COVID-19 is a generation-defining moment for young people, which will have a disproportionate, long-term impact on young people’s lives.
A coalition of youth services led by Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) has secured $6.77 million from the Working for Victoria Fund to create new jobs to help address the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of young Victorians.
Members of the coalition include Youth Support Advocacy Service (YSAS), Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY), Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare (CFECFW), Brophy Family & Youth Services, Whitelion Youth Agency, Primary Care Connect, and the Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs).
The roles to be created include 51 Youth Outreach Workers, as well a variety of roles to support and strengthen the youth sector during the COVID-19 crisis and recovery.
“Right now, youth workers matter more than ever. This pandemic is hitting young people harder than any other group, with job losses, disrupted education, mental distress and social isolation,” says Katherine Ellis, CEO of YACVic.
“This Working for Victoria Fund investment by the government recognises the vital role of the youth sector in supporting young people through this crisis, and minimising the long-term scarring that can occur with a major social and economic shock.
“Every young person needs to be valued, supported and connected to their community during this emergency and beyond into the recovery.”
COVID-19 has brought surging demand for the youth sector amid uncertainty and disruption, and transitioning services to be delivered online.
Andrew Bruun, CEO of YSAS says that “youth workers have a vital role in keeping young people safe and connected in their communities.”
“Isolation, loneliness and boredom are issues that need to be tackled head on to prevent other serious problems from developing for young people and families.”
Carmel Guerrra, CEO of CMY says she has seen “a significant increase in demand for our youth support services during COVID-19, and youth unemployment is a key area of concern for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.”
“With this funding we’ll be investing in young people, with a focus on employing more multicultural staff under 30, to meet increasing demands and support people back into work force.”
The funding also includes creation of dedicated youth outreach roles in rural and regional Victoria.
“COVID-19 has created additional challenges for young people who already face significant geographic hurdles to engage with services. It is so important that we increase services’ capacity to support young people in rural and regional areas,” says Rebecca Lorains, CEO of Primary Care Connect in Shepparton.
YACVic is delighted to be collaborating with other key players in the youth sector to support young people’s recovery from COVID-19.
“One of the great things about the youth sector is that we recognise that we’re stronger as a collective,” says Ms Ellis.
“It will take a collaborative effort to tackle this generation-defining pandemic and create a safe, fair and prosperous future for young people.”
Quotes attributable to Deb Tsobaris, CEO, CFECFW
“This program throws an invaluable lifeline to young people doing it tough right now. The Centre is very proud to support and be part of this initiative.”
Media Contact: Katherine Ellis, YACVic CEO is available for interviews. For media enquiries you can contact Thomas Feng, YACVic Media and Communications Manager on 0431 285 275.
About Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic)
Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading advocate for young people aged 12–25 and the youth sector in Victoria. Established in 1960, YACVic advocates for the rights of young people in Victoria to ensure they are active, visible and valued in their communities.