YOUTH Insearch is expanding its services to help young people complete their studies.
While the charity has a long and successful history of helping the region’s youth overcome mental health and social issues, the new program aims to help them academically.
The charity will use a $355,000 grant from the federal government to employ two-full time case workers, who will help 100 students get through their VET studies.
Youth Insearch CEO Heath Ducker said the new service has already had a lot of enquiries and complemented the charity’s existing programs.
“The idea behind it is that research shows young people on some kind of government payment, such as Youth Allowance, who drop out of study are at a high risk to end up on welfare payments long term,” Mr Ducker said.
“Our thinking is, if we keep them in education and we enable them to see it through, they are less likely to end up on welfare and are more likely to get work.
“This is a chance to do something we haven’t done before and expand reach with young people.”
However, it’s bittersweet news for Youth Insearch, which is still facing a funding shortage.
“That funding is very specific to the program and doesn’t address the funding gap,” Mr Ducker said.
The organisation applied for more than $1 million in community grants, however only received $162,500 per year for three years.
“This still leaves a $237,500 per year shortfall, which means up to 162 young people will miss out on our help,” Mr Ducker said.
“It’s disappointing really. We have proven success in the work we do across New England.
“It makes you wonder why they can’t offer that money to the very effective program Youth Insearch has been running for over 30 years.
“We’ll keep looking for more grants. Locally, we have a high level of support from the community and we’ll be hoping to see that reflected in the federal election next year from candidates.”