Local businesses and larger corporations urged to help young people reach their potential

Wednesday, 21 October 2015:

A key focus of mine, as someone who grew up in the community I now have the honor of representing, is working to ensure local young people have every chance of reaching their full potential.

Growing up in this community and being educated in a housing commission area helped develop this personal commitment, having witnessed great potential not always matched by aspiration or the kind of support to enable all people to be their best selves.

I have seen what can be achieved with support, encouragement and ambition – and this feeds my assertion that “a person’s postcode should not determine their potential” and that “to achieve our best we need to turn up” and participate in opportunities to develop and display capacity.

Earlier this week I spoke in Parliament about this focus and some of the fantastic Government, not-for-profit and corporate programs in place to support local youth to be their best selves.

I urge more local businesses to consider providing work placement opportunities to enable our young people, those out of work for some time or facing employment barriers to gain real life workplace knowhow and experience as part of one of a number of existing programs.

One such program is the Federal Government’s Training for Employment Scholarships (TES). The Mornington Peninsula is one of 11 regions that was chosen for the pilot, which is aimed at tackling youth unemployment.  Under the initiative local businesses with fewer than 200 staff can apply for up to $7,500 when they hire an unemployed person aged 18-24 requiring training.

This program is also good for businesses to build their team and talents to support growth.

Our Government is adding to the highly regarded and established Green Army and Work for the Dole programs which have been very useful for participants placed in government agencies and not-for-profit organisations.

A diverse and engaging array of work opportunities will be made available through a new National Work Experience Program. It enables Jobactive providers and Disability Employment Service providers to offer work experience for four weeks, for up to 25 hours per week.

A local program is Headspace by the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.   Headspace runs the Timebank program, where young people who might be detached from the mainstream or are living with emotional well- being challenges earn points for volunteering, which can be used for a range of fun activities. The most sought after reward is a work placement, and again we need local employer support to make this work.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence, at its Frankston hub and with the support of the US-based Citi bank Foundation, is delivering an innovative program Creating Futures for Youth, which supports vulnerable youth to transition to employment.  Local employer participation is key to securing employment outcomes.

I secured a Federal Government commitment of $800,000 toward the $1.2 million upgrade of The Mornington Youth Hub and Men’s Shed ‘tech annex.’ The facility will be a one-stop-shop youth hub for the northern Peninsula and see a safe and welcoming place created for young people to access available programs, services and support.

These facilities and programs are just some that provide fantastic opportunities for local youth, and I am working hard to nurture others which will help them reach their full potential.

I have been very encouraged by the positive response from the local chambers of commerce and their members when I have called for employers to offer work placement opportunities. These opportunities enable local young people and jobseekers to step up and show what contribution they can make to the workforce – it provides them a chance to shine.

Local employers wanting to support these various programs by offering work experience and placement opportunities should contact my office on (03) 9781 2333.

To view my speech, go to: bit.ly/MFDYouth


More information on local programs:

Training for Employment Scholarships: www.business.gov.au/youthstream

Creating Futures for Youth:                    www.bsl.org.au/services/young-people

Headspace, Frankston:                          http://headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/frankston/

Green Army:                                          www.environment.gov.au/land/green-army