Being Herd Pathways heads to the Southern Highlands


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Being Herd Pathways heads to the Southern Highlands

July 13, 2021


batyr is super excited to be delivering its groundbreaking Being Herd Pathways workshops to the Southern Highlands and South West Sydney region later this year!

Mental ill-health is a major barrier for young people finding meaningful employment, or to develop their skills through further education and training. We also know that the unemployment rate for young people in the Southern Highlands and South Coast is around 22.5%, the highest rate recorded over the past five years, and nearly double the NSW average of 11.8%, according to regional labour force trends released by the NSW Parliamentary Library (January 2021). 

Being Herd Pathways is a peer-led workshop that provides a small group of young people (16-24) with a safe and supportive space to hear from someone with a lived experience of mental ill-health and their journey to find support that worked for them. The lived experience speakers also share challenges they’ve faced in finding employment as a result of mental ill-health.

Participants learn how to overcome the stigma of mental ill-health while also being supported in identifying their strengths, and are provided with practical skills and tips to become job-ready. After the workshop, participants are paired with a peer mentor that encourages them to stay motivated on their journey to meaningful employment.

Young people can take charge of their future and hear from other young people like themselves by registering their interest to attend a workshop in the region later this year.

“It’s exciting to be rolling out Pathways in the Southern Highlands for the first time, and timely, since it’s a region with high youth unemployment,” Being Herd Pathways Project Lead Sophie Foster said.

“The team are looking forward to connecting with young people in the community and starting positive conversations around mental health.” 

The delivery of Pathways in the Southern Highlands would not have been possible without the generous support of Anthony and Roy Medich of The Medich Foundation, owners of the historic Maltings building in Mittagong.

“We are pleased to be supporting this initiative to help youth in finding a way to better mental health and improving their employment pathways,” Anthony said.

“We are keen to see strong local communities in the Southern Highlands with healthy and happy young people making a productive contribution with meaningful work that they find rewarding, or through further education and training.” 

The positive impact of Being Herd Pathways

In December 2020, batyr completed its pilot run of Being Herd Pathways funded by the NSW Department of Education, with 200 young people participating. From this pilot:

  • 59% reported engaging in training, education, or employment (higher than the reported 24% employment outcome for young people with mental health barriers utilising JobActive services)
  • 95% of young people reported greater confidence in identifying their strengths to assist them in gaining employment 
  • 90% of participants were more likely to seek help for their mental health as a result of the program (the national average help-seeking rate is 22%)

The program also enhanced the understanding of employment service providers and youth workers on the impact of mental ill-health and stigma, and which support and encouraged them to engage their clients in positive conversations about their mental health. During the pilot program, batyr collaborated with over 150 youth service and employment providers including Salvos Employment Plus, Matchworks, OCTEC, Yourtown, MTC, Ability Options and Schools Industry Partnerships. 

To learn more about the Pathways and to register your interest to attend a workshop in the Southern Highlands, visit