Making education a priority in supported youth accommodation

We are focusing on education as well as establishing a mentoring program at Thyne House, Launceston. This facility provides affordable long-term housing for youth aged 16-25.

Our aim is to empower these students to develop their skills and talents, giving them hope for their futures. Education is the first step to independence. So we are assisting them gain tertiary or industry qualifications, or to get an apprenticeship. Our long term goal is for these students to go on to secure meaningful employment. And for them to eventually enter the private rental market.

The focus at Thyne House has transpired from our partnership with Communities Tasmania and the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Together we are implementing the Education First Youth Foyer Model in all youth accommodation facilities statewide.

The program coordinator at Thyne House, Lee Christmas, said young people were being encouraged to identify the career they’d like to pursue.

“Firstly, I ask them, what do you love doing?” said Lee. “Then I ask, what are you good at? Thirdly, I get them to identify what they can actually be paid to do. And finally I ask them to think about what our world needs – asking them about adding value to our community”.

From there, Lee is able to provide helpful information about education and work experience opportunities. “I take them through the steps to making their goal a reality,” he said.

This often starts with guiding students to work towards achieving the required literacy and numeracy standards to be competent to undertake a Certificate III or IV course at TasTAFE.

“These young people have generally had interrupted schooling because of the challenges they’ve faced in life,” said Lee. “But they do have skills and talents to offer. I emphasise to them they should not feel defined by not having finished school”.

A mentoring program with leaders in the Launceston business community was also recently launched. And it’s growing in momentum. Already two young people have been taken under the wings of mentors – with excellent results.

One young man with autism had been unable to obtain a job in his chosen field of aged care despite volunteering weekly. Since finding a mentor, he has secured employment in a nursing home.

And a young woman who aspires to be an automotive mechanic has been given the opportunity to visit Bathurst to volunteer in a pit crew with the charity project Car-reer.

If you’d like to find out more about being a business mentor or to register your interest Email Lee Christmas.

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