Youth Services Inc
An Education Case Worker provided support to more than 60 young
early school leavers. The individual case plan approach, with a
strong emphasis on progressive assessment, was highly successful
and resulted in higher than usual employment and training outcomes.
A significant number of participants gained employment or enrolled
in accredited courses that will improve their employment options.
Youth Services offers a range of services that include practical
assistance with employment, accommodation, education programs, mental
health and drug and alcohol counselling, community arts and performance.
40% of the Service's clients are Aboriginal young people, most are
unemployed, with a significant number falling into the category
of long-term unemployed.
project involved using the National Reporting System (NRS) for the
accurate assessment of clients' skills and to establish welfare
case plans directly linked to educational case plans. The Service's
approach was based on the philosophy that dealing with a young person's
welfare and practical problems is essential to the achievement of
learning outcomes. Through the project the Service hoped to develop
strong links with other agencies such as TAFE, Job Network agencies,
the Job Placement Employment Training Program (JPET) and other welfare
and training providers.
aimed to assist 70 young people aged between 15-24 years who had
left school early and who required assistance with education, training
and employment. The strategy was to run the HELP program, with the
additional one-on-one support of an Education Case Worker.
Through a process
of reflective self assessment, it was anticipated that clients would:
a clearer understanding of their own skills
- develop communication,
their employment and/or educational options.
Case Worker assessed each client and provided practical support
and counselling to help them define and achieve their goals. Support
included individual assistance with resume preparation, interview
skills, course and employment search skills.
plans used a holistic approach, and focused on the participant's
welfare, practical financial needs and educational needs.
were assessed at intake, mid term, and exit. This structure was
flexible enough to accommodate participants who were experiencing
more problems than others and needed more intensive assistance.
The first assessment
allowed the Case Worker to gain an understanding of what individuals
wanted from the course and to identify possible hurdles the person
might experience during the six months. These sessions were critical,
as they gave the Case Worker the opportunity to build rapport with
the target group.
The focus of
each session with the Case Worker was a process of self-assessment.
The mid session assessment identified adjustments needed to keep
the participant's progress on track and to monitor overall performance.
and feedback sessions were held with the group to determine which
program would satisfy their needs. This approach ensured that training
was interesting and appropriate to personal and career goals. Courses
were offered in music, sound engineering, radio production, life
skills and first aid. Seven young women took advantage of a Women
in Music course.
The pilot was
very successful, with 61 young people participating in the project
during the six-month period. The extra assistance provided by the
Case Worker led to higher than usual employment and training outcomes.
people involved in the project successfully moved into further training
or work. For example,
- seven young
people gained places in TAFE courses
- one young
person gained a scholarship into a private accredited video making
- four young
people found work after developing resumes and job skills with
the Case Worker
- one young
person gained full time employment at Fox Studios as a camera
successful was the Sound Engineering option. Participation in this
course and the employment focused support from the Case Worker resulted
in three participants gaining work experience with sound companies,
most notably Sony Music, which subsequently agreed to train three
young people in sound engineering.
The one-on-one support from the Case Worker was crucial to the
success of the project. Prior to the courses, the Case Worker established
personal contact with agencies that could provide additional services
for the participants. These included TAFE, Aboriginal Course Coordinators,
key staff in popular courses, and Aboriginal Student support officers
at seven of the Sydney Metropolitan TAFE institutes.
A decision to choose courses of direct interest to each participant
contributed to the success of the project. The fact that the programs
were interesting to young people was crucial to the high participation
and retention rates.
The success of the Sound Engineering course was due to the attendance
of the Case Worker at most of the classes. His attendance helped
establish the rapport necessary to nurture the target group through
some difficult stages.
In future the Case Worker could work with the participants before
they enrolled in their courses. The Case Worker needs to establish
rapport very early to assess participants' 'real life' situations
and to advise work/program hours that are flexible enough to accommodate
other pressures on their time.