National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide - A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways - Local to national

National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide - A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways - Local to national
National Youth
    Employment Body
    Practice Guide
    A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways –
    Local to national

The Brotherhood of St Laurence’s National Youth Employment Body
is funded by the Australian Government
National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide - A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways - Local to national
National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide - A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways - Local to national
National Youth
         Employment Body
         Practice Guide
         A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways –
         Local to national

The Brotherhood
         The Brotherhood
                  of St Laurence’s
                            of St Laurence’s
                                    National Youth
                                                      Youth Employment
                                                              Body     Body
is fundedis
             the Australian
                    by the Australian
National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide - A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways - Local to national
© Copyright is held by the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

First published in March 2020
Second edition published June 2020

This work is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for study or training purposes, or by
community organisations subject to an acknowledgment of the source and no commercial use or
sale. Reproduction for other purposes or by other organisations requires the written permission of
the copyright holder(s).

For more information on, or for a copy of, this Practice Guide contact:

Brotherhood of St Laurence
t +61 3 9483 1183
f +61 3 9417 2691

Luella Monson-Wilbraham with Sally James, Shelley Mallett, Emma Cull and Elle McLachlan

Jane Yule @ Brevity Comms

Svetlana Andrienko @ Studio Elevenses

Sourced from stock image libraries

For citation
Monson-Wilbraham, L. with James, S., Mallett, S., Cull, E. & McLachlan, E. 2020,
National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide: A guide to strengthening youth employment
pathways – Local to national, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Melbourne.

ii   National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide
Table of contents

Acknowledgments                                        iv     ⊲ Developing and implementing community-driven,
                                                                action-based solutions in place to improve
About this Practice Guide                              v        employment outcomes for young people, and
                                                                business and community                                               29
Abbreviations                                          vi         Case study 4: Developing action-based solutions
                                                                  in place                                                           30
Section 1: Why we need a National Youth                       Linking place-based responses to the national
Employment Body                                         1     agenda                                                                 31
The Brotherhood’s approach to addressing youth                ⊲ Fostering collaborative governance to develop
unemployment                                            3       innovative and systemic national solutions to
Working towards sustainable youth employment                    youth employment                                                     31
and meeting local workforce needs                       4         Case study 5: Influencing change: from local to
                                                                  national                                                           32
Context for reform and systemic change                  8
                                                              ⊲ Connecting knowledge across the youth
High-risk transitions for young people                  8
                                                                employment ecosystem to drive new
Marketised employment services system                   9       understanding and solutions                                          33

Systemic change – a coordinated national                          Case study 6: Listening to the voices of young
approach to youth employment                           10         people                                                             34
                                                              ⊲ Generating evidence to address youth
Section 2: Harnessing community                                 unemployment                                                         35
investment                                             11         Case study 7: Examining young people’s
An enabling organisation – building practice for                  pathways to employment                                             36
change                                                 12
                                                              Section 4: Tools and resources                                         37
National governance groups                             12
                                                              Resource A: National Youth Employment Body
Local Community Investment Committees                  14     Community Investment Committee Toolkit                                 39
Activating employers                                   16     Resource B: Community Investment Committee
Youth participation                                    16     employer champions of youth employment                                 40
                                                              Resource C: National Youth Employment Body
Section 3: The practice – How we are                          labour market scans                                                    42
working in place                                       17
                                                              Resource D: National Youth Employment Body
Building a shared vision in place to develop                  workshops                                                              44
sustainable youth employment pathways                  20
                                                              Resource E: National Youth Employment Body
⊲ Building collaboration and trust with community      20     pathways to employment                                                 46
   Case study 1: Connecting and working in new
   ways towards a shared vision for the Shoalhaven     21     Endnotes                                                               48
Embedding community-driven solutions in place          23
                                                              Appendix: National Youth Employment
⊲ Establishing local Community Investment                     Body – Theoretical underpinnings                                       51
  Committees                                           23
                                                              A focus on place                                                       52
   Case study 2: Mobilising critical stakeholders to
   bring about change in place                         26     Coordinated and coherent policy making                                 55
⊲ Enabling understanding of the local youth                   Aligned and active employer engagement                                 58
  employment landscape                                 28
                                                              Youth participation                                                    61
   Case study 3: Bringing together data and local
   knowledge to inform youth employment pathways       28     Enabling collaboration                                                 64

                                                              Summary of concepts guiding the NYEB                                   67

                                                            A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways – Local to national    iii

Content for the National Youth Employment                    We would also like to acknowledge and thank our National
Body Practice Guide was developed by the                     Youth Employment Body (NYEB) staff – Jay Sikorski,
Youth Team at the Brotherhood of St Laurence                 Jessica Brown and Edward Dunstan – for their important
                                                             contributions to the development of this Practice Guide.
(the Brotherhood) and informed by the
Brotherhood’s Research and Policy Centre.                    In addition, we would like to thank our partners at each of
                                                             the demonstration sites, members of local Community
The National Youth Employment Body (NYEB) model              Investment Committees (CICs), and in particular the three
draws on the evidence-informed youth transitions             Lead Partner organisations for their willingness to come
approach, developed and refined by the Brotherhood over      on the journey with us and share their expertise, local
the last decade, with its focus on enabling young people     knowledge, relationships and learnings along the way:
to build their capabilities for achieving a sustainable      + Mission Australia (New South Wales)
livelihood. This model has been applied across a number
of service systems through government-funded programs        + yourtown (Queensland)
and pilots, and in particular stepped out through practice   + Workskil Australia (South Australia)
frameworks for the Education First Youth Foyers and the
Transition to Work Community of Practice (TtW CoP).          We also acknowledge that the National Youth
                                                             Employment Body builds on the exceptional work of
The BSL team includes:                                       the following TtW CoP partners: Australian Community
+ Sally James (Head of Youth)                                Support Organisation and Schools Industry Partnership
                                                             (New South Wales); YouthWorx NT (Northern Territory);
+ Professor Shelley Mallett (General Manager, Research       Gen-Z Employment: Vocational Partnerships Group and
  and Policy Centre)                                         Workways (Queensland); Anglicare South Australia (South
+ Elmina Joldic (Senior Manager, Youth Transitions to        Australia); Colony 47 (Tasmania); Brophy Family and Youth
  Work)                                                      Services, and Workways with Berry Street (Victoria); and
                                                             Joblink Midwest (Western Australia).
+ Elle McLachlan (Service Development Manager, NYEB)
                                                             We also acknowledge the NYEB’s funding support from
+ Luella Monson-Wilbraham (Service Documentation             the Australian Government Department of Education,
  Officer, NYEB)                                             Skills and Employment and its collaboration on the
+ Emma Cull (Senior Manager Service Development and          NYEB model.
  Strategy, Youth)

