CONTENT WARNING: This story may contain distressing information for some people. If this story raises any issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

TJ was a university graduate, who found herself struggling to find an entry-level graduate role off the back of her studies. After being referred to our Employability Skills Training program, TJ was able to get the support and encouragement needed to persevere into landing her dream role.  

After completing a dual Bachelor of Criminology and Psychology, TJ found herself becoming one of the many qualified graduates who struggled to find an entry-level, graduate role due to lack of experience. TJ spent over 12 months looking for a graduate role before being referred to our Employability Skills Training Program (EST). 

Our EST team works collaboratively with hundreds of young people referred via Centrelink/JobActive providers every year to create individualised plans and immersive experiences that equip participants with the skills and confidence to bridge into long-term, meaningful employment. 

Whilst participating in our 3-week job readiness program, TJ’s Youth Coach continued to support her with applying for relevant roles within the Community Services, Youth, and Justice sector (which is where TJ expressed in wanting to work!) 

During her first week with us, TJ shared that she was “about ready to give up on her dream and start applying for roles in retail based on what she’d done to get through university.” But her Youth Coach was confident in TJ’s ability and knew she was a resilient, determined, and extremely enthusiastic person who really wanted to work with vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and support those experiencing hardship. 

Along the way, TJ also became involved in our Youth Advisory Group (YAG) – a group that provides young people with opportunities to be involved in advocacy, other skills-building activities and provide valuable insight into service and program gaps within the community to improve service accessibility for young people.  

 Through her involvement in YAG, TJ was also able to boost her resume having been involved with a range of youth-led virtual workshops, and panel discussions, and contributing to co-designing service delivery, policies, and programs at Youth Projects.  

During the later half of the program, TJ’s and her Youth Coach worked on tailoring her resume and cover letter to the positions she was interested in applying for.  

“Completing Block 1 and 2 of the EST programs has provided me with countless new skills and bits of information. Personally, the main benefit for me was the confidence that came with identifying and reflecting on our transferable skills. Realising the difference, a good resume and cover letter make was a game-changer in my job search journey. 

After a couple of grueling months of job searching and interviews, TJ’s hard work paid off and she found herself in the fortunate position of having TWO job offers on the table (literally within hours of each other!) 

The offer that she pursued was one of her ‘dream roles’ working as a full-time Family Violence Practitioner. At the time of writing this story, TJ was officially into her second (of 7 weeks) of on-the-job training for a brand-new service opening in Melbourne and was eager to finally be using her undergraduate in real life.  

“The impact that gaining employment had on my life has been two-fold. There have been clear financial benefits such as being able to comfortably pay rent, buy groceries, have a budget for eating out, and paying off my HECS debt. I have also been able to start saving for an overseas trip.  

Secondly - and more unexpectedly - it has also had a big effect on my sense of self. I feel more productive, have a bigger sense of purpose, and my life has a clear structure to it. As an extra bonus, I have finally been confident enough to (financially) commit to getting a cat, which has been wonderful!” 

Throughout 2021, TJ was one of the more than 600 young people who participated in our employment and job readiness programs, with more than 80% of those young people achieving a job or education placement as a direct result of the programs. 

When TJ reflects back to where she was a year ago (and how she was feeling), everyone is over the moon for her success and are super excited for the huge step in the right direction she’s now taking to have a meaningful job in the area that she’s most passionate about (and qualified for).  

TJ also remains actively involved in our Youth Advisory Group and continues to provide insightful knowledge and learnings from her lived experience that will help other young people in the future. 

 Want to learn more about our Youth Advisory Group and how you can get involved? You can check it out here! 

*We've used a pseudo-image out of respect for keeping this person's identity private