Sustainable Partnerships Australia (SPA), one of the leading youth support organisations on the Sunshine Coast and in Moreton Bay, will continue to provide youth development and career transition programs despite the announcement in the Federal Budget that their funding will cease in December 2014.
SPA, a not-for-profit community organisation formed through the merger of Queensland Youth Industry Links (QYIL) and Sunshine Coast Youth Partnership (SCYP), has been delivering for young people on the Sunshine Coast for more than ten years, and more recently has also being providing support for youth in Moreton Bay. SPA is also expanding to focus not just on youth, but more broadly across the whole community.
SPA has been delivering the national School Business Community Partnership Brokers Program in both regions since the program was launched by the Department of Education in 2010.
SPA director Bruce Bell said as part of the Partnership Broker program, the organisation had created strategic and sustainable community partnerships focused on providing career transition support and pathways for young people finishing school.
Mr Bell said SPA had developed a reputation of quality, integrity and consistency in delivering the program and had worked with more than 1300 businesses, industry, and schools.
“We are very proud to have delivered many youth and business education programs including Health Heroes and Health Summits and Bunnings Construction Crews – which saw students working on projects and gaining valuable skills in carpentry and construction while working towards a team project.
Work preparation programs such as RU Serious and other structured workplace learning working with Federal, State and Local governments as well as community organisations like the Buderim Foundation.”
SPA also helped to establish the Youth Sector Change Drivers Group which has been bringing representatives from key local, regional, state and national agencies together to network, share knowledge and collaborate to benefit education attainment and career transition for students since 2010.
Mr Bell said now the Partnership Broker program was coming to an end, SPA remained committed to helping young people on the Sunshine Coast and in Moreton Bay as they transition from school into further training or employment.
“Youth unemployment in both these regions is among the highest in the country so it is vital that we continue to provide the support needed to address this problem and we remain committed to doing so,” Mr Bell said.
“During the past 12 months, we have consolidated our program delivery opportunities and are now focused on delivering in four key areas that we believe will see SPA giving back to the community for many years to come.”
The four key areas remain focused on creating training, engagement and employment opportunities for young people, and include – partnership brokering, youth engagement, and the new areas of career development and social enterprise.
Mr Bell said SPA was very proud to announce that their new career development program was not funded by government and would focus on working with the business community to create real and ongoing career opportunities, not just for youth, but others in the community as well.
“We firmly believe as an organisation that developing a strong and robust local economy is paramount to creating new and ongoing opportunities for everyone,” he said.
“We believe that this not only means robust school programs but also development of opportunities through the input of the business and community sectors, accessing and analysis of quality data to investigate options after young people leave school, as well as looking for opportunities for others in the community changing careers or looking for better opportunities.
“To create sustainable employment opportunities in our regions for people regardless of their age, we need to focus on some fundamental guidelines – Where are the jobs? What training do we need to skill employees for those areas? Who can best deliver the quality training? And most importantly, what type of employment is each person most suited to?”
“Our aim is to work to help provide answers to these questions and work with other organisations and the community to create pathways and opportunities.”
Mr Bell said in addition to the Career Development and Partnership Brokering programs, SPA, in collaboration with the Sunshine Coast Council, also delivers youth engagement events like its regular RAW Sounds Music Festivals, run by young people for their peers through their Youth Engage Action (YEA) Crews.
“These programs not only provide safe, alcohol free events for young people but also event management and organisational training for the young people planning and executing them.”
Mr Bell said in addition SPA was working with a number of community groups and businesses to establish a new social enterprise business, which will not only provide career pathways for young people but also generate income to help fund all aspects of SPA’s operations so it is less reliant on community donations.
“This project is in the planning phase but we look forward to making a further announcement in coming months.”
If you would like to find out more about SPA or support them in their work, please visit http://www.sustainablepartnershipsaustralia.com.au/ or call 07 5444 1700.