+ Dr Joseph Borlagdan (Principal Research Fellow,
  Research and Policy Centre)

                      The National Youth Employment Body model draws
                     on the evidence-informed youth transitions approach,
                         developed and refined by the Brotherhood over
                                       the last decade...

iv   National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide
About this Practice Guide

This Practice Guide outlines the National                       This Practice Guide is intended as a tool for developing
Youth Employment Body model that will                           and implementing place-focused solutions that enhance
inform the development of a scalable national                   young people’s meaningful and sustainable participation
                                                                in the labour market. It is designed for local, state and
approach that both strengthens youth
                                                                national stakeholders across the employment system,
employment and meets local workforce needs.
                                                                including employment service providers, educators,
It has been developed by the Brotherhood of                     employers, community organisations and policy makers.
St Laurence, an independent non-government                      It is comprised of five sections as outlined here.
organisation with strong community links
that has been working to reduce poverty in                      Section 1: Why we need a National Youth
                                                                Employment Body
Australia since the 1930s.
                                                                To inform a coordinated and scalable national approach
Poverty is more than a lack of material resources. It often     to youth employment, the Australian Government
means being denied what most people take for granted:           Department of Education, Skills and Employment funded
a secure job, a home, a sense of valued inclusion and           the Brotherhood in 2018 to establish and coordinate the
connection to the wider community. Unprecedented                NYEB. The aim of the NYEB is to facilitate collaborative
social and economic change is accelerating economic             efforts that enable young people to secure decent work
insecurity and inequality for those facing disadvantage,        while addressing the needs of industry for a diverse and
and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the risk of           adaptable workforce.
more people falling into poverty and experiencing long-
                                                                Section 2: Harnessing community investment
term scarring from unemployment. The Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warns              The NYEB’s collaborative components enable critical
that ‘the short and medium-term impacts of COVID-19 will        stakeholders from multiple sectors to work together and
be particularly severe for the most disadvantaged and risk      develop flexible strategies to address youth unemployment,
compounding existing socio-economic divides’, especially        including employers and industry, youth employment
for young people.1                                              service providers, skills and training, government, research,
                                                                young people and key community organisations.
The right to inclusive work and to economic security are
key areas of the Brotherhood’s innovative approach to           Section 3: The practice – How we are working in place
addressing disadvantage in the labour market, which it
does through:                                                   The NYEB is working to foster collaboration that
                                                                empowers participants, communities and policy makers
+ Extensive employment-related research conducted with          to review and respond to youth unemployment in new and
  jobseekers, employers and service providers.                  innovative ways. In practice, the NYEB model enables a
+ Expertise in the development, delivery and                    place-based focus with national reach. Local communities
  real-time evaluation of active labour market programs         are supported to harness their expertise to co-develop
  particularly for those facing disadvantage.                   strategies to improve youth employment pathways,
                                                                and inform a national conversation on how to build the
+ Practice expertise that includes developing and               capabilities of young people and meet the needs of
  implementing a Youth Transitions model, to engage             employers in place.
  and sustain young people experiencing disadvantage in
  education, training and employment.                           Section 4: Tools and resources
+ Advocating and building knowledge of collaborative            The development of NYEB-tailored information and tools
  policy making, governance and co-design work in               support place-based approaches and link local to national.
  communities to address complex issues.                        These tools and resources are designed to help build the
                                                                capacity of NYEB Lead Partner organisations and other
The NYEB is building on the Brotherhood’s knowledge and
                                                                CIC members to drive the work of the NYEB locally, as
practice in this area to foster collaboration that empowers
                                                                well as to inform national stakeholders on approaches for
participants, communities and policy makers to review
                                                                strengthening youth employment.
and respond to youth unemployment in new ways. Now,
more than ever, support is needed for stakeholders from         Appendix: National Youth Employment Body –
multiple local and national sectors that influence youth        Theoretical underpinnings
employment to work together on flexible strategies for
structural change based on a commitment to place-based          The work of the NYEB draws on national and international
action, and ongoing learning of what works.                     evidence, and the concepts and approaches that support
                                                                good practice across the youth employment system.

                                                              A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways – Local to national   v

4IR                              fourth industrial revolution

Brotherhood                      Brotherhood of St Laurence

BSL                              Brotherhood of St Laurence

CICs                             Community Investment Committees

CoI                              Community of Interest

CoP                              Community of Practice

ILO                              International Labour Organization

ICT                              Information and Communication Technologies

NDIS                             National Disability Insurance Scheme

NERG                             National Employers Reference Group

NYEB                             National Youth Employment Body

OECD                             Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

READ                             Research, Evaluation and Design (Working Group)

RPC                              Research and Policy Centre (Brotherhood of St Laurence)

SAYE                             Shoalhaven Aboriginal and Youth Employment (Forum)

TAFE                             Technical and Further Education

TtW                              Transitions to Work

TtW CoP                          Transitions to Work Community of Practice

VET                              Vocational Education and Training

vi    National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide
Section 1
  Why we need
a National Youth
Section 1: Why we need a
National Youth Employment Body

Young people in Australia want to work.2                                         The key NYEB model components and practices needed
Unfortunately, too many of them feel like                                        to harness community effort and investments at a local
Lelani ‘that a future without financial                                          and national level are:
hardship is hard to achieve, or having a job                                     + An enabling organisation: to provide leadership that
that is rewarding is simply not meant for                                          drives and evaluates practice, strategies and collaborative
them...’                                                                           processes, and to share key learnings between local and
                                                                                   national governance groups and the community.

