9 April 2019

Future’s looking bright for young people in Melbourne’s north west

Future’s looking bright for young people in Melbourne’s north west

Young people in Melbourne’s north-west will benefit from specialist education and vocation support as part of a new program being delivered from Orygen’s headspace centre at Craigieburn.

The program, called the Future Project, is aimed at improving the skills and mental wellbeing of young people to help them better engage in learning, life and work opportunities. It has been made possible by a donation of $20,000 given to headspace Craigieburn by The Pierce Armstrong Foundation.

The Future Project is a 12-week program for up to 40 young people who are currently seeking mental health or vocational support from, or are connected with, headspace Craigieburn. Partnering with not for profit organisation Campbell Page and Hume and Whittlesea Local Learning and Employment Network, the program aims to build ongoing relationships with local industry and mentors.

Brendan Pawsey, program manager of primary clinical services at Orygen, said youth unemployment was of great concern in this particular region of north-west Melbourne. ”Figures suggest that in this region of Melbourne, across all age groups, unemployment is almost twice as high as the Victorian average,” Mr Pawsey said.

“According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, youth unemployment is the single factor most frequently associated with homelessness alongside family conflict and young people’s lack of income,” he said.

“The Future Project will address this by supporting educational options for young people at high risk of disengagement and addressing skills gaps with young people in vulnerable communities to support them and combat youth unemployment.”

Elements of the program will include:

  • providing young people with personal and wellbeing development information and opportunities that equip them to engage in project planning and employment;
  • learning the skills necessary to make young people more employable and to develop the necessary attributes for this to occur; and
  • engaging young people with a range of industry personnel who can guide and mentor.

The program will culminate in ‘The Big Pitch’, an event modeled on the TV show Shark Tank, where participants choose a challenge to work on and present to a panel of industry professionals and leading employers.

“Through this generous funding by The Pierce Armstrong Foundation, we are thrilled to be able to offer such targeted and interactive support to young people looking to improve their general wellbeing and job-seeking skills,” Mr Pawsey said.

“Not only can working help to improve wellbeing and give a sense of purpose to young people, it can also provide structure and routine in day-to-day life.”