New program aimed at tackling youth unemployment in Western Sydney

Being Herd Pathways

14 June 2019, Western Sydney – Youth mental health organisation batyr are excited to launch a new program for young people who need it most; those who aren’t 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.

We are excited to be running our next program in Parramatta on Thursday 25 July, having recently wrapped up a program on the Central Coast.

We aim to run more programs in other regions towards the end of 2019. 

This is the first time we’ve been able to reach these parts of Sydney thanks, in part, to funding batyr has received from the Department of Industry, NSW Government 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. 

A great response from participants

In the regions that have run Being Herd Pathways, we have found the response to be overwhelmingly positive, as service providers in the local community recognise the increasing need for more support for young people who have a lived experience of mental ill-health and the growing concern surrounding youth suicide rates.

“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


We would love to hear from you! 

Head to our website and refer a young person or give them the address and they can find out more and register their interest.

The Being Herd Pathways program is delivered by batyr and is funded by the NSW Government as part of the Youth Employment Innovation Challenge. The program is currently being delivered in the Central Coast/Hunter and Western Sydney regions.

Key statistics/info:

– There are more than 264,000 young people aged 15 to 24 currently not in education, employment or training across Australia

– 60% of youth that aren’t in education, employment or training have had an experience of mental-ill health

Central Coast has the 6th highest concentrated area of unemployed youth in NSW, at 16.5% compared to the national average of 12.2% (ABS 2016, Labour force status by region (ASGS SA4), sex and age, datacube RM1).

– Western Sydney is home to 24.6% of New South Wales youth and 13.6% of these are unemployed

The Youth Employment Innovation Challenge is a $10 million NSW Government program that provides funding to innovative solutions and ideas that help young people find employment in NSW.

– Being Herd Pathways is currently being delivered in the Central Coast/Hunter and Western Sydney regions.

¹ Goldman-Mellor S, Caspi A, Arseneault L, Ajala N, Ambler A, Danese A, Fisher H, Hucker A, Odgers C, Williams T. Committed to work but vulnerable: self-perceptions and mental health in NEET 18-year olds from a contemporary British cohort. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2016

² Brotherhood of St. Laurence Dec 2017, Reality Bites: Australia’s youth unemployment in a millennial era

³Corrigan, P 2012, ‘Research and the elimination of the stigma of mental illness’ The British Journal of Psychiatry