Engaging disengaged youth PART 2

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about being annoyed by the systems that ‘support’ youth who are disengaged.

And I mentioned I was going to do something about it.

So, here’s the update.

What I mentioned that I was going to do is create an opportunity for young people in my locale in the multimedia industry.  It was going to be EMPLOYER led and utilise the School Based Traineeship model.

So, on Tuesday I met with Liz Wilkins who is the Executive Officer of Youth Directions and Directions Plus.  Liz and her team are experts in the School Based Traineeship model and all of the little glitches that lie within in and like me she’s a big fan of the opportunities it can provide.

I’ve always found it difficult to understand why schools aren’t more supportive of the training model. Liz told me that it is an unnecessarily complex model in NSW.  Many school personnel and students do not understand the system or the potential career pathways for students.  It can be seen as ‘too hard’.  It is important for students and their parents who are interested to do some research of their own and learn how the program operates.   www.sbatinnsw.info

There can be challenges with the training for School-based trainees in relation to the location, structure and mode of delivery of the training (such as our case where there was an expectation that my trainee would drive 1hr each way to attend his training which had been agreed to be delivered at the workplace and in the end was).  Often employers don’t know the parameters that they can work within and end up with training that does not serve their needs and causes inconvenience as the student is taken out of the workplace for assessments that could just as easily be done onsite.

Liz suggests linking with the school and parents for some hearty conversations about the traineeship both before it starts and also throughout its duration.

“It’s really important that parents understand it’s a job and support their child to treat it in that way” says Liz who knows through first hand experience the importance of gently mentoring young people and their families through the traineeship process.

I told Liz that I really want the initiative to have an employer focus and that neither I nor the other businesses involved would have time to come together for endless meetings about ‘what next’.  So Liz suggested we put together a business breakfast which would compliment my online communication portal – much more convenient for all involved.

So… this is where we are up to:

Directions Plus will be the ‘group training organisation’ which will perform the role of employing at least six school based trainees.  Their role will be to engage schools, find out what training can be provided for students WITHIN the school system, and ensure the training course is eligible in terms of HSC requirements.  Through the traineeship Directions Plus will be responsible for being the employer, mentoring the students and providing that important link between student, school and the workplace.

It’s coming together… Will keep you posted.