Youth unemployment in Western Melbourne about to radically shift as youth-specialist services expand and state of the art facilities set to open Western Melbourne will soon be boosted by the expansion of Youth Projects' youth-specialist services into the region from this July. Grassroots, independent charity - Youth Projects – is scaling up its youth-specialist services across Western Melbourne after being entrusted by the Department of Education, Skills & Employment to deliver holistic employment and mental health supports for young people in the region over the next 5 years through the Commonwealth’s Transition to Work program. The expanded footprint will extend from Melton to Werribee, and from Bacchus Marsh to Footscray. It's one of the fastest-growing areas in Australia, with the LGAs of Wyndham and Melton in the top 5 LGAs nationally for growth in 2017-2018. Youth unemployment across Western Melbourne was at 18.8% pre-pandemic, almost double the national rate for young people in the same period. As the rates of mental health soar amongst young people due to the pandemic, Youth Projects will embed mental health supports to ensure young people are ready to transition to study or work in a sustainable way. “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.” said Ben Vasiliou, CEO, Youth Projects. “This is no ordinary jobs program. Our new approach has embedded mental health supports to help young people recover from the pandemic and build resilience for their future. We are strengths- based and work with young people to help them realise their full potential. Be it study, on the job training, skills certificates, traineeships, apprenticeships – this will all be part of the program. As are jobs in essential industries like airport support services, manufacturing, transport & logistics, technology and communications." Pictured here: Youth Projects team members in Footscray with Melbourne skyline in background Youth Projects has been delivering life changing programs to young people across Northwest Melbourne since the 1980s and will now scale their services across Western Melbourne to ensure young people are engaged and supported into meaningful pathways in one of Australia’s fastest growing regions. Since launching Transition to Work in Northwest Melbourne in 2016, Youth Projects has already supported 2,160 young people into meaningful employment and education pathways and has contributed to decreasing the unemployment rate in the region by 5.3%. Youth Projects CEO, Ben Vasiliou credits this success to the organisation’s unique and high impact approach to supporting young people, “we don’t just shove young people into jobs. We know that doesn’t work. Our model sees the whole young person. We look at the social determinants of health to support young people to live healthy, happy and productive lives.” Young jobseekers like Letisya know all too well the challenges of finding work. Having only arrived in Australia in 2019 as a refugee, Letisya knew very little English and was wondering where to even begin re-starting her life in Melbourne. After being connected to Youth Projects’ TtW program and a bi-lingual youth-specialist worker, she went on to complete two Certificate qualifications during lockdowns. She’s now completing a third, specialising in Information & Technology to launch into the recovering job market. Over the next 5 years, Youth Projects will scale up to support over 13,000 young people to re-engage with school, participate in TAFE and university courses, and into apprenticeships, traineeships and jobs. “We’ve helped take Melbourne’s North West region out of the Top 20 unemployment hot spots over the past few years, so now it’s up to us to make serious inroads in the youth disengagement and unemployment rates across Western Melbourne” says Ben Vasiliou. As one of Australia’s top performing non-profit services and a major youth employment services provider in Melbourne, Youth Projects is able to provide a one-stop-shop for young people to access a range of wrap-around support services that see long term social and economic participation not only achieved, but sustained. “Whilst there are major infrastructure projects underway in the west, we need to ensure the long-term sustainability of local jobs, particularly for young people and local employers, remains long into the future. Youth Projects will be launching state of the art Youth Employment & Mental Health Hubs in Werribee, Melton, Sunshine, St Albans, Hoppers Crossing, Point Cook, Footscray, Altona Meadows and surrounds over the coming months with plans to expand wherever services are needed over the coming years. Youth Projects’ Transition to Work program will be available for young people to access across Western Melbourne from 1 July 2022. For all media enquiries, please contact Nic Horton (Marketing & Communications Manager) on 04 27 341 633. Youth Projects is a proud partner with CoAct, a not-for-profit that helps people across Australia find jobs. Youth Projects has a long-standing partnership with CoAct who lead national approaches to procuring employment services and will support with the delivery of Transition to Work in Western Melbourne from 1 July 2022. For CoAct’s Media Release, please click here.