Brimbank Youth
Jobs Strategy
Building on local strengths and
global best practice

Introduction and purpose
Vision for Brimbank City Council
Vision for Brimbank Youth Jobs Strategy
Linked plans and Council’s role
Key factors affecting youth employment in Brimbank
Navigating new career pathways
Social connections and networks
Mental health
The power of story - mythbusting
Best Practice Approaches to Employment Strategies –
working on supply
Recommendations and Year One strategic directions

Young people in Brimbank need
employment to participate fully in
society. Productive work not only
delivers an income but offers social
protection for families, better
personal development, builds
citizenship and community cohesion,
and enables people to participate in
decisions which affect their lives. It
reduces poverty and aids better
health and wellbeing outcomes.
In recognition of the central role of
employment in young people’s lives
Brimbank City Council has developed
its first Youth Jobs Strategy. It has
undertaken this work alongside
young people, putting them at the
centre of the design, consultation
and recommendations.
The Brimbank Youth Jobs Strategy
therefore presents a unique analysis
on the issues affecting young
people’s employment, a robust
evidence base and roadmap for
strategic action as recommended by
young people themselves.
Excluding young people from the
experience of constructive paid
employment is not an option.
Brimbank City Council, with its
community and partners, is
committed to ensuring effective
structural and strategic change so
that young people are able to
participate fairly and equitably in
economic activities for everyone’s
International Labor Organisation
en/index.htm accessed 31 May 2018
The purpose of the Brimbank Youth
Jobs Strategy 2018-2023 (Strategy)
is to create a framework for
effectively considering and
responding to high youth
unemployment rates in Brimbank.
This is a strategy developed by local
young people, for local young people
with their local Council.
Brimbank City Council’s Vision
Brimbank – vibrant,
harmonious & welcoming, a
great place to live, work
and grow
Council will achieve this through four
strategic objectives of developing
An inclusive community
A liveable community
A prosperous
An innovative and
responsive `Community
First’ Council
This vision and strategic objectives
frame the work of the Brimbank
Youth Jobs Strategy 2018-2023
Vision for Brimbank Youth Jobs Strategy
Supporting young people to build career and work paths
The Brimbank Youth Jobs Strategy aligns with relevant Council policies and plans
Brimbank Social Justice Charter
Brimbank Youth Strategy 2015-2019
Brimbank Lifelong Learning Strategy 2018-2023
Brimbank Community Vision 2040
Brimbank Economic Development Strategy 2016-2020
Brimbank Youth Jobs Strategy is based on Council’s multiple roles including;
- Council is a planning authority that implements planning controls to
achieve positive social, economic and environmental outcomes. Council also
carries out internal project and program planning to guide and target actions
that support community health and wellbeing.
- Council has a responsibility on behalf of the community to promote
their needs and aspirations, and recommend preferred courses of action to state
and federal levels of government, statutory authorities and other sectors.
- Council works together with interested people, groups and
stakeholders for the greatest benefit to the community.
- Council provides leadership by identifying opportunities and challenges to
address the needs and hopes of the community, and make decisions which align
with long-term strategic plans.
Inform and involve
- Council makes accessible information available to the
whole community on matters of public and personal interest. It actively consults
with the community and provides opportunities to be included in Council’s
decision making.
– Council is responsible for managing and delivering a range of services,
programs, buildings and infrastructure to support community health and

Key factors affecting youth employment in
Changing job market
Despite Brimbank’s strong economy, youth unemployment is much
higher than greater Melbourne’s average, and is becoming worse.
Over the past 10 years the number of young people aged 15-25 years old
looking for work in Brimbank has risen significantly. From 2011 to 2016 the
youth unemployment rate increased from 14.2% (2067 young people) to 19.2%
(2906 young people). In 2016, 1 in 5 young people in Brimbank were
In 2016, 34% of people who were unemployed across Brimbank were
young people (15-25 years old).
Jobs in Brimbank are also changing; manufacturing industry has been
experiencing negative growth, and strong employment growth is projected in
health care and social assistance, retail trade, logistics, and construction over
the next few years. Changing job market also affects how young people connect
to and experience employment.