    … being a young person living alone trying to support                        + National governance groups: to link place-based
    myself independently, I felt trapped because I didn’t have                     employment, education and training responses to the
    the resources or finances to pursue education, or the work                     national agenda; to increase awareness of structural,
    experience to change from that area and apply for better                       policy and practice barriers to youth employment;
    positions. It felt like a hamster wheel of unemployment,                       and to inform policy design and investments in local
    job dissatisfaction and no way out… A lot of… employment                       employment, education and training opportunities.
    services solutions [don’t have] … the time to invest in a
                                                                                 + Local Community Investment Committees: to develop
    young person and give support to all their needs so they
                                                                                   cross-sector stakeholder relationships and community-
    can achieve long-term employment.
                                                                                   led trials that meet local employer priorities and
    — Lelani, female, aged 233                                                     enhance youth employment outcomes.

                                                                                 + Activating employers: to share expertise, co-design
To inform a coordinated and scalable national approach
                                                                                   work entry pathways, and to promote the benefits
to youth employment, the Australian Government
                                                                                   of investing in young people so they can realise their
Department of Education, Skills and Employment* funded
                                                                                   contribution to building productivity.
the Brotherhood of St Laurence in 2018 to establish and
coordinate the National Youth Employment Body. The aim                           + Youth participation: to contribute their expertise,
of the NYEB is to facilitate collaborative efforts that enable                     perspectives and experiences to maximise the
young people to secure decent work while addressing the                            effectiveness of the NYEB model in securing
needs of industry for a diverse and adaptable workforce.                           employment outcomes.
The Brotherhood understands that successful youth                                As the enabling organisation providing facilitative
employment outcomes must build enduring skills and                               leadership across the NYEB model, the Brotherhood is
capabilities in young people, while also resourcing                              well positioned to assist community and government
communities to provide opportunities for them to make                            in aligning the necessary efforts, expertise, sectors and
choices and progress towards meaningful and sustainable                          investments to support a more coordinated and coherent
employment. This can include studying for a career or                            approach to youth unemployment. The model will build
attaining a secure job that extends their skills and talents.                    on the Brotherhood’s non-competitive approach to service
                                                                                 delivery, deep engagement with national and international
Youth employment opportunities and outcomes cannot
                                                                                 research and evidence (discussed and summarised in the
be generated successfully by individual, community or
                                                                                 Appendix), and extensive experience in testing innovative
government efforts alone. They require a system-level
                                                                                 models and working collaboratively. This includes
response that pays equal attention to policy, program
                                                                                 supporting employment providers to move beyond an
design and practice-level drivers of youth employment
                                                                                 outcomes-driven practice focused on service delivery, to
                                                                                 fostering collaboration in the design and implementation
The NYEB seeks to multiply young people’s employment                             of youth employment solutions in place.
opportunities and outcomes through implementing a
                                                                                 Case studies presented in this Practice Guide reveal early
scalable national model that builds effective place-based
                                                                                 findings of how the NYEB is enabling a shared vision,
practice and solutions that are mutually beneficial to
                                                                                 embedding community-driven solutions, and linking place-
employers, the community, the local economy and young
                                                                                 based responses to the national agenda. Both the Practice
people themselves. The NYEB model will harness the
                                                                                 Guide and the work of the NYEB will continue to be
expertise and social resources of others to build a form
                                                                                 developed and updated in response to the learnings and
of ‘network capital’ across critical sectors of the youth
                                                                                 experiences of stakeholders as they work collaboratively
employment system to facilitate youth employment and
                                                                                 at local and national levels to improve employment
meet employer needs.
                                                                                 pathways for young people.

*	Formerly the Department of Jobs and Small Business at time of first funding in July 2018, and the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and
   Family Business from May 2019 to 1 February 2020.

2   National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide
Figure 1: Transition to Work Community of Practice model

          The TtW CoP model is currently being delivered in 12 communities around Australia by the Brotherhood and
          11 other community organisations. By bringing together the expertise of TtW employment service providers
                 into a collaborative effort to address youth unemployment, the model operates on two levels.

                               Local level                                                                      National level

    The model seeks to test the effectiveness of a new                                  The model seeks to test the effectiveness of a
    approach to service delivery through:                                               new approach to practice and policy development
    + A capabilities approach delivered in practice as
      Advantaged Thinking – to build motivation and                                     + Forming a TtW CoP among service agencies
      agency by working with young people according                                       using the Brotherhood’s TtW service model to
      to their talents and aspirations.                                                   develop and improve the service delivery model.

    + Evidence-based service offers – consisting of                                     + Engaging national employers and other
      activities and opportunities that equip young                                       stakeholders to harness community effort to
      people with the skills, experiences and networks                                    increase opportunities for young people.
      needed to plan their journey to work.
                                                                                        + Advocating to, and working with, government
    + Harnessing community effort to increase work                                        about issues affecting the delivery of TtW and
      opportunities – linking young people with local                                     youth unemployment more broadly.
      employers and other community stakeholders
                                                                                        + Evaluating the value of collaborative learning and
      by combining ‘supply side’ support with ‘demand
                                                                                          action, to capture impact and drive innovation.
      side’ interventions.

