD people, found that students were over four times more likely to leave school if they experienced discrimination and weren’t supported appropriately at school. The USA National Transgender Discrimination Survey (Link B) found that the unemployment rate for TGD workers was twice the rate for the population as a whole (14% compared to 7%).

What is your idea?
To develop ‘WeLead’ – a professional development and mentoring program for TGD young people.

Funding would be required to employ a Coordinator, workshop facilitators, resource development and training.

Young people will be referred from VAC services, youth/TGD/LGBTI organisations, and community health organisations for fully funded places. Existing students who identify as TGD and are enrolled in studies, will also be offered elements of the training and mentoring program.

VAC will utilise our existing programs and services to support student learning and professional development of the target group through offering casual employment, student placement, professional mentoring and networking opportunities within our own organisation and within existing partner organisations. This could include administration, youth services, alcohol and drug services, counselling services, community development, medical services, community support programs, health promotion and peer support group facilitation.

Students will be supported to:

  • Attend and participate in a structured program that will enhance their self-esteem, build confidence, and build responsible and respectful relationships in a safe and supported environment.
  • Learn and strengthen workplace skills, communication, networking, self esteem and public speaking.
  • Strengthen job seeking skills such as resume writing, application writing and interviewing techniques with a specialist LGBTI recruitment agency.
  • Access training opportunities within existing RTO’s, such as Certificate III in Community Services, Certificate IV in Youth Work/ Alcohol and Other Drugs/Mental Health/Community Development.

The program is anticipated to take 3-6 months for development and training, followed by 12 months of practical training and placement. This concept will be piloted in Melbourne, with potential roll out, if successful, in other major cities, including Adelaide and Hobart.