NSW Government tackling Youth Employment Through Innovation


The Problem

Youth unemployment remains a persistent issue, particularly as unemployed youth form a large proportion of the total unemployed population throughout the state of NSW. Regional youth unemployment rates remain high, with a number of regions recording unemployment rates above the state average (highlighted in the image below).

High youth unemployment is of particular concern because it hampers economic growth and can have a negative effect on a persons future. Youth is an important time for choosing a career, gaining and developing skills, establishing an identity and obtaining independence.

At-risk groups

There are a multitude of causes for the sustained level of youth unemployment, but the impact is felt greatest by young people considered at risk or already experiencing long-term unemployment. At-risk group categories  include young people with a disability, First Australians, those with caring responsibilities, young people from low socio-economic communities and those with low educational attainment.

Other barriers to employment

Many young people also experience individual barriers to employment, such as limited access to transport or education, drug and alcohol abuse or unstable housing that may increase their risk of unemployment. 

Source: ABS cat. No. 6291.0.55.001 Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, Oct 2017


The Solution: Youth Employment Innovation Challenge

The NSW Department of Industry partnered with the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation to launch the Youth Employment Innovation Challenge.

The Innovation Challenge will offer $10 million to fund innovative solutions and ideas that support young people to find employment in NSW, with a focus on regional areas, seeking solutions and ideas that address the following:

  1. How can we develop and promote clearer pathways, so young people can make informed decisions about their employment options?
  2. How can we better connect young people and employers, so that they are the right fit for each other?
  3. How can we bring employers on the journey to create more youth inclusive work environments?
  4. How can we assist young people who have transport barriers to access training and employment opportunities?
  5. How can we enable young people to identify their skills and for employers recognise those skills?


Meet the Teams

We received 77 applications from all over the state, 32 were shortlisted for the Pitch Event on May 3rd, and below you will find the amazing and diverse 17 teams who were successfully chosen as service partners, currently undergoing 12 weeks of Incubation. We look forward to following their progress and creating and sustaining employment for NSW youth through their innovative solutions.

Delivery Region
Hactivate Web Platform ALL NSW (team located in North Coast)
RDAMNC Blueprint for Youth Pathways North Coast
YEP Youth Entrepreneur Program (YEP) with My Career Passport (MCP)  North Coast
Poultry Hub Australia Hatching a plan  New England
Business Chamber #skillsroad ALL NSW (team located in Sydney CBD)
Hi Aims Career support for young First Australians in Shoalhaven Southern Highlands/ Shoalhaven
Sequence AI Next-Generation AI-enabled Resumes Central Coast/Hunter
DriveConnex Learner Driver Hack App  ALL NSW (team located in Coast/Hunter)
Youth Employment Agenda Plains and Tablelands - A Place-based Approach to Youth Employment  New England
BackTrack BackTrack Rural Contracting - A social enterprise supporting the transition to lifelong independence New England
JobGetter It Takes a Village - Bringing At-Risk and Unemployed Youth Into The Workforce Ecosystem ALL NSW (team located in Sydney CBD)
Batyr Being Herd & Found - I am ready: Tackling youth unemployment for those with a lived experience of mental ill health ALL NSW (team located in Sydney CBD)
Home Care Heroes A sustainable and scaleable way for youth to gain skills and experience creating social impact Central Coast/Hunter (team located in Sydney CBD)
Project Factory Learn.Seek.Match Southern Highlands/ Shoalhaven
Test Pilot Designing Futures Western Sydney
Wentworth Community Housing Strive Western Sydney
Green Connect Green Connect - sustainable jobs  Illawarra

These innovation ideas and solutions which help the targer groups of young people who are:

  • 15 – 24 years old
  • In at-risk groups
  • Early school leavers or disengaged from school
  • Not in education, employment or training
  • Not receiving income support payments or under any other Commonwealth program 

Watch this space for the Showcase Event coming soon