The Brotherhood’s approach to                                                       a sustainable livelihood.^ The concept of capabilities
addressing youth unemployment                                                       underlying much of this work is understood as the
                                                                                    freedom of an individual to make choices they value,
Young people experiencing disadvantage face multi-                                  and to have opportunities available in the community to
dimensional challenges to participation in mainstream                               achieve them.6 A capabilities-driven employment approach
social and economic life. They often lack the necessary                             thus enables young people to identify and advance their
resources, opportunities, or family and social networks                             aspirations, access and engage in real-world opportunities
that could support them to complete school and to                                   and realise their potential through sustained engagement
enter and remain engaged in decent employment.4                                     in education, training and work.
Those young people with early experiences of long-term
                                                                                    The Brotherhood’s understanding of what works has led
unemployment are also more likely to experience a
                                                                                    us to develop and deliver innovative practice in youth
‘scarring’ effect over their lifetime, with negative impacts
                                                                                    transitions and employment. This includes the delivery
on future health and wellbeing, such as lower earnings
                                                                                    of Transition to Work (TtW) employment services,# and
and higher job insecurity.5
                                                                                    convening the TtW Community of Practice (CoP) that
Over the past decade the Brotherhood has developed an                               brings the expertise of TtW employment service providers
evidence-informed youth transitions model for enabling                              across the country into a collaborative effort to address
young people to build their capabilities for achieving                              youth unemployment. The TtW CoP model is briefly
                                                                                    outlined in Figure 1 above.

^	This model has been applied in a number of service settings through government-funded programs and pilots, including: homelessness
   (the Education First Youth Foyers and associated sub-pilots); out-of-home care and leaving care (OoHC Developing Independence Pilot and
   the Better Futures Pilot); refugee settlement (the Youth Transitions Support Pilot); and the employment services sector through Transition to
   Work. Practice Guides in all areas are available upon request.
	The TtW service, which was announced in the 2015–16 Federal Government Budget, provides a distinct, youth-focused employment

  service that provides specialised, longer term support for 15–21 year olds at risk of long-term unemployment. This includes ‘intensive,
  pre-employment support to improve the work-readiness of young people and help them into work and/or education’. Australian Government
  Department of Employment 2017, Transition to Work Evaluation Strategy, Australian Government, Canberra, p. 1. Accessed 5 March 2020 at:

                                                                                 A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways – Local to national   3
Building community solutions to                           Working towards sustainable
connect our young people to jobs                          youth employment and meeting local
through COVID-19 and beyond                               workforce needs
A recent campaign produced by the TtW CoP                 Although the Brotherhood has generated evidence of
and the NYEB includes a video showcasing the              good practice in the delivery of services to young people,
experiences of young people, and employer                 the work of the NYEB aims to influence systemic change
champions who believe in young people, their              in the larger structures and conditions that make up
capabilities and the value they bring to the              the context of the wider system of employment. This
workplace and their community. The COVID-19               involves supporting services to work beyond the delivery
Snapshots video highlights the importance of              of programs by furthering their engagement with the
community-led solutions to address the impacts            community to work together in new ways.
of COVID-19 on young people’s transition to
                                                          The role of the Brotherhood is to provide collaborative
employment. For although ‘everything has gone
                                                          leadership and coordination of the NYEB model. It does
downhill’ due to the pandemic, the young people
                                                          this by bringing critical stakeholders together and building
supported by TtW providers remain focused on a
                                                          their capabilities to harness community investment
better future and ‘cannot wait to go back’ to work.7
                                                          at a local and national level to co-develop solutions,
COVID-19 Snapshots demonstrates how the NYEB              and collate evidence of the key elements required for a
and the national TtW CoP are able to provide              coordinated national approach to youth employment.
opportunities for young people to enter the labour        Critical stakeholders of the youth employment ecosystem
market, and stay connected through this global            include employers and industry, youth employment service
pandemic. In the video:                                   providers, skills and training, government, local council,
                                                          research, young people and key community organisations
+ Young people share their stories of how TtW
                                                          in place (see also Figure 6, pp.24–5). The components
  has supported them on their learning and
                                                          and practices that drive this collaborative approach to
  employment pathways: ‘It’s my first job ever… I’m
                                                          systemic change in youth employment are outlined in the
  very proud of myself… now I can set some goals
                                                          NYEB Theory of Change (see Figure 2, pp.6–7).
  for my future’.

+ Employer champions of young people share how
  they are working with local employment service
  providers, training and skills providers and other
  employers: ‘To ensure that young people are not

+ Members of Community Investment Committees
  share how they are linking the local to the
  national at this crucial time: ‘To influence better
                                                          ... bringing critical stakeholders
  outcomes based in our local situation’.8                together and building their
                                                          capabilities to harness community
                                                          investment at a local and national
                                                          level to co-develop solutions...

                                                        A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways – Local to national   5
Figure 2: National Youth Employment Body Theory of Change

    Impact                    The NYEB informs the development of a coordinated and coherent national approach to youth

    Long-term                 1	Local place-focused solutions to youth participation and local workforce needs developed by local and
    systemic                     national stakeholders that maximise the flow, alignment and effectiveness of national and State-based
                                 resources and investments in place

                              Locally developed solutions to youth unemployment         Coordinated and coherent policy making leads
                              add value to local efforts, and inform government         to more flexible funding arrangements, incentives
                              investments in place, and over time contribute to         and accountability for sectors and services
                              inclusive and sustained economic growth                   to work together to share learnings, create
                                                                                        employment opportunities and drive innovation
                                                                                        in place

    Progressive               Innovative solutions to youth unemployment are            Increased awareness of structural, policy and
    outcomes                  realised through employment-related projects              practice barriers impeding youth employment
                              developed by local CICs, demonstrating the potential      in local areas inform collaborative processes,
                              of cross-sectoral collaboration to positively impact      policy design and investments that enhance
                              employment pathways and the quality of local              local opportunities and innovative solutions to
                              workforce, and inform national policy making              youth employment

    Mechanisms                Establishing a CIC based on common purpose,               Collaboration and knowledge exchange between
                              trust, engagement with data and evidence, and             local and national participants links policy and
                              a commitment to act enables sharing of diverse            practice
                              perspectives and expertise to develop solutions to
                              address local barriers to employment