In 2015, on average, it took 2.7
years for a young person to find any
work after full-time education, or 4.7
years to find full-time employment
(compared to one year in 1986)
A young person today is expected to
have 17 different jobs across 5
different careers.
Intergenerational inequality means
that despite young people attaining
more formal qualifications and
receiving a higher level of education
than their parents, it is likely that
they will still struggle to be better off
than their parents in areas of
employment, housing, wealth and
environmental quality.
A new
precariat class’ of young
people has been described that is
characterised by high levels of debt
incurred from attaining education
qualifications that are used to obtain
ever-increasing insecure
employment with diminishing
opportunities for growth,
development and career
Foundation for Young Australians FYA, New Work
Order Series
Cuervo and Wyn 2016, An unspoken crisis: the
‘scarring effects’ of the complex nexus between
education and work on two generations of young
Australians, International Journal of Lifelong
Education p.124
Standing 2012, The Precariat: the new dangerous
class, London, Bloomsbury
Vulnerable groups of young people
including those with a disability,
Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders, those with caring
responsibilities, young people from
low socioeconomic communities and
those without Year 12 attainment are
more likely to experience
unemployment and for longer
periods of time than their peers.
Further, many disadvantaged young
people experience individual barriers
to employment, such as drug and
alcohol abuse, unstable housing or
limited access to education or
transport, that compound their risk
of unemployment.
Social Ventures Australia 2016

Navigating new career pathways
More young people in Brimbank looking for work have completed Year 12 or
equivalent than greater Melbourne. However the high levels of youth
unemployment and relatively lower levels of tertiary education completion
suggest that young people in Brimbank are struggling to navigate career
pathways post-high school.
Consultation with young people in Brimbank also found that there was a lack of
understanding about career pathways. For the future of work
the types of jobs available (particularly within the context of rapidly changing
industries), the skills associated with these jobs, how to articulate skills and
career identity, and the transferability of skills is more important than traditional
Social connections and networks
There is now significant evidence that many young people do not have networks
and connections to both support their confidence in job seeking and build
relationships and skills (social capital) necessary to help obtain a job.
During consultations in Brimbank almost a third of families noted ‘mentorship,
guidance and encouragement’ as the preferred solution for combating youth
unemployment, and over 20 percent of young people referred to networks as the
major factor that made it easier to find a job.
Unemployed young people in Brimbank often face the barrier of relatively poor
infrastructure, which impacts their proximity and access to jobs (via transport or
digitally) and can increase pressures facing their families (due to high housing
All youth unemployment and disengagement ‘hotspot’ locations had lower
proportion of households with internet connection and higher distributions of low
income households and sole parent households compared to greater Melbourne.
Most young people drive to work, suggesting car ownership or access to a car is
important for young people to access work; some locations in Brimbank have
higher proportions of households without access to a car.

Geographic inequality in Brimbank impacts local young people through
significant differences across suburbs in income and wealth, accessing services
and transport and overall perception of crime. Young people frequently reported
experiencing postcode discrimination alongside race-based discrimination, which
significantly limited their ability to showcase their ability and identity during the
employment process.
Young people from low income
households are twice as likely to be
unemployed as those from high income
households (ABS 2016).
Racism and discrimination based on age, gender and other identities impact on
young people’s ability to find employment. Many young people believe they are
treated less favourably due to their background and personal characteristics
during their job application process.
● 22% of 18-24 year olds have experienced discrimination in the last twelve
months because of skin colour, ethnic origin or religion
● 77% of South Sudanese respondents indicated they had experienced
race-based discrimination.
● Relatively high levels of negative opinion towards Muslims
● Young people not in full time or part time work have a higher likelihood of
both parents being born overseas.
Mental health
Poor mental health has a spiralling effect on employment outcomes for young
people. Young people who are able to maintain a level of mental and physical
wellbeing are likely to be successful in securing meaningful employment.
However, young people who have been rejected numerous times are likely to
experience acute mental health issues (such as a lack of self-esteem) which
lessens the likelihood of finding a job, which can then lead to chronic mental
health issues and continuing reduced employment prospects.
The Scanlon Report – Mapping Social Cohesion
Stokes and Wyn 2007, Constructing identities and making careers: young people’s perspectives on work and
learning, International Journal of Lifelong Education

