The Illawarra and Shoalhaven have some of the highest youth unemployment numbers in New South Wales with an average unemployment rate of 11.7% – and as high as 17.6% – in some parts of the regions. Action4Agriculture is on a mission to address these frightening statistics and support our disadvantaged youth into agricultural careers. They will do this through a new program called ACTION4YOUTH and a grant received from the National Careers Institute.
In the first school term of 2023 ACTION4YOUTH’s EXPLORE-CONNECT-SUPPORT program will roll out in ten schools across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven that have identified a percentage of disadvantaged youth in their school population.
In addition, ACTION4YOUTH will be working with the youth-employment-focused Shoalhaven Community Investment Committee, led by Mission Australia and supported by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, to reach NEET (not in education, employment or training) youth and give them the same opportunities as those in mainstream education.
The EXPLORE phase of the program will introduce young people to the wool, dairy and fishing industries, connect them to Young Farming Champions (early-career professionals working in the agriculture sector), give them access to the Become Education app and facilitate personalised sessions with careers counsellors.
Those showing an interest in working on-farm/on-boat will progress to the CONNECT phase, which will connect them with businesses from wool, dairy and fishing for structured discussions on careers and career pathways in these industries.
The final phase – SUPPORT – will provide training and work experience over a six month period and give youth access to the Dale Carnegie Next Generation course, designed specifically to build and strengthen soft and life skills in order to give them the highest chance of career success.
Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP believes the ACTION4YOUTH program has the potential to make a real difference in the local community
“I am thrilled to support the ACTION4YOUTH program, which will provide young people in our community with valuable opportunities to explore the dairy, fishing and wool industries, connect with early-career professionals, and receive personalised career guidance. With the support of Become Education and key industry partners, I have no doubt that this program will make a real difference in the lives of our youth and help them achieve their full potential in dynamic and diverse careers right here on the NSW South Coast.” Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP
L-R Liv Pennie (CEO of Become Education ) Bronwyn Hilaire Bomaderry High School, Fiona Phillips MP, Holly Pastor Bomaderry High School, Danii Fordham Tocal College Alumni Officer
ACTION4YOUTH has partnered with Become Education to deliver 21st century careers advise and pathway creation, and to fill the void where schools do not have careers advisors.
“Research shows that young people have a narrow idea of the world of work. They can hold simplistic or outdated ideas of careers. Agriculture is a prime example of a dynamic, changing and diverse field that is open to students of all backgrounds and interests. Agriculture can offer engaging careers for those with specialty knowledge from engineering to agribusiness, plant and animal systems, logistics, ecology, production processes and technology – to name only a few,” Liv Pennie, CEO and Founder of Become Education says.
Even before its commencement ACTION4YOUTH has gained the attention of international stakeholders, including Chris Webb, careers consultant for England’s University of Huddersfield and host of the #WeAreCareers Show, who writes:
“For me, this is a brilliant way to empower young people with career management skills and support them and their parents/carers to navigate an increasingly chaotic world, as well as mitigate the sense of ‘information overload’ that we so often hear as careers professionals.”
Action4Youth’s key business connections are Australian Wool Innovation, Dairy Australia and Austral Fisheries.