ENGAGE is a youth philanthropy program of the Give Where You Live Foundation in partnership with Barwon Child, Youth & Family and Gforce Employment Solutions. The program educates and empowers young people age 15-25 years old in the G21 region to effect positive change, by identifying youth issues that are important to them and making grants to organisations working on these issues.
In 2017 ENGAGE worked with 12 diverse young people from across the region. Working with the partner organisations the young people identified an issue focus for the year (the causes of youth unemployment) and developed an application and review process to assist them in making grant recommendations to the Give Where You Live Board.
2017 Issue – The Causes of Youth Unemployment
Getting a job for today’s youth is much more challenging than it was for their parents or grandparents. Nationally more than 650,000 young people were unemployed or underemployed (defined as having some work but wanting more hours) in February 2017. (Generation Stalled: Young, Underemployed and Living Precariously in Australia, March 2017)
The Geelong region has been especially hard hit by this issue. Geelong is among the top 20 regions with the highest youth unemployment in the nation. (Australia’s Youth Unemployment Hotspots SNAPSHOTS, March 2016). In the last year alone, youth unemployment in the Geelong region has almost doubled shooting up to 9.9 per cent in the latest ABS figures — from 5.7 per cent at the same time last year. (Geelong Advertiser, June 28, 2017).
To compound this issue, unemployment is not experienced equally by all young people. At risk young people, including those with a disability, of aboriginal descent, with carer responsibilities, from low socio-economic communities and those who have dropped out of school are more likely to experience unemployment and for longer periods of time than their peers.
Many of these disadvantaged young people experience individual barriers to employment, such as drug and alcohol abuse, unstable housing or limited access to education or transport, that compound their risk of unemployment. (Fundamental Principals for Youth Unemployment, September 2015)
In December 2017 three grant awards were made:
Ardoch Youth Foundation ($5,000) – With this grant Ardoch will develop and pilot an 8-week in-term program on “How to get a part-time job” for secondary students aged 15-17. The program will provide practical, hands-on guidance from industry experts and employers of young people to develop employability skills needed to get a part-time job.
Whitelion ($12,000.00) – The Whitelion BEAP (Barwon Employment Assistance Program) will help young people aged 15-24 in the Geelong region who want to gain employment, however lack the supports to do so independently.
Diversitat ($13,000) – Employment Capacity Project builds understanding of employment practice in bilingual workers and nurtures capacity in young refugees. It addresses the current lack of awareness and inability to access job seeking resources and current employment networks and equips young refugees with the knowledge they need to access the Geelong job market.
For questions about the ENGAGE program or grants please contact Cynthia Scherer via email or phone (03) 5229-4364.