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Young People in Public Housing ‘Shout Out’ for Jobs

10 February 2017 at 12:53 pm
Wendy Williams
Young people living in public housing are getting a “shout out” to help them find job opportunities that are right for them.

Wendy Williams | 10 February 2017 at 12:53 pm


Young People in Public Housing ‘Shout Out’ for Jobs
10 February 2017 at 12:53 pm

Young people living in public housing are getting a “shout out” to help them find job opportunities that are right for them.

The Victorian Public Tenants Association and the Brotherhood of St Laurence have teamed up to launch a new employment service called Shout Out that will focus on jobs and training.

Young people will be helped to be job ready through a tailored program that will include interview preparation and the crafting of resumes and cover letters.

VPTA chairperson Margaret Guthrie said it was a small program with a powerful message.

“We know how keen young people in public housing are to find work and realise their dreams,” Guthrie said.

“This is a small program but it has a powerful message. Young people in public housing have the same aspirations and hopes as everyone else.

“We believe in them and we hope that Shout Out can make a real difference in their lives.”

Initially, Shout Out, which aims to give young people a safe and welcoming place to explore their vocational aspirations, will work with 24 jobseekers aged between 16 and 30.

Participants will meet with their worker, and together create a Pathway Plan designed to assist them to achieve their career goals or meet their training needs.

As part of the program, which will be delivered by Brotherhood of St Laurence, participants will have access to job search skills workshops, industry visits, training to support them to better understand Australian workplace culture and how to navigate the increasingly complex recruitment processes used by many organisations.

Brotherhood of St Laurence state manager work and learning, Lisa Patience told Pro Bono News it was important to prepare young people in public housing for the workforce.

“Experience has shown us that many young people are underprepared and under resourced when competing effectively for employment opportunities available in their labour market,” Patience said.

“Young people who are disengaged from education, family and their community may also face other challenges in their progress towards economic independence and all the other good things that flow from sustainable and worthwhile employment.”

Patience highlighted several issues facing young people:

  • Lack of support: many young people have difficulties complying with the requirements that accompany their Centrelink payments and often become alienated from the services and resources meant to assist them to achieve positive pathways to employment, education and training.
  • Early exit from school: there are many reasons why young people leave school before completion of Year 12. including social and family issues, homelessness, drug and alcohol issues, youth justice involvement and inability to fit into mainstream educational settings. Whatever the reasons, OECD data indicates that young people who have not completed school are twice as likely to be unemployed as those who have completed Year 12.
  • Lack of networks: many young people do not have access to the many networks they require to assist them to successfully link with the services they need to progress their journey to work. They often don’t have the knowledge on Australian workplace culture or experience or how to build effective relationships with employment or recruitment services.
  • De-motivation: many young people become demotivated as their journey to work fails or stalls which can lead to low self-esteem and fear of failure.

“Other significant barriers include, lack of driving skills and/or access to a vehicle, no access to funds to support fee based training courses, limited knowledge of job search methodology [and] low level computer skills and/or industry specific skills,” she said.

“There is a pressing need for young people to have access to a service which doesn’t judge them, that just wants to see them succeed.”

Seed funding for the Shout Out program is being provided from the VPTA. If the program is successful, the VPTA will seek ongoing support from charitable and philanthropic foundations.

The City of Darebin will also assist the program by showing program participants the range of roles that are available with major employers such as local councils.

Patience said the program could make a real difference.

“The Shout Out approach allows them to have the time needed to create a relationship built on trust and empowerment,” she said.

“The program will provide a warm and welcoming place for young people to come to explore their employment options and receive quality advice and support.  

“With the support of their Shout Out advisor, clients establish achievable vocational goals and an individualised pathway plan. Participants will be encouraged and supported to enter into employment and/or training to meet their career aspirations.”

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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