Disadvantaged Young People Given Future Insights for Jobs
9 June 2017 at 4:06 pm
A new program has been launched in Victoria to help disadvantaged young people gain practical skills to help them stand out in the competitive job market and address some of the barriers to youth unemployment.
Not-for-profit organisation, Doxa has launched Future Insights, targeting first and second year university students to help them become better equipped with professional skills that employers look for in a job candidate.
In particular the program, which is delivered over three sessions, helps participants work on skills including personal branding, networking, communication and teambuilding.
Doxa CEO, Dr Stephen Silk, told Pro Bono News in today’s workforce environment young people were required to have an agile and versatile skillset to compete for valuable employment opportunities.
“We need people to adopt and adapt to the changing workplace environment and what we’re doing is providing assistance that is going to provide them with that agility in their own personal development, to then apply for a job in the future,” Silk said.
“Gone are the days where people were hired to do just one job.
“In the current competitive and fast-paced working environment, young people are expected to be more flexible and adaptable than ever before when it comes to their roles and skillsets.”
Silk said youth unemployment was a major issue in Australia leaving many young people feeling bleak about their futures.
“The number of unemployed young people across Australia remains at critical levels,” he said.
“Young Victorians face many hurdles when it comes to finding work after they graduate from university, and it’s even more difficult for disadvantaged young Victorians who have little to no access to resources including trusted mentors and professional connections.
“Families and people with lower socioeconomic backgrounds often have poor access to education and have fewer opportunities to seek on-the-job training and develop solid networks.”
Silk said Doxa, which provides programs for young people from challenging life circumstances, was committed to investing in young people to obtain not only education, but also meaningful employment once they graduate.
“We created this program because we know that young people have so much potential and we want to help them realise that,” he said.
“It came about through our strategic planning process which has been ongoing over the last three years. We have, through our Cadet Program, usually around 120 applicants a year. Now these are disadvantaged young people that get to university, and then we try and match those young people with sponsor companies. But of the 120-odd people that apply each year, we interview about 80 of them, we short list about 35 and we place about 22 out of the 35 with sponsored companies.
“So there is a gap of about 60 people that we have interviewed each year that we are not able to place with sponsored companies. So what we decided to then as part of the strategic development of our programs is to develop a program that allows these young people, that have got to university to engage with us, to assist them in their career opportunities.
“They are the ones shaping our futures and we want to help them overcome the barriers they face.”
The aim is by the end of the program for students to have a trusted professional network, have gained unique insight into specific industries and have access to the right tools to find a professional mentor.
“It is one of the great challenges of young people that go to university and then get to the end of their tertiary stage and say: ‘Well how do I get a job?’ And one thing that is very important is that young people today need to think of themselves in the context of their brand and how they position themselves to get a job,” Silk said.
“What, certainly our cadetship and our Future Insights program is all about is assisting young people to develop skills that are going to assist them in future employment opportunities.
“So it is very much targeted at improving that employability skill which is so important and that future employers are looking for, how do I differentiate this student from that student?
“And if you’ve got something that projects your personal brand, that demonstrates that you’re a great networker that you communicate well, that you work well in a team, that you understand the industry you’re going into, then this is a great differentiator that adds to your personal brand and allows you to compete better in the marketplace and therefore find a job.”