Being Herd Pathways: Interview with Emma, The Salvation Army


We are here to support youth mental health throughout COVID-19 and beyond. All our programs can be delivered online or face to face!

Being Herd Pathways: Interview with Emma, The Salvation Army Employment Plus

September 27, 2021


Are you aged between 16-24 and not currently in education, employment or training?

batyr will be delivering its Being Herd Pathways workshop to give young people from Newcastle the skills to feel job-ready, all thanks to the generous support of the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

The free digital workshop focuses on building confidence, hope and resilience so young people can learn how to look after their mental health on the journey to finding fulfilling employment.

Emma Mason, Senior Recruiter Youth Services, Hunter Region, for The Salvation Army Employment Plus, knows all too well the challenges young people face, with recent figures showing the youth unemployment rate for Newcastle is 24.8%, compared to 6.9% for the state1. She recently sat down with batyr to talk about why she has big love for Pathways.

When did you become involved with Pathways through The Salvation Army and what got you excited about the workshop?

It was 2018 and I was a consultant recruiting for workshops in Charlestown in the Hunter Region. We were doing about 10-15 workshops a day, which was really cool!

Talking to young people on a daily basis, it became clear to me that mental ill-health, and the stigma attached to it, was a huge barrier to employment and education. It really made me want to get the word out there for young people to get involved with the workshop; that they could still go on to have great careers and experiences in education.

The mentoring aspect was a component of the workshop that stood out for me. Also, the links that are provided to young people so they know where to reach out for support, how to start a conversation with others, and, ultimately, build a community that helps each other.

How many young people came through Employment Plus to attend a Pathways workshop?

Since 2018, we’ve been running about 4 workshops per year and, in total, we’ve reached160 young participants from the Hunter Region.

Are there stories from young people that stick in your mind?

We had a really young participant (17) from December 2020 who had been living with long-term mental ill-health, including anxiety, and wasn’t interested in engaging in further study after completing year 10. 

Shortly after the workshop, with batyr collaborating with Transition to Work (TtW) at the time, they went into a Certificate II in Construction and they were recently offered an apprenticeship in cabinet-making.

We had another participant (20) who also commenced with TtW for a period of time and had many other opportunities in employment but kept falling out of the roles. She was going through a tough time mentally, including experiencing anxiety, and she was seeking extra support at the time through headspace. Her consultant suggested Pathways, which was hosted virtually during the 2021 Sydney lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not long after the workshop, the young person said she felt connected to the community and motivated to find employment. She was able to get a position in the hospitality industry in a well known franchise and has now been able to hold down some regular and stable employment. She said she no longer felt alone with her experience with mental health and she felt empowered as she was able to connect with other young people in the workshop. 

What would you say to a young person from Newcastle/Hunter thinking about coming along to Pathways?

It’s a way to come together as a community, to share your experiences and to break down the stigma of mental health, especially during these tough times.

Try something new – you never know what you might learn, and how you may be able to support others. 

Check out Being Herd Pathways for more information and to register your interest to attend the Newcastle workshop on Tuesday 28 September.

  1. Labour Force Survey, Australia, July 2021, Australian Bureau of Statistics