Our Impact: Youth Employment

Today in Australia, nearly one in three young people experience unemployment or underemployment.

It’s not surprising, then, that for many high school students – especially those in communities with soaring rates of joblessness or with experience of intergenerational unemployment – the prospect of a fulfilling career seems out of reach.

While high schools offer a range of programs to help students prepare for work, they often miss the specific needs of students without any professional role models to look up to, or those who have started disengaging from school as early as Year 7.

United Way Australia is working with schools, parents, students, community groups and local businesses to better meet the needs of students likely to find the transition from school to work challenging. In 2017 with partner Social Ventures Australia (SVA), we launched the Schoolyard Collaboration Project, an initiative offering students with intensive, targeted interventions to build career skills, confidence and knowledge. We also continued to work with schools in disadvantaged communities to link students with professional mentors and the local business community to build their work experience and connections.

Below is a snapshot of what we’ve achieved together:


partnered with to improve transition to work outcomes for students in disadvantaged communities.

1702 students

given the opportunity to build their career skills, confidence and connections through targeted initiatives.

52 events

held, including industry tours, mock interviews, resume writing workshops and careers days.

100% of mentors

(187 corporate volunteers) rated their experience with the schools and students as ‘excellent’.

“The mentors were really good to talk to. We had some fun, but they were so supportive of me, I’ve never met anyone like them before, so it was quite good to have this connection.”

– Student, Rooty Hill High School, NSW

“I now know I have lots to look forward to in my life as I pursue my goals, seek out available mentors and grow – I know I will achieve my goals.”

– Student, South Sydney High School, NSW

“It was an extremely well-run and rewarding experience. For many students, this was their first formal interview, so it was very positive to be able to set their minds at ease & encourage them of the strong attributes they possess.”

– Corporate Mentor, James Meehan High School, NSW

Case studies

“It’s been really good for helping me get the skills I need.”

One of the Schoolyard Collaboration Project initiatives, the Journey of a Pacifica Girl program is providing students at Rooty Hill High School with strong Pacifica women mentors and role models, helping them build their self-confidence and develop aspirational career goals.

Empowering future women leaders


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Luckily for students at South Sydney High School, teaching staff, United Way, and local business leaders are united in bringing inspiring, thought-provoking careers programs to students, giving them access to a range of talented mentors and workshops to help them set their own career paths. (Click image above to view slideshow)

Return to the 2017 Annual Report homepage:

2017 Annual Report

Learn more about our Youth Employment Initiatives:

Youth Employment