How our outreach employment coaches are tackling youth disadvantage in Melbourne's west You’ve probably seen them out and about across Western Melbourne, but Youth Projects’ team of assertive employment coaches have been hitting the streets to find and support young people experiencing unemployment and struggling to get their foot in the job market. The program launched in July 2021 with investment from Jobs Victoria to deliver a specialised, tailored service for vulnerable young people and employers in Melbourne's western regions – Youth4Jobs. The rate of young people not currently studying or working in the region reached 14.2%, during the pandemic, compared with 11.2% state-wide – demonstrating a critical need for youth-specialist programs to re-engage and support young people. “Young people in the west of Melbourne need us most right now, and we aren’t going to sit around waiting for them to find us. We're taking our highly successful model from the north-west of Melbourne to the west. We'll meet young people where they’re at and provide the opportunities they desperately need right now” according to Ben Vasiliou (CEO, Youth Projects). The program has created an invaluable service for 343 young people in the Werribee/Wyndham community, providing access to experienced mentors who focus on preparing, placing, and sustaining them into employment. “As an outreach service, the program is able to pick up young people and take them to job interviews, spend quality one-on-one time with them, and support them with any additional needs they may have related to securing employment or housing. We take a holistic approach to addressing the barriers faced by young people, including mental health support, food relief, housing support, community engagement, and even funding for driving lessons” shares Ben Vasiliou (CEO, Youth Projects). After recently arriving in Australia, Hakim (early twenties) was hopeful, but faced numerous challenges to securing meaningful work in the local community. With limited English language skills, a lack of family support, and low confidence, he felt isolated, overwhelmed and unsure of what his future held. Pictured: Hakim Through Youth4Jobs, not only was Hakim supported into sustainable employment, but his confidence grew, his English language skills improved, is now able to financially support himself, has stabilised his housing situation and is now making new friends and community in the Werribee/Wyndham area. For more information about our youth-specialist employment programs check out our Youth4Jobs, Transition to Work and Employability Skills Training pages. For any media enquiries, please contact our Marketing & Communications Manager via [email protected].