                              Local Community Investment Committees                       National Governance Groups

    Activities                Each CIC works together to build intentional              Facilitate knowledge exchange and cross sectoral
                              relationships and share expertise and efforts             collaboration that connects to local contexts

    Stakeholders              Employers, industry, education and training providers,    NYEB Advisory Group, Cross-Government
                              employment service providers, councils, community         Community of Interest (CoI), Working Groups,

    Outputs                   Community-led projects that meet local priorities and     Multi-sector perspectives and engagement at
                              aspirations for youth                                     local and national levels informs government
                                                                                        decision making and investments

    Problem                   Local stakeholders and efforts to improve youth           National policies and programs to address youth
                              employment opportunities are not aligned, do not          employment and social and economic development are
                              reflect diverse stakeholder interests, nor systemically   not designed across relevant government departments
                              inform national policy                                    nor informed by what is happening in place

    Assumptions               Focusing on place and building the capacity of key        Collaborative approaches to policy making,
                              stakeholders in a community to work together to           governance and commissioning will bring
                              define and address common local priorities will lead      together traditionally siloed sectors and
                              to the development of innovative local initiatives        stakeholders to better understand the interrelated
                              that build the capabilities of young people and their     parts of the employment system and design
                              communities, and can inform the conditions required       policy that gives local communities autonomy
                              to promote sustainable inclusive growth                   to innovate and adapt, rather than compete for

6     National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide
It does this by enabling key stakeholders to work collaboratively across local and national levels to invest in employment pathways that
align with both the aspirations and capabilities of young people; and the needs of local employers.

  Young people’s participation in the labour market is enhanced              3	Local employers and industries invest in shaping local
  through innovative local initiatives that span both supply and                workforces and removing policy, social and material
  demand side approaches                                                        infrastructure barriers to employment pathways for young
                                                                                people and job creation

Critical stakeholders from multiple sectors            Employers are actively invested in the             Young people are valued as experts
that influence youth employment are supported          design of policy and programs that align           of their own lives and are active
to work together to develop flexible strategies        education and training, employment                 contributors to solutions and change
for structural change, based on local evidence,        services and industry objectives to
commitment and ongoing learning of what                workforce needs, and the aspirations and
works for employers, community and young               needs of young jobseekers, in the short and
people                                                 long term

The interconnected relationships, conditions           Employers value young people’s                     Young people experience multi-
and practices that build capabilities and work         capabilities and potential contribution to         sectoral support to make meaningful
pathways for young people in place are shared          their business and, with multi-sectoral            contribution to the design and
with NYEB governance groups, and learnings             support, create opportunities for entry            implementation of policy and programs
are documented, adapted and applied in                 level pathways for young people through            to improve youth employment pathways
different communities across Australia                 tailored recruitment and induction practices

Facilitation and evaluation of strategies,             Platforms and practices are created across         Platforms and practices are created
collaborative processes, research and sharing          the NYEB network for employers to share            across the NYEB network for young
of key learnings between local and national            knowledge of how to strengthen work entry          people to share their experiences and
governance groups and the wider community              pathways and promote the benefits of               contribute to decision making at local
builds evidence of what works and potential for        investing in young people                          and national levels to ensure actions and
adaptation                                                                                                strategies are fit for purpose

An Enabling Organisation                                 Activating Employers                                Youth Participation

Align NYEB components through coordination,            Facilitate employer collaboration and              Engage young people to contribute their
service development, research and evaluation,          contribution to policy and practice in youth       expertise, perspectives and experiences
training and support                                   employment, education and training                 across all levels of the NYEB

NYEB Advisory Group, CoI, Working Groups,              Employers, government, employment                  Young people, employers, NYEB
demonstration sites, CICs                              service providers and industry groups, local       governance groups and Working Groups

Facilitate information flow between NYEB               Employers are engaged in local initiatives         Young people are participating in
components; document and share evidence of             that build and utilise the capabilities and        co-developing solutions to youth
key elements and processes to drive learning           skills of young people                             unemployment
and policy impact

Lack of facilitative leadership and an authorising     Employers are not able to systematically           Young people’s voice and experiences
environment to bring together diverse sectors,         contribute to efforts that mutually benefit        are not valued or reflected in the design
expertise and efforts to improve young people’s        the demands of industry and the capabilities       and support of their capabilities and
transitions into employment                            and work pathways of young people                  work pathways

Diverse sectors across communities and                 Engaging employers in the development              Young people’s active contribution to
levels of government need to work together             of employer-orientated solutions to local          strategy design and decision-making
to build investment in young people as they            youth employment initiatives will drive            will build capabilities, expectations and
transition between employment, education and           collaboration with other sectors and               sustainable work pathways for young
training. Facilitating collaboration to build trust,   government, to aid both the supply and             people and the wider community
interdependency and accountability will create         demand sides of skills development and
opportunities to share and develop new ways of         opportunities that mutually benefit young
thinking and doing                                     people and local economies

