top of page

Changing the game for young people

Maddy Ware and John King

24 Nov 2022

How The Huddle and its participants foster collaborative partnerships

Due to the pandemic, young people from diverse backgrounds continued to be affected by the structures of the labour market. The “Meet Me in The Middle” report (2020) identified that due to COVID-19, the gap between young people and employers worsened and barriers to employment were exacerbated. The report identified issues such as lack of interpersonal skills, limited access to transport, limited understanding of complex recruitment methods and lack of experience, exacerbated due to the hard lockdowns.

Young people aged 15 –24 entering the job market, with little or no work experience, are most vulnerable. Without timely and targeted intervention, young adults looking to access the workforce are at a high risk of missing out on a secure entry into the labour market and, therefore, more likely to experience long-term unemployment, underemployment, and financial hardship.

The ongoing economic implications of the pandemic for Australia's youth population are significant. However, these implications will be more acute for many young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. This is due to the intersection of age, the life stage of adolescence, young people's family support role and pre-existing structural barriers to accessing employment (CMY and MYAN, 2020, COVID-19 submission).

The objective of Game Changers, a City of Melbourne Social Partnerships Grant funded initiative, is to provide resume-worthy experiences that will encourage young people to think about their careers and futures. Game Changers develops the employability skills of young people while also encouraging participants to become more aware of self and others. The program bridges the gap between what skills applicants think are necessary for employment and what employers actually want.

Through a unique structure of personal and professional development workshops, project development, pitching for funding and project execution, Game Changers provides real-world opportunities to develop the project management and transferable skills of young people from diverse backgrounds, through a collaborative approach and utilising the unique skills of several value-aligned community organisations. 

The Social Partnerships Grant funding allowed The Huddle to partner with, Young Australian People, Ubuntu Project and YLab to deliver Game Changers twice over a two-year span to two sperate groups of City of Melbourne residents. Based on the success of the program, The Huddle hopes to utilise this model for future employment programs.

Game Changers supported young people from diverse backgrounds by providing a well-rounded and collaborative approach to developing transferable skills. Utilising the mentoring abilities and support from Young Australian People and Ubuntu Project, Game Changers kept participants accountable for their attendance in the program, organised transport to and from workshops and encouraged active engagement and opportunities for participants to provide insights into their own lived experiences.

Game Changers also utilised the creative abilities of YLab which assisted participants to think about complex ideas and issues such as racism, access to education, cultural expectations and how they can support other young people in their community to move through these experiences while still gaining necessary skills and knowledge. Within the creation and ideation phase delivered by YLab, participants reflected on their own experiences and connected that to what other young people in community need. Participants were then split into groups and encouraged to create a Community Action Project, framed within an issue close to their heart, which met a community need.

Game Changers was delivered to two separate groups from the City of Melbourne over a two-year funding cycle. Across both iterations of the program, there were seven Community Action Projects created. The groups had to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of experts to win funding for their projects. In the lead up to the Pitch Event, participants practiced putting together a presentation and presenting in front of a group. This stage of the project saw participants develop their confidence and public speaking abilities as they presented formal pitches in hopes of gaining funding. The development from the workshop stage to the pitch stage included creating and presenting a pitch, organising each group member, and assigning roles and tasks, collecting data and information relevant to their community action project and using their research to help justify the need for their project within the community. Groups also had to provide accurate budget estimates for the cost of their proposed projects and activities.

Ubuntu Project is proud of the successes of Game Changers and our delivery of the cultural and vision mapping components. The Pitch Event was a fitting showcase of participants growth in confidence, ambition and knowledge in concept development and presentation.- Nor Shanino, CEO of Ubuntu Project

Over the two years of program delivery, The Huddle supported groups to implement their community project, either into existing programs, such as Huddle Holidays, with events being conducted by partner organisations, or as stand-alone community projects. Casual employment with The Huddle was also provided for group members, whose projects were delivered within Huddle Holidays. These approaches allowed participants to experience genuine real-world opportunities to deliver their projects and develop their project management skills and experience. Many of the participants from Game Changers were able to either gain additional casual work from The Huddle, or use the experience to gain employment with other organisations. Game Changers also saw several Year 12 students utilise the experience for university applications, highlighting that the program helped them develop skillsets which could be applied to their chosen field of study. 

I wanted to say thanks for letting me join the Game Changers program. I found it really beneficial since not only did it allow me to meet new people, but also helped me form networks where I could ask for volunteering opportunities and potentially work. Through the workshops I was able to learn more about the transferable skills that I could use when applying for jobs - whether it’d be answering questions at a job interview or pitching a new business/community project idea. I’d highly recommend this program to anyone who’s looking to develop career goals or need guidance at securing a job.- Rea Tinoy, program participant

The Huddle hopes to implement the Game Changers model into regular career programming due to the significant positive impacts it has had on young people and their employment prospects. The skills developed throughout Game Changers are setting young people up for their future careers, as evidenced by the employment and education outcomes of the program over the last two years.

bottom of page