Youth Projects launches suite of critical programs to support young people in the COVID-19 recovery After campaigning long and hard to ensure young people are not left behind post-pandemic, Youth Projects is set to launch a suite of new and expanded programs over the coming months. Youth Projects is confident that these new investments will go a long way in supporting the social and economic recovery of young people in Melbourne’s north and western regions. 'Youth4Jobs' slated to propel youth employment in the West Youth Projects has secured a significant injection of funding from Jobs Victoria to launch ‘Youth4Jobs’ in Western Melbourne to address unemployment and the economic fallout from the pandemic. 'Youth4Jobs' will be delivered in Melton, Brimbank and Wyndham, which experience the highest concentrations of youth unemployment Youth Projects has seen in some time. The rate of young people not currently studying or working hovers around 14.2%, compared with 11.2% state-wide, and there is a growing need for youth-specialist programs to re-engage and support young people. The agile, new program will be delivered via outreach to support young people to develop stronger work and life skills, reduce job drop-out, and promote independence and resilience in sustaining future work with up to 30-weeks post-placement support. The mobile outreach team of 5 will hit the road in July 2021 and will include intensive supports for CALD, refugee and ATSI jobseekers, as well as targeting employers in skill shortage areas to create new jobs. Additional Youth AOD specialists joining YNOT in North-East Youth Projects is also expanding its high impact, youth-specialist Alcohol and Other Drugs program – YNOT – into Melbourne’s north-east as part of a state-wide call for more AOD support alongside 14 other State Government funded Youth AOD service providers in Victoria. “We’re seeing a significant back log on waiting lists and need more skilled staff out there supporting young people who have suffered during the pandemic. This agile model is critical as we outreach, meaning we don’t wait for young people to come to us - we go to them” shares Ben Vasiliou, CEO of Youth Projects. The investment in additional staffing resources will enable Youth Projects to address the needs of young people, whilst working with a state-wide coalition of Youth AOD providers to ensure we share and learn from best practice. Youth Projects will recruit an additional Youth AOD team who will work with young people across North East Melbourne with a specific focus on the City of Whittlesea. Youth-specialist outreach service expands into Moreland Included in the mix is an expansion of our highly success youth outreach program (YHOP) into the City of Moreland. The YHOP program assertively outreaches into the community targeting hot spots such as train stations, skate parks and shopping centres. Since launching in 2018, YHOP has supported 400 at-risk and disengaged young people get housing, access mental health supports, get back to school and into work. Expansion into Moreland is vital right now, with more than 20% of the youth population not currently in school or work and at risk of slipping through the cracks. With funding from Erdi Foundation, Moreland Rotary and Youth Projects, YHOP will provide a one-stop-shop for young people aged 12 – 25 years in the City of Moreland to improve their mental health, education engagement, physical and social wellbeing and provide pathways to sustainable housing and employment. Creating sustainable pathways for differently-abled young people 'Here4Hospitality' is our newest, industry-aligned employment program that will see 30 young people aged 16 – 25 years living with autism, intellectual or psychosocial disabilities attain a nationally accredited Hospitality Skills set and participate in on-the-job, paid traineeships. Designed with an emphasis on job creation, trainees will work intensively with industry mentors through an inclusive learning model where they can share experiences and learning to build a connected community that supports each other and obtain sustainable employment pathways. Our award-winning social enterprises, The Little Social and Good2Go will play critical roles in providing on-the-job traineeships and practical work experience for participants – reaffirming our vision of young people being good-to-go into a very competitive job market. 'Here4Hospitality' will launch in June 2021. All of these new programs and service expansions are designed to provide young people with immediate relief from the COVID-19 economic crisis and create sustainable, long-term pathways for young people to actively participate socially and economically for decades to come. For more information on any of these new initiatives, please contact us.