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Youth Week 2024 – Celebrating our Youth!

Though observed at different times across our states in Australia, Youth Week provides an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the talents, achievements and contributions of young people to their community, country and the world around them. And there is plenty of cause to celebrate! Contrary to the often-negative attention young people receive in mainstream media, the next generation is doing some extraordinarily heavy lifting in an unprecedented time of history. This includes the impacts of COVID, the housing crisis, climate change and digital technologies.

Since the 1970s, The BUSY Group has been supporting young people—especially those who are marginalised—through education, skills and employment initiatives. Our current suite of programs and initiatives that empower young people in their career pathways include:

  • Transition to Work program, an Australian Government-funded program, helps young people who have left school early and are struggling to get a foothold in the workforce. It provides personalised support, work-ready skills, vocational training, work experience opportunities, connections to employers and ultimately, work placement.
  • The BUSY School (an initiative of The BUSY Group) offers an alternative education model for disengaged senior high school students. With eight campuses across Queensland and more to come, this highly successful model supports previously disengaged young people to complete high school and enter vocational career paths or go onto higher education.
  • Australian Apprenticeship Support Network services support young people in entering vocational career paths through learning and earning on the job with an apprenticeship or traineeship.
  • BUSY Health provides psychology and counselling services to young people experiencing barriers that include substance abuse, trauma and mental health conditions.
  • School Leaver Employment Supports – BUSY Ability NDIS support for young people living with disability to transition from school into the workforce.
  • Education and scholarship programs for school students. These programs encompass the rebate administration of school trips to Canberra (via the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate program); and Queensland Education Experiences that offer subsidised visits to the Great Barrier Reef and Outback Queensland. Both initiatives aim to enrich learning experiences for young people.
    Other scholarship programs include:
    • the Early Childhood Scholarships Program designed to encourage young people to enter early childhood education careers in Victoria;
    • the Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Young Australians providing educational scholarships for regional and marginalised youth to take up careers in skills shortages; and
    • the Commonwealth Regional Scholarship Program which offers scholarships to students from regional, rural and remote communities to assist with the costs of attending a boarding school.

Glen O’Keefe, General Manager of Youth and Community Services at The BUSY Group, believes when it comes to shifting societal perceptions of young people, many of us need to change the narrative.

“There are often deeply rooted, often-negative assumptions about young people with the current state of education disengagement, misleading media coverage about youth crime, and the effects of digital technology on youth. Unfortunately, this narrative only perpetuates negative stereotypes rather than focusing on the positive change that the next generation is driving.

“For instance, current indications suggest the traditional education model is failing young people. Rather than focusing on the problem and our ‘disengaged’ youth, reevaluating education models and offering alternatives like The BUSY School, is a positive solution that appears to be working well. Rather than focusing on the perceived problems and accepted narratives that portray young people as ‘the lost generation’, ‘at-risk’ or ‘disconnected’, driving change by focusing on solutions, and the opportunities that the next generation bring to the table, is a better way forward.

“This Youth Week we ask all community members to take time to focus on young people, in your home, the workplace, school and community. The next generation requires our assistance to become the trailblazers and leaders for tomorrow – it truly is our responsibility to support them as much as we can.”

Find out more about The BUSY Group Youth and Community Services commitment.

Find out more about Youth Week in your State or Territory.

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