                                                                             A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways – Local to national   7
Context for reform and systemic change                            High-risk transitions for young people
Australia, along with other countries, is navigating a            Many young Australians are finding it difficult to enter the
period of significant social and economic change that             labour market, and those who do often find themselves
is impacting the future of work. It is largely agreed that        in highly insecure, low skilled and poorly paid work. In
changes in the modern labour market are the result of four        October 2019 the national rate of youth unemployment
megatrends: globalisation, climate change, technological          was 12 per cent, representing more than 265,000 young
change and demographic shifts such as population                  Australians, with 18 per cent of those unemployed having
growth, ageing and mobility.9 Challenges inherent in these        looked for work for a year or more.14 This will only worsen
changes are being experienced alongside natural disasters         as the world scrambles to deal with the economic fall-
and the COVID-19 health crisis, with predicted long-              out from the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Grattan
term negative impacts on local and national economies             Institute, for instance, warns that ‘younger generations
and employment, especially for those already facing               are among those hardest hit by the economic costs of
disadvantage.10                                                   COVID-19… and will also bear the long-term costs of a
                                                                  severe and prolonged recession if government support is
Everyone looking for employment is impacted by these
                                                                  not forthcoming’.15
economic and labour market changes, but new risks
and opportunities will not be distributed equally across          Risks inherent in the changing economy were
society, especially for those young people with limited           compounded for young people even before the pandemic
work experience or work-readiness skills.11 Technological         due to their life stage, as evidenced by:
change, for example, which has been dubbed the fourth
                                                                  + A decline in entry-level positions in areas that have
industrial revolution (4IR), has the potential to increase
                                                                    traditionally employed the young, and the displacement
productivity and generate more meaningful jobs. However,
                                                                    in the labour market of young people experiencing
it also poses risks without accompanying change to skill
                                                                    disadvantage by those more advantaged now
development that aligns with jobs growth, social support,
                                                                    occupying these low-skilled jobs.
and regulation to support the adoption and fair use of
technology.12                                                     + An increasingly insecure and casualised workforce,
                                                                    typified in the low-paid or seasonal work of the Gig
                                                                    economy, leaving workers underemployed with limited

Figure 3: Global trends in the future of work13

                         )                G
                      4IR             geo loba
                   gy(                   po                                       + The future of jobs (loss of existing
                 lo                        lit
                                                 lis l ch

                                                                                    jobs, creation of new ones, raising of


                                                                                    the skills bar)


                                                                                  + Their quality (increasing

                                                                                    casualisation, insecurity, Gig


                                                                                  + Wage and income inequality (the
                                                                                    working poor)

                                                                                  + Social protection





           ig         hi                                  c
                            cs                                                    + Industrial relations

                ra                                    e
                     ti o                        at
                            n)          C li

8   National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide
+ The distribution of work with most growth in inner              Young people transitioning from school to work are still
  urban areas, poor housing affordability, and low benefit        developing identities, self-confidence and directions in life,
  rates for income support, which all impact the mobility         and many are uncertain about their vocational aspirations
  of young people in the labour market.                           and options. These issues are often compounded for
                                                                  those experiencing disadvantage who face a range of
+ The global shift to a knowledge economy and a highly
                                                                  challenges – such as negative experiences of schooling,
  qualified workforce has seen a decline in workplace
                                                                  low language literacy and numeracy skills, unmet health
  training and expectations that young people come
                                                                  and wellbeing needs, or limited social capital – which
  to employers already able to be fully productive
                                                                  places them at significant risk of being shut out of
                                                                  education and training and, ultimately, excluded from the
The shift towards a knowledge economy has seen a                  labour market.
renewed focus on the critical role that education and, in
particular, Vocational Education and Training (VET) have
                                                                  Marketised employment services system
in equipping people with the capabilities they need for
the workforce of the future. As research by the National          Unemployment in Australia is largely addressed
Centre for Vocational Education Research notes:                   through an externalised and marketised employment
                                                                  services system that is premised on the assumption
   Vocational education and training… is a stepping stone
                                                                  that competition between outsourced providers results
   for many into further education, training and work. It
                                                                  in increased efficiency, effectiveness and innovation
   is also an essential tool for tackling a range of barriers
                                                                  in employment service delivery.20 However, research
   to workforce participation, which include long-term
                                                                  suggests that competition across human service delivery,
   unemployment, early school leaving, low literacy or
                                                                  including employment services, often leads to increasingly
   numeracy skills, and the need to retrain or upskill. As a
                                                                  homogenous services with tight contract management
   result, VET is a fundamental contributor to productivity,
                                                                  and compliance regimes that hinder providers’ flexibility to
   workforce development and social inclusion.16
                                                                  respond to the needs of service users, especially the most
Projected growth occupations requiring a VET qualification        disadvantaged.21
provide potential pathways to employment for many                 Unintended consequences of competition also include
young people, including personal and child carers,                the erosion of service and workforce social capital,
education aides, ICT support technicians, plumbers and            collaboration and sharing of good practice between
electricians.17 Young people experiencing disadvantage            providers at the local level. Working to a contract places
make up a significant proportion of the VET population,           providers in direct rivalry when leveraging opportunities
although poor completion rates are an ongoing problem in          and building relationships with local employers and other
the sector. Recent data show that only 40–60 per cent of          community networks vital to achieving employment for
those who enrol in VET go on to attain their qualification,18     young people. As a consequence, few employers source
and in 2013 only about 33 per cent of VET completions             their workforce from government-funded employment
obtained work in the occupation associated with their             programs.22
qualification.19 This means that higher enrolments and
completion rates in more relevant training are required           Despite a plethora of State- and Territory-targeted
to ensure a flow of suitably qualified workers to meet            employment programs, the Federal Government remains
projected demand.                                                 the main architect and procurer of the employment service
                                                                  system. However, responsibility for the delivery of active
In addition to recent Australian Government measures to           labour market programs is distributed across the country
strengthen the VET sector, including support for career           at the local service level.23 This leaves the government
advice and skills achievement under the Skills Package            with a limited view of what is happening in practice,
announced in the 2019–20 Federal Budget, preparing                and unduly reliant on administrative data to understand
young people for lifetime transitions in a fast-changing          provider performance and employment outcomes, thereby
workforce will require a coordinated effort between all           inhibiting the capacity for policy or program development
levels of government, VET providers, industry and the             or improvement for the duration of contracts.24 When
community.                                                        the government’s role is limited to narrow contract
                                                                  management, rather than market stewardship, the public
                                                                  sector has limited capacity to leverage the expertise and
                                                                  social, intellectual and cultural capital of community-
                                                                  embedded providers.