"Your mental health convinces you that no one will ever
hire you” - Under 25 at Sunshine library, April 2018
The top three barriers that young people felt would impact on their study/work
goals were academic ability (22.0%), financial difficulty (14.2%) and mental
health (13.2%).
The power of story - mythbusting
The reasons young people in Brimbank are facing unemployment are complex,
and connected to systemic and structural challenges. However, there is often a
perception that young people are `the problem’ and the many factors at play are
not understood. The risk of inaccurate narratives, such as ‘young people are not
willing to put in effort to find work’, risks simplifying the issues in youth
unemployment in Brimbank and ‘blaming the individual’ rather than the host of
significant factors outlined and so the policy and structural reform necessary is
not identified.
The lack of entry level jobs and changing employment market affects young
people and their confidence and expectations in applying for work. Experience
and skill identification from other parts of their lives, such as undertaking family
responsibilities, community group activities and volunteering, may not be
recognised by either the young person or the employer, looking for extensive
Young people are sometimes seen as not ‘job ready’, which in part arises from
an inadequate education system that does not equip young people with the
enterprise skills and entrepreneurial mindset valued by employers and rewarded
by the 21st century labour market
It is expected that disadvantaged young
people can somehow avoid precarious and/or long-term un/under employment
despite being in the same disadvantaged circumstances that caused it. This
shifts the burden of responsibility unfairly.
Young people in Brimbank face discrimination based on language, race, and age.
Racism and discrimination are frequently cited by young people as a reality when
applying and looking for employment. Discrimination impacts negatively upon
every stage of the employment cycle from application to job interview. The data
collected has captured the lived experience of young people being routinely
denied employment opportunities due to their ethnicity, age and postcode.
Whilst illegal, the covert nature of racism and discrimination makes it difficult to
prosecute. Experiences like this may lead young people to adapt their behaviour
and expectations to match; this is called the Pygmalion effect.
2017 Mission Australia Annual Youth Survey

Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has undertaken extensive research into
the new future job market and position of young Australians. Called The New
Work Order, it outlines enterprise skills that young people will need for the
future. These include digital literacy, bilingualism, problem solving, and
creativity, amongst others.
What are enterprise skills? Enterprise skills are transferable skills that enable young people to
engage with a complex world and navigate the challenges they will inherit. Enterprise skills are not
just for entrepreneurs; they are skills that are required in many jobs. They have been found to be a
powerful predictor of long-term job success. The terms used to describe these skills vary across
different contexts: sometimes called generic, soft, or 21st century skills
FYA The New Work Mindset
Young People in Brimbank are global citizens: 61 percent of young people
looking for work in Brimbank speak at least one other language in addition to
English. This is 20 percent more than across Greater Melbourne. This is another
powerful strength, as FYA’s New Work Order research found that the growth rate
of jobs requesting bilingual skills was 181% between 2012 and 2015, which
makes it the second fast growing skill being requested after digital literacy
Young people looking for work and English proficiency/languages spoken
Young people
looking for
work and
English only
Speaks other
language and
English: very
Speaks other
language and
English: well
Speaks other
language and
English: not
Speaks other
language and
English: not
at all
37.9% (1195)
44.2% (1395) 13% (410) 3.9% (125)
0.2% (6)
58.6% (34882)
26.7% (15911) 11.9% (7076) 2.2% (1324)
0.1 (66)

Best Practice Approaches to Employment Strategies –
working on both supply
Often unemployment is considered as largely due to individuals lacking skills;
this considers only the supply side. However highly skilled and experienced
people can also constitute ‘the unemployed’. It is equally important to recognise
that the way the economy is organised and developed affects the unemployment
context; the demand side.
Assumptions are made that economic development is the key to creating jobs for
Brimbank residents. However, travel to work data would suggest that the
majority of workers gaining jobs in Brimbank are not local residents. Different
policies need to be in place to see an increase in jobs for local people. For
example, social procurement policies used by the State Government have been
successful in increasing employment outcomes for particular groups, such as
young people.
Considering supply side issues also need to consider access to transport,
communication skills to work in the Australian context, and having broader
supports such as childcare and flexible education options.
Brimbank Youth Jobs Strategy shifts the focus from the traditional approach of
integrating young people into the job market, to include a broader range of
approaches including addressing structural and market constraints.
It supports the principles of youth-led culturally-relevant responses. This
bottom-up approach allows young people to have agency and build confidence,
which is particularly important in addressing the factors related to navigating
new career pathways and overcoming poor mental health.
Whilst across Brimbank there is a strong network of organisations and programs
supporting young people to find employment, there is huge opportunity for
greater collaboration and partnerships to tackle the more systemic and structural
factors. A holistic and cross-sectoral approach is more likely to be successful due
to the interrelated nature of the factors contributing to unemployment in
Brimbank for young people.
There are a number of innovative partnerships and work commencing which
helps create a stronger enabling environment for collaborating. Examples
Western Youth Employment Partnership
(WYEP) – a partnership of
western suburbs local governments and local learning and employment
networks, now affiliated under LeadWest. WYEP works on social and
economic impact programs across the western region to influence youth

