No one knows the evolution of Job Prospects in Victoria like State Operations Manager, Stacey Dutschke, who joined SYC at the time of service rollout in 2009.
Joining as site manager in Fitzroy, Stacey was drawn to SYC’s organisational values and also the positive impact transitioning job seekers into work can have on their whole outlook on life.
“I love working in employment services as supporting people into work has such a profound impact on their life and wellbeing, and it is a very rewarding journey to be a part of,” Stacey said.
“SYC is a great organisation to work for because its values resonate with my personal beliefs. We work to empower everyone to be the best version of themselves, be it staff, or clients. I have had great leadership and mentoring at SYC, which has helped me to develop my own career aspirations,” she said.
Over Stacey’s 9 years with SYC she has worked in various management roles and capacities, in both Victoria and South Australia, but her management ethos has remained consistent through this time.
“I encourage my staff to provide our clients with a positive customer experience at every interaction,” Stacey said.
“It is our role to motivate, encourage and be compassionate to our clients, as finding sustainable employment can be a challenging time. Every interaction with a job seeker should result in being one-step closer to employment and it is important to make each meeting count. As leaders, it is important to be approachable and promote a collaborative environment which supports continuous improvement. As a team we regularly meet to keep each other motivated and focused on achieving the best outcomes for our clients.” she said.
Victorian Regional Manager, Nic Jarvis, is impressed by Stacey’s genuine leadership style and the clear vision she has for the organisation going forward.
“Under Stacey’s leadership we have been provided with clear goals to work towards, in both the short and long-term, and she provides ongoing support as required,” Nic said.
“She is passionate about the work we provide and has reinforced an increased focus on supporting long-term unemployed into work,” he said.
Stacey is taking her experience and knowledge of the sector to support SYC to expand its operational footprint in Victoria and deliver strong results in preparation for the next employment services tender in 2020.
“I want to support SYC to grow its operations and impact to support more clients on their journey into work,” Stacey said.
“As State Operations Manager I aim to ensure the most effective processes are in place to support my staff to deliver an exceptional customer experience and achieve inspirational client outcomes that sets SYC apart in the market,” she said.
The energy efficient machines were specifically chosen for their low running costs and energy efficiency. This means they are more environmentally friendly and will reduce tenants’ electricity bills.
Young tenants are now looking forward to summer with air-conditioning and are very grateful to receive the units.
“Thank you for your kindness and thoughtfulness,” said a HYPA Housing tenant.
“Thanks to your generosity we no longer need to worry about how to stay warm in winter and cool during summer. It is greatly appreciated,” they said.
The HYPA Housing model works to transition young people out of experiences of homelessness into independent living. Tenants pay minimal rent and receive case management to support any barriers they face and to help develop their independent living skills.
The donation of air conditioners means young tenant’s homes are more comfortable and enjoyable. They can now study, relax and concentrate on moving forward in their lives.
HYPA Housing Manager, Michael Steven, says the air-conditioning is a major addition to the complex and will make a positive impact in the quality of life for the young tenants.
“Installing air-conditioning in these apartments has been on our wish list for a long time,” Michael said.
“Having a comfortable and enjoyable living space for the young tenants makes a house a home and somewhere they want to be. We want our tenants to feel valued and safe so they can concentrate on education, employment and moving forward in their lives. We are very grateful for this donation,” he said.
Initially, Abshir spent 12 months looking for work. He then successfully gained a position as an employment consultant with job Prospects, Broadmeadows. Over the following years, Abshir moved across multiple sites gaining skills and experience. In 2017, he successfully won the position of Site Manager, Moonee Ponds, where he is positioned today.
“From job seeker to site manager with SYC has been an amazing journey. I have learnt so many skills and met many inspirational people along the way,” Abshir said.
“Being a job seeker for over 12 months means I am more effective in my role. I can directly relate to the job seeker’s emotions and experiences and I can also share these insights with my colleagues,” Abshir said.
Abshir immigrated to Australia with his family when he was a teenager. This experience allows him to make a connection with clients from similar backgrounds, and also inspire them with his own personal success story.
“Our clients come from a diversity of cultural and disadvantaged backgrounds. Because my family immigrated to Australia, I am passionate about supporting new Australians on their own journeys,” Abshir said.
“Supporting one job seeker successfully into work has a ripple effect within families and communities. It creates change. When family and friends see the positive impact working and earning an income has on one’s quality of life and confidence, it motivates others to follow in their footsteps,” he said.
“My team all work together to achieve the same goal for job seekers. We celebrate all clients achievement no matter how big or small, as they are all in the right direction,” Abshir said.
“We don’t just find people jobs. We want to get job seekers into sustainable employment and this is done by supporting the whole person with any barriers they face.