                                                                A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways – Local to national   9
In turn, providers are not encouraged to engage in               Systemic change – a coordinated
transparent reporting to government about their                  national approach to youth employment
challenges or what enables successful local adaptation
and implementation of services.25 Neither are they               Youth unemployment cannot be reduced to individual
supported to leverage public sector knowledge and                factors alone; it is also a consequence of structural
expertise about the dynamics of the national employment          issues in the labour market, compounded by institutional-
services system, the shape of the labour market and the          level arrangements such as the commissioning and
range of effective policy levers for reform.                     governance of training and employment services. To
                                                                 influence the future of work, change needs to occur across
Until recently, government-led changes to the employment
                                                                 all interacting levels of the system. The International
services system have focused on increasing welfare
                                                                 Labour Organization (ILO), for example, has been
conditionality, tighter eligibility criteria for services, and
                                                                 calling for more diverse forms of collaboration to co-
stronger mutual obligation requirements (including non-
                                                                 produce an effective response to youth unemployment
compliance penalties) for jobseekers.26 These shifts reflect
                                                                 with government, providers, business, community and,
deeply held assumptions by some policy makers and
                                                                 importantly, young people themselves.30
governments that individuals are partially, if not wholly,
responsible for their unemployment and, subsequently, for        A coordinated approach to youth employment requires a
gaining employment.                                              systemic response that leverages diverse expertise by:

A recent review of the successive iterations of the current      + Bringing together critical stakeholders from
employment services system – Job Network, Job                      multiple sectors and levels (governance, leadership,
Services Australia and most recently jobactive – revealed          management through to practice) and mobilising
positive outcomes for some groups of jobseekers.                   their expertise to develop coordinated and flexible
However, it also revealed that the one-size-fits-all model         policy and strategies based on local evidence and
is not delivering for cohorts facing complex barriers to           ongoing learning.
finding work, and recommended an ‘increased focus and
                                                                 + Investing in a place-based focus with national
investment in job seekers who need the most help’,27
                                                                   reach that enables local innovation and adaptation of
including young people.
                                                                   employment pathways to meet both the aspirations
In recognising this, the Australian Government has                 and capabilities of young people and the needs of local
invested considerable resources and effort into                    employers.
addressing youth unemployment, most notably through
                                                                 + Supporting organisations to expand their practice
the Youth Employment Strategy, and expanding eligibility
                                                                   approach and develop intentional community-facing
for the Transition to Work employment service from
                                                                   partnerships to build sustainable employment,
21 to 24 years of age in the 2019–20 Federal Budget.28
                                                                   education and training outcomes.
The design and commissioning of the TtW service marks
a significant step towards addressing a number of the            + Encouraging employer investment in shaping local
systemic issues experienced by successive mainstream               workforces by designing policy and programs that
employment services.29                                             mutually benefit young people and industry.

                                                                 + Enabling young people to share their expertise and
                                                                   experiences and contribute to decision making at local
                                                                   and national levels.

                                                                 + Driving reform by building and utilising robust data
                                                                   sources and evidence-based key elements to inform
                                                                   flexible service and policy design, processes and
                                                                   investment that effect positive change.

10 National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide
Section 2
Section 2: Harnessing community investment

The NYEB’s collaborative components enable                 An enabling organisation – building
critical stakeholders from multiple sectors to             practice for change
work together and develop flexible strategies
                                                           The NYEB is supported by the Brotherhood to act as the
to address youth unemployment, including
                                                           enabling organisation, providing facilitative leadership to
employers and industry, youth employment
                                                           drive work to support participants to co-develop flexible
service providers, skills and training,                    employment strategies (including education and training),
government, research, young people and key                 document and share local and national learnings, and
community organisations.                                   inform coordinated and coherent policy making to improve
                                                           youth employment pathways and outcomes in place.
Effective collaboration that delivers strong outcomes      The NYEB’s enabling role involves:
is funded on high trust, and fosters interdependent
relations and commitment to accountability that creates    + Establishing and managing a local and national
opportunities to not only share information but ‘develop     governance structure, to connect local and national
new ways of thinking and behaving, form new types of         knowledge and innovative ideas to improve youth
relationships and be willing to make changes in existing     employment pathways.
systems of operation and service delivery’.31              + Building local capacity to co-develop local solutions,
The NYEB focuses on harnessing community investment          through utilising the Brotherhood’s on the ground
across a local and national level, through:                  knowledge of service delivery to better support and
                                                             walk alongside local employment service providers,
+ An enabling organisation                                   employers and other critical stakeholders to develop
+ National governance groups                                 enduring relationships and practice in place.

+ Local Community Investment Committees                    + Resource development, including tools and resources,
                                                             governance and operational processes and the NYEB
+ Activating employers                                       website.
+ Youth participation.                                     + Training and knowledge translation of the NYEB model
                                                             and practice approach via site visits to organisations,
                                                             facilitated workshops and forums.

                                                           + Collation and utilisation of community expertise,
                                                             data and evidence to inform all aspects of the model,
                                                             through ongoing research and evaluation.

                                                           + Facilitating the documenting and sharing of learnings
                                                             to build a national platform of knowledge, and inform a
                                                             coordinated national approach to youth employment.

                                                           National governance groups
                                                           The NYEB has established the National Advisory Group
                                                           and expert Working Groups, and the Federal Cross-
                                                           Government Community of Interest Group, to provide
                                                           expertise and collaborative governance at the national
                                                           level. Enabling collaboration at a national level aims
                                                           to maximise investment in place – the investment of
                                                           expertise, funding and alignment of activities to avoid
                                                           duplication of effort – to inform national policy and
                                                           practice across the sectors that impact employment.

