BoysTown programs turn lives around

More than 70% of marginalised young people who completed social enterprise programs through charity BoysTown have retained employment or pursued educational qualifications, a Griffith University study has found.

The five-year Australian Research Council study tracked 542 youth (average age, 19 years) from QLD, SA, WA and NSW, who undertook transition to work programs with charity BoysTown in a variety of areas including hospitality, horticulture, landscaping and construction.

Lead researcher Professor Brendan Bartlett says the project has found a solution for the half-million young Australians who are failing in transition to work with negative consequences for themselves and associated disadvantage to national wellbeing and economic strength.

“Our study shows that young people who work in social enterprise programs such as local community-needed projects have developed their personal and social skills and work readiness.

“They learned about workplaces, equipment and tools and how to use them, worked cooperatively with others who shared resources and co-contributed to getting a job done.”

BoysTown first introduced the Enterprises program in Logan,Queensland in 1995 as a ‘work as therapy’ model for young people experiencing barriers to finding work.

According to BoysTown CEO Tracy Adams, the program’s success saw it expand to other Queensland locations, South Australia and New South Wales.

“Literally thousands of young people have benefited from this program with the key being individualised attention and support that addresses each person’s particular circumstances and challenges,” Ms Adams said.

The report —Reconnecting Disaffected Youth Through Successful Transition to Work —was launched this week at South Bank campus.