employment outcomes through social procurement, supporting platforms
for young people’s action and enabling enterprise skills for the future.
Brimbank Learning Futures
- Brimbank Learning Futures (BLF) is a new
physical space in the heart of Sunshine. The project brokers new
partnerships and programs to respond to the barriers experienced by
people in accessing further education and training. It is a place based co
located facility, supporting vulnerable learners and community members
who have low educational attainment and face barriers to participation
and re-engagement in education.
Brimbank has been identified as a ‘national hot spot’ for youth unemployment
with ABS figures showing a persistent increase in youth unemployment since
2012; the situation is worsening for some young people in Brimbank.
Brimbank City Council shares serious concern about this situation and that alarm
has driven a number of responses including the development of this Strategy.
Council has ‘walked the talk’ in this by putting young people at the centre of the
design, consultation and analysis to the strategic response.
The broad based recommendations include many roles for Council and its
partners to make tangible differences to young people’s employment prospects
and outcomes. To do nothing is not an option.
accessed May 21 2018
Recommendations: Year One
Strategic Priorities for Brimbank Youth Jobs Strategy
Deliverables Council Role
Embed a new
narrative and
engage with support
systems for youth
Establish Youth Employment
Ongoing participation in
Western Youth Employment
Partnership (WYEP)
Develop and recruit
Develop Terms of
WYEP Minutes and
opportunities for
young people
experiencing barriers
Embed social procurement
policies (aligned with Local
Government Victoria)
Facilitate social enterprise
demonstrating positive impact
for young people
Draft Procurement
policy endorsed
Social procurement
working group
Build enterprise
learning and
Support and develop young
people’s cooperative/social
enterprise in Brimbank
Share enterprise learning
framework (skill development
in four capacities of
multilingualism and
presentation skills, creativity,
digital literacy and critical
Support young and emerging
social entrepreneurs
Innovation Lab
proposal developed
plan re learning
Activities to promote
learning in
Increase evidence on
what works for
youth employment
Attract resources to research
and demonstrate impact
Best practice case
studies mapped
infrastructure to
support young
people access
Expand L2P program in
Advocacy to expand transport
options for young people in
Free wifi across all activity
centres in Brimbank
More participants in
Contribution to
Council’s advocacy
Availability of wifi in
Brimbank activity
centres and planning
Invest in social
connections and
Facilitate opportunities for
young people, local business,
educators, families and peers
to connect and network
Development of
relevant local
partnerships and
Review internal recruitment
practices to better support
young people experiencing
barriers (such as mitigation
against unconscious bias, use
of positive discrimination)
Literature review of
based recruitment
processes developed

Young people’s voice
is critical to ensure
Young people are at the
centre of design,
implementation and
Young people
involved in
governance and
Provide and promote
Ensure priority access to work
experience and student
placements for young people
in Brimbank experiencing
barriers - eg young people
with disabilities, First
Australians, young people
from migrant and refugee
backgrounds, early school
leavers and young people in
contact with the justice
Provide 10 ‘Structured
Workplace Learning’
opportunities for young
people experiencing barriers
to employment across
Brimbank City Council
Increase the provision of
traineeships, school-based
apprenticeships and
apprenticeships across the
organisation, by accessing
federal and state government
subsidies, using key learnings
from the ‘Youth Libraries
Officer’ model.
Identify and address barriers
experienced by Council staff
to support young people in
the workplace.
Investigate extending the
‘Youth Libraries Officer’ model
to other parts of Council.
Commitment from at
least four Council
units to host a young
More Brimbank
young people
employed at Council

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