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We've already helped 501 at risk and homeless youth find new skills, jobs and purpose. And that number keeps rising. That's some serious impact.

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We’re helping to make inroads on the high rate of youth unemployment in one of the state’s worst hit areas.

Outer suburbs like those reaching from Broadmeadows out to Craigieburn and Sunbury have a “silent epidemic” of young people facing long term unemployment. The youth unemployment rate is double and triple the rate for adults and for those living in inner city areas.

The lack of jobs, transport, and opportunities to get a start in the work force are among well know factors holding back the life chances of teens after leaving school, yet nothing much seems to change. And long term poverty and unemployment are huge risk factors for homelessness.

That’s where our team are fighting back and driving real change. Our Glenroy Youth Space in Hartington St is the centre of our operations that also includes teams in Sunbury and Craigieburn too.

We know young people leave school too early in this region, coming from households where there is already poverty, and no one who is currently in employment. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you care enough to step in and lend a hand.

Working with young people and local employers in a very personalised way is the key.

“Job opportunities don’t just fall from the sky” says Executive Manager at Youth Projects, Wendy Caspar.

“We get out of the office, into the neighbourhoods, the small and medium employers and discover the hidden job opportunities, often creating a job vacancy because employers open up to us about the needs they have and we can help solve skill shortages and employment needs.”

“As a youth designed, youth specific service young people feel a lot more at ease, respected and confident in laying out a plan for the future that is in their hands,” Wendy says.

“It’s a very tough job market for young people who are very discouraged by the stigma they feel and the need for experience that no one will actually give them.”

“What we know is that by really listening, by building up self confidence, the skills for jobs in demand, and overcoming fear and other barriers they may have we can make a huge impact on the future lives of hundreds of young people every year. It’s life changing because without our help there is such a high probability so many young people will remain jobless, living in poverty and really excluded from the community.”

Intervening early is vital because every step is harder the longer people remain unemployed and outcast. For now we’ll continue to help young people find a real start in life so they can go on to reach their potential.