“My job is very rewarding. I love supporting our clients on their journeys. There is no other job I would rather be doing,” Abshir said.
To keep up with demand and to keep funding services SYC invested in a number of Bargain Centres (Op Shops). The first two were located in the Adelaide suburbs of Malvern and Prospect in the early ‘60s. A third opened in 1965 in Hampstead Gardens. The shops were run by staff and volunteers. They relied heavily on the support of the public and SYC’s supporter base in donating items to be sold.
Not only were the shops a great fundraising stream for the organisation, they also provided a space for unemployed clients to gain experience in a work environment, which helped prepare them for employment. It also provided a low cost source of clothing, accessories and homewares for clients.
Compared to today though the health and safety concerns were apparently not as stringent. A previous SYC Director, Max Kau, recalled a memory of working in the shop. He was serving a customer who leant in close and asked to see the dentures he heard were in stock. Max was confused but asked another worker and sure enough, there was a box of dentures presented from the storeroom.
Max was shocked that there was a supply of second-hand dentures. However, it did not come close to the horror he felt when the customer proceeded to try them all on and eventually found a perfect match. The customer was over the moon with his new pair of dentures that he otherwise could not have afforded.
The Bargain centres finished up in the ‘80s as SYC sought out more secure forms of funding to deliver on its promise to help young people in need.
For six decades, we have helped many generations of people to find a safe place to sleep, develop new skills, gain and sustain employment, finish school and reconnect with their families.
To celebrate, all our sites across Australia held early Birthday parties and stopped at the same time to mark the occasion. CEO Paul Edginton made a speech from the Head Office celebration, which was broadcast live via Facebook during the festivities.
Watch Paul’s address here.
Thank you to all the staff, volunteers, donors, supporters and clients that have contributed to SYC over its rich history. Check out all the photos from our site Birthday parties.
Check out the photo gallery here.
Swimming with dolphins, casting sails in the wind and watching sunsets over the ocean was the perfect distraction Connie needed from her unstable life at that time.
“When I was asked by Trace-A-Place if wanted to go on the Falie, it was like being given the best present in the world,” Connie said.
“I was not in a good place at that time and this was such an uplifting, positive experience and an opportunity to be carefree and just act my age,” she said
Connie was provided with the appropriate clothing and accessories for the trip and she was excited to learn the workings of the historic boat.
“I had very minimal belongings and was overjoyed when TAP provided me with a wind jacket, clothing, bathers and personal items of my own to take, it meant so much,” Connie said.
“At the start of the trip I knew nothing about sailing, but by the end I was pretty knowledgeable.
“Without a doubt this trip is the best memory I have of that time of my life,” she said.
With support from SYC and other organisations Connie has gone on to lead a happy, successful and independent life. Today, she has framed photographs of the trip on her mantelpiece to remind herself of her once in a lifetime experience.
As a Customer Service Officer at Job Prospects Salisbury, Tamsin enjoys greeting clients and working with a supportive and motivated team, who work hard to get people into work.
“I really enjoy my current role as it is fast paced and keeps me busy, which I love,” Tamsin said.
“The people I work with are very motivated and supportive and it’s very rewarding seeing clients get into work. SYC has such a diverse team of people, everyone is so welcoming and friendly. There is always support there when you need it and it’s a great place to work,” she said.
Tamsin was offered a permanent position with SYC when she impressed staff during her work placement with SYC, as part her Certificate III in Business, in 2016.
Her initial role in administration provided her with the skills and confidence with customer service and office management that has readily transferred over to her new role.
“When I started as a Trainees at SYC’s RTO I was provided with lots of support and gained a lot of skills that has increased my confidence and allowed me to do my job to high standard,” Tamsin said.
“I am happy in my current position in Salisbury, but in the future I would love to work my way up to be a Employment Consultant as I think it would be a rewarding job to help people find work,” Tamsin said.
Even with a good position in fast food, she was looking for something else to sink her teeth into. In February 2015, Nicole began her business traineeship whilst working on reception at SYC Adelaide. Her training was delivered through formal written components, face-to-face training and on-the-job tasks.
Nicole did have some mixed feelings when she first started, saying:
“I loved it. I was really scared to begin with, because it’s a big organisation. But everyone was so welcoming and lovely. Once I was there for a couple of weeks, I began to feel like I was fitting in and picking up everything.”
By all accounts, Nicole took to the work like a duck to water. She finished the training in a matter of months, much earlier than expected.
“The training was really good. My trainer came to see me once a month. She helped me graduate early which was lovely. And on the hands on side, my manager Lucretia was great! She answered all my questions and made sure I was confident to work on my own.”
After her business traineeship, Nicole also went on to be trained to work as a member of the finance team. She said that even through finance can be very ‘fiddly’, she always had someