Youth employment innovation challenge

The NSW Department of Industry launched the Youth Employment Innovation Challenge in March 2018 to fund innovative solutions and ideas that help young people find employment in NSW. The challenge is part of the Smart, Skilled and Hired program.

The challenge involved a pitch event and a 12-week incubation period, where participants underwent business-ready training with an experienced incubation partner, to develop and test their business models and ideas.

Twelve service providers have been awarded up to $750,000 each to deliver new ideas or grow existing projects that are working well in local communities.

The challenge will focus on youth unemployment hotspots, including the Central Coast/Hunter, Illawarra, North Coast, New England/North West, Southern Highlands/Shoalhaven and Western Sydney regions.

Successful service providers and projects

BackTrack Works will provide foundational welfare, education and skill development programs to support young people into jobs. The project will be delivered in the New England/North West region.

batyr will scale up its successful Being Herd workshops to create pathways to jobs for young people who have experienced mental ill health. It will be delivered in the Western Sydney, North Coast, New England/North West and Hunter/Central Coast regions.

Campbell Page’s HI AIMS program is aimed at young Aboriginal people in the Shoalhaven region. The program offers a collaborative approach to becoming job-ready by providing structured opportunities for coaching, mentoring and a safe place to connect with community.

Hactivate is an online platform that enables users to build skills in web development, game design, and animation to give them access to job opportunities in the digital economy. The platform will initially be delivered in the Northern Rivers area.

Home Care Heroes will train and recruit disengaged youth to provide companionship and non-medical services to people who are socially isolated due to age, disability, illness or injury. The project will be delivered in Western Sydney and Hunter/Central Coast.

Green Connect offers jobs, training and wrap-around support to young people in the environmental sector, running an organic farm and engaging in environmental repair. The project will be delivered in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands/Shoalhaven regions.

NSW Business Chamber’s Skillsroad will support and mentor young people through the Skillsroad journey and match them with employers and jobs. The project will be delivered in all six regions.

Neighbourhood Jobs is a social enterprise which employs local young people to do neighbourhood jobs such as mowing, cleaning, green waste removal and maintenance of social housing and private premises. It will employ young people from Western Sydney who have grown up in social housing or experienced homelessness.

Poultry Hub’s ‘Two Birds One Stone’ provides hands-on training and work experience to young people, connecting them with work opportunities in the poultry sector to help address entry-level skills shortages. The project will be delivered in the New England/North West region.

Test Pilot’s Designing Futures project helps young people identify and commercialise their creative talent to pursue a career in the creative industry. The program includes immediate employment, training in digital and industrial design and developing an individual portfolio. The project will be delivered in Western Sydney.

YEP Careers’ YEP11 with My Career Passport is an 11-module idea incubator that supports young people to develop job readiness skills and an entrepreneurial mindset, based on their passion. It targets 15-24 year olds on the North Coast who are at risk of dropping out of school or being long term unemployed and young parents.