Building vibrant communities
Regional Australia has recognised the need to engage and empower local youth. One example can be found in Mildura, Victoria, where the Northern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network (NMLLEN) is working with local schools, government, community agencies and businesses to improve education and transition outcomes for young people, including increasing Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates.
“Our local programs Flexible Learning Options (FLO) Connect and FLO in Schools are having a significant impact on keeping 160 young people each year engaged in education, training or employment,” NMLLEN Executive Officer Ron Broadhead said.
“Since commencing in 2012, engagement rates having risen to 86% for these young people who would typically have become another NEET statistic.”
For its part, ANZ partners with the FRRR to deliver the Seeds of Renewal program. Now in its 15th year, Seeds of Renewal has supported hundreds of community-based, grassroots programs and initiatives, many of which have left a lasting legacy and created countless opportunities for economic diversification, transition and prosperity.
One such program comes from the NSW Leeton-based SteppinOut4Youth. In 2015, the community group received a Seeds of Renewal grant to support their SteppinUp and SteppinOut Skills Connection program which actively engaged local youth at risk of disengagement from the education system and sought to provide them with the opportunity to develop fundamental life skills which would prepare them for employment.
Driven by a committed group from SteppinOut4Youth and volunteer mentors, the program has seen students actively engaged in their work experience whilst establishing a strong professional relationship with their mentors.
As a result of the program nearly all of the participants have gained further employment or opportunities to continue their placements.
“Strong, diverse and vibrant regional and rural communities have been a cornerstone of our nation for generations,” Foundation for Regional and Rural Renewal Chief Executive Officer Natalie Egleton says.
“Now, at a time when economies and society are changing at unprecedented speeds, putting in place the right plans and actions to encourage youth engagement will be integral to ensuring our regional communities continue to flourish.”