Jobs for African Youth Program

The Jobs for African Youth Program seeks to address the issue of youth disengagement and unemployment by equipping young people with the tools, resources, and skills needed to identify a career path that matches their strengths and interests while also finding suitable employment and training opportunities.

While the initial goal of the program was to get young people into employment, it became clear that there were many complexities involved including substance abuse, mental health issues, family breakdown, unstable housing, and incarceration or other involvement with the criminal justice system. To address these interconnected issues we have been referring to other organisations, providing extra support, and understanding that for many youths, transitioning into the workforce is an ongoing process that requires collaboration and patience.

Since starting the program in 2023, we have seen a significant increase in numbers, with almost 50 young people engaging with the program. The program has proven to be successful with over 85% of those who have exited the course getting either a job or enrolling in study (e.g. Uni, TAFE, apprenticeship, etc) or both. While these tangible outcomes remain a primary goal, there are other ways to measure the success of the program such as an increase in confidence, employability skills, reliability, and the willingness to address the other interconnected issues.

While they may have exited the program, we still offer ongoing support, and some have returned to the program after being unable to maintain employment or facing further challenges. For example, one participant who joined after being released from prison ended up incarcerated again. However, in the last month he was released and has been back to the program.

Most importantly the feedback from the youth themselves has been positive as demonstrated in the following quotes and messages:

“The program has helped me stay motivated and focus on my employment goals.”

“Thank you for not giving up on me when I was being very hardheaded.”

Vanessa has provided me with the most exceptional support in the past year. She has been on a long journey with me in hunt for a permanent job and going   back to school. Vanessa also checks on my well-being and progress and doesn’t give up even when I feel discouraged. I want to thank the program for introducing people like Vanessa to help the youth, they make a difference to the world”.

“I loved everything about the program especially how patient and helpful they were. It was fun but also taught me new skills that I didn’t know about before”.

“This program has provided me with invaluable support in helping me secure a position at the Department of Communities and Justice. It’s equipped me with essential employment skills and how to formulate a more professional resume and cover letter. Vanessa and Fiona actually introduced me to the STAR method of interview questions which I ended up needing in my interview, so that was a score! I love the personal approach they take, centred on my goals. Having my best interest at heart, the program has helped me take the first steps into my career journey”.

“Thanks so much, I couldn’t have done it without you”.

“Thanks for not judging me based on our first interaction but being patient with me until I was comfortable”.