12 National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide
NYEB Advisory Group                                            Skills and Training Working Group

The Advisory Group provides high-level strategic               The Skills and Training Working Group provides expertise
guidance and expertise to the NYEB from multi-sector           and advice on the design and implementation of good
representatives across industry, research, employment,         practice in education and training that builds the skills and
education and training, Aboriginal and Torres Strait           capabilities of young people, and mutually benefits local
Islander partnerships, unions and government. Advisory         industry and economic development by its relevance to
Group members leverage their particular expertise and          current and future job opportunities.
networks to advocate for and support the work of the           The Group focuses on ways to: increase flexibility within
NYEB, including to:                                            schools and the post-secondary ecosystem to test
+ Contribute to the development of innovative responses        training offers that align with local workforce; and build
  to existing and emerging challenges identified in            local governance for driving innovation and streamlining
  demonstration sites.                                         access to employment training and services.

+ Bring different sectors together to deepen                   Youth Alliance Working Group
  understanding of local issues and connection to
                                                               The NYEB leverages the Transition to Work Community of
  national policy and context.
                                                               Practice Youth Alliance Working Group, convened by the
+ Advise on the creation of new training and employment        Brotherhood to provide a platform for the voices of young
  opportunities that will mutually benefit young people        people impacted by unemployment. The Youth Alliance
  and employers in place.                                      Group enables young people at a local organisation level
                                                               to advise on the development of resources, how to share
+ Support the role of the Community Investment
                                                               learnings, and how to connect with young people in
  Committees and advise on action-based plans.
                                                               meaningful ways.

Expert Working Groups                                          The NYEB will support the expansion of the Youth Alliance
                                                               to become a national voice for young people, to gain
The Advisory Group’s oversight of the strategic direction      insight and advice on how initiatives can better support
of the NYEB is assisted by a series of expert Working          those experiencing unemployment or facing challenges on
Groups that focus on specific areas in youth employment        their learning and employment pathways.
to provide advice on the work at demonstration sites; and
provide a national response to regional themes and issues      Research, Evaluation and Design Working Group
identified through local collaboration.                        The Research, Evaluation and Design (READ) Working
                                                               Group (formally the Service Design Working Group)
National Employers Reference Group
                                                               provides expert input into the design, implementation
The Transition to Work National Employers Reference            and refinement of evidence informed service models for
Group (NERG) convened by the Brotherhood, acts as the          moving young people into sustainable work, both locally
employer’s working group for the NYEB. Employers from          for each NYEB demonstration site and for national scale.
around the country provide advice on how to co-develop
                                                               The READ Working Group is working on ways to improve
better work opportunities and industry links to the wider
                                                               access to relevant national and local data and evidence
employment system, such as with education, training and
                                                               that will enable key stakeholders in place to plan,
                                                               navigate and respond to regional themes. The Group
The work of the NERG has been extended to actively             also collaborates with the Brotherhood’s Research and
engage employers in supporting the development of              Policy Centre to conceptualise outcome and impact
local employer-orientated youth training and employment        measurement tools for testing the NYEB model.
strategies across demonstration sites, government policy
and employment initiatives, and further collaboration with
the NYEB and young people.

                                                             A guide to strengthening youth employment pathways – Local to national 13
Cross-Government Community of Interest                         The NYEB focuses on adding value to local mechanisms,
Group                                                          on-the-ground expertise and existing community
                                                               connections within demonstration sites. It supports the
The Cross-Government CoI Group aims to maximise and            Lead Partner organisations to engage local stakeholders,
more closely align existing programs and investments           including employer champions willing to invest in young
in youth employment, and to integrate efforts towards          people’s capabilities, create opportunities for them to
a more coordinated policy approach. The CoI Group              participate in the workforce, and advocate for inclusive
is facilitated by the NYEB and coordinated by the              workplaces across their networks. In this way, the NYEB
Department of Education, Skills and Employment, to             supports local stakeholders to share knowledge and
bring together representatives from Federal Government         discuss how they can work collaboratively to enable
departments involved in youth employment pathways,             innovation that builds employment pathways and the
such as Education and Training, Infrastructure, Social         economic development of their community.
Services, and Indigenous and other policy areas of the
                                                               A local CIC is established at each demonstration site
Prime Minister and Cabinet.
                                                               as a critical collaborative mechanism to recognise the
The sharing of information and findings from the               context of place and harness local capabilities and effort,
NYEB’s demonstration sites into the CoI Group deepens          while building and sustaining local governance and
understanding of local issues and connection to national       action beyond program and political cycles. The CICs are
policy. Linking national to local also provides insight into   coordinated by the Lead Partner organisation and led
how to address blockages and establish flexible funding        by local champion employers, bringing together critical
and incentives for collaboration in youth employment           stakeholders from employment services, education and
pathways.                                                      training, employers, government, local council, young
                                                               people and community organisations in place. Critical
                                                               stakeholders bring knowledge of, and connection to,
Local Community Investment
                                                               existing State and Federal Government programs
Committees                                                     operating in the region, links to support and training
                                                               organisations, and experience of what brings value to
The NYEB is harnessing community investment locally
                                                               young people and economic development in place.
by developing strong community relationships and
establishing Community Investment Committees to                The CICs work to share this diverse local knowledge;
provide a central community-owned mechanism for                leverage community support and partnerships to
coordinating and building solutions to address youth           understand barriers to youth employment; and identify and
unemployment in place.                                         co-develop opportunities and action-based plans that add
                                                               value to work already taking place in the community.
The NYEB has established initial demonstration sites
to test the NYEB model for scalability in the areas for        The scaling of CICs to further sites experiencing high
scalability. These sites are in the areas of Logan in          youth unemployment is planned, as is alignment with
Queensland, the northern region of Adelaide in South           similar initiatives to avoid duplication of efforts. CICs are
Australia, and the Shoalhaven region in New South Wales,       also in a position to become a central local mechanism for
through a partnership with a local youth employment            information and coordination of place-based strategies,
service provider as the NYEB Lead Partner organisation         programs and investments for all stakeholders of youth
in each region. Working agreements with Lead Partners          employment in the local community.
outline work towards a shared vision of a nation where all
young people can realise their aspirations and potential
through engagement and participation in meaningful and
sustainable work.

14 National Youth Employment Body Practice Guide
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