Smart, Skilled and Hired

Youth employment program

Smart, Skilled and Hired helps young people and local businesses in NSW.

Young people can become work ready or kickstart a fulfilling career by connecting to training, mentoring, work experience placements, and other support to build their skills and experience.

Local businesses that provide opportunities for young people benefit from access to job-ready employees with the skills and training they need for their businesses.

The program is open to young people (15 to 24 years) and businesses in Western Sydney, the Central Coast and Hunter, New England/North West and the North Coast.

Download the Youth employment program fact sheet.

  1. Female apprentice

    Information for young people

    Our program is open to young people aged 15 to 24 years in Western Sydney, the Central Coast and Hunter, New England/North West and the North Coast.

  2. Electrician apprentice fixing switch

    Information for employers

    Employers who are interested in providing employment opportunities to young people are encouraged to register their interest with local service providers.

  3. Sticking Together Social Impact Bond

    Will support approximately 870 young people aged 18-24 years, with high barriers to employment, develop skills and capabilities to find jobs, and ‘stick’ in work for the long term.

Youth employment innovation challenge

The NSW Department of Industry and Department of Finance, Services and Innovation have launched the Youth Employment Innovation Challenge, which will offer $10 million to fund innovative solutions and ideas that help young people find employment in NSW.

The Challenge will provide financial and professional mentoring to develop these project ideas to a point where, if they prove viable, they can be rolled out or expanded in local communities. Funds will back viable new ideas or grow existing programs that are working well in local communities, which can be scaled up or used in other areas.

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.

Project next steps

Successful applicants have been shortlisted and pitched their ideas to a panel of judges.

As of 28 May, 17 pitch finalists will take part in an incubation program where they will undergo business-ready training with an experienced incubation partner, to develop their business models and ideas.

Finalists who successfully complete the incubation process will showcase their ideas later this year.

Find out more at Youth Employment Innovation Challenge

Download the Youth Employment Innovation Challenge fact sheet.

Disability Sector Scale-Up program

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is expanding across NSW and offers significant new economic, social and community opportunities. At full implementation, the NSW market will grow to an expected $6.8 billion.

The Disability Sector Scale-Up (DSSU) program aims to assist businesses, workers, and local communities with maximising economic opportunities from the NDIS rollout.

Based on stakeholder feedback and available evidence, DSSU focuses on specific areas such as rural and remote service delivery, culturally and linguistically appropriate support and untapped opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

For further information email

Building capacity in construction

The NSW Government is investing in infrastructure at record levels. This investment also provides an opportunity to boost the number of skilled workers in the construction sector and create fresh pathways to employment across the state.

We’re focused on improving the experience for people during construction training and apprenticeships to ensure more people complete their training and are ready and appropriately skilled to join the industry.

Smart, Skilled and Hired provides additional funding to support the Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program being delivered by Training Services NSW, through:

  • Intensive up-front training for apprentices to prepare them for construction placements on Infrastructure Skills Legacy demonstration projects
  • Support for apprentices and trainees to help improve the experience on the job and help boost completion rates for apprentices and trainees
  • Supporting Infrastructure Projects with a Project Officer at each Infrastructure Skills Legacy demonstration site – to assist in accessing existing Smart and Skilled training options, including core skills (literacy, numeracy) and workplace skills
  • Engagement and outreach programs to high school students regarding opportunities in the civil and general construction sectors.