New program aimed at tackling youth unemployment on Central Coast

Being Herd Pathways participant Amalie

19 August 2019, Central Coast, NSW – Central Coast has the sixth highest concentrated area of unemployed youth in NSW, at 16.5% compared to the national average of 12.2%

The newest initiative by youth mental health organisation batyr aims to give a voice and practical skills to young people not in education, employment or training. 

What is Being Herd Pathways?

At a Being Herd Pathways workshop, young people get to hear from a young person who has a lived experience of mental ill-health share their own story, with a focus on how they reached out for support and how finding meaningful employment helps them to maintain their wellbeing. 

The workshop is an opportunity to open up the conversation about mental health to young people, explore their own skills and be supported in creating a path to their future. 

After the workshop, the young people are paired with a mentor who can support them throughout their journey to employment. 

This will mean they are able to explore options for employment, practise interview skills and have a supportive person they can go to if they have any questions or need some encouragement. 

In this way, the workshop aims to:

  • reduce the stigma associated with talking about mental health and empower young people that attend the workshop to be able to reach out for support when they need to; 
  • increase individuals confidence and belief in their abilities so they feel able to begin their journey to employment through an engaging job ready module;
  • support these young people throughout their journey to finding and maintaining employment.

batyr recently ran a program on the Central Coast and aim to run more programs in the region towards the end of 2019. 

This is the first time we’ve been able to reach the Central Coast, in part, due to funding batyr received from the Department of Industry as part of the Youth Employment Innovation Challenge, a $10 million NSW Government program that provides funding to innovative solutions and ideas that help young people find employment in NSW. 

Amalie’s story

Amalie Grono is a Central Coast local that found her Pathways experience to be profound.

Taking some time off to look after her mental health, Amalie wasn’t sure how she would cope re-entering the workforce.

Amalie wanted to get back to work and move out of home but having that conversation about her anxiety with any potential employers was affecting her confidence.

She said she was at a low point until she saw an ad for Being Herd Pathways on an LGBTQI+ page on Facebook. She knew she had to go.

Incredibly, Amalie went to her first interview in over a year on the day of the workshop. 

“I was so nervous afterwards but I went straight to the course, knowing that it would bring me some peace of mind,” Amalie said.

The workshop empowered her to tell her employer about her anxiety and they were really supportive.

“After I left the course I felt confident and ready to do my trial shifts. I smashed them and got the job,” Amalie said.

Amalie is now an orthotics fitter at medical grade shoe clinic Barefoot Freedom and said she couldn’t have done it without attending Pathways.

“Through the course, I realised that I really wasn’t alone and that there were other young people that were struggling with mental health and job hunting too,” she said.

“The speaker (at Pathways) was relatable and just had such a positive atmosphere.”

“It honestly made me feel like I was a part of something important, even if it was for a few hours.”

Amalie felt her anxiety decreased significantly for a couple of days which is a huge win for her and meant she could be excited about her job offer rather than feel anxious about starting something new. 

“Being Herd Pathways helped me realise that it was ok for me to have bad days and it was ok for me to feel nervous,” she said.

After the course, I was able to tell my future employer that I struggle with mental health.” 

batyr has more to do

“We are incredibly proud to be supporting young people in finding employment, they all have huge potential and we need to support them on their journey,” batyr general manager Nic Brown said.

He said that there is a responsibility to make sure that young people who have barriers to employment aren’t left behind. 

“The best thing about Being Herd Pathways is the ability to help the young person to realise their strengths and to ultimately allow them to see their experiences with mental ill-health as an advantage rather than a disadvantage.” 

“Young people who have experienced mental ill-health can often be more resilient and bring a new perspective to their workplace.”

What research tells us about mental health and youth unemployment

It’s impossible to ignore the direct correlation between mental-ill health and youth who are experiencing a NEET spell, 60% of this demographic have an experience of mental-ill health.¹  

There are over 264,000 young people living in Australia that fit into this category² and batyr recognise the need to connect with these youth on a grass roots level and empower them to take charge of their future. 

Storytelling is at the heart of everything batyr does, with our model based on Patrick Corrigan’s research that shows ‘video-based and in vivo (face-to-face) contact have been shown to be effective ways to change stigmatising attitudes and behaviours…anti-stigma interventions have the greatest impact when contact is targeted, local, credible and continuous.’³

If you’re aged 16-24 and aren’t working or studying come and join batyr’s FREE Being Herd Pathways workshop and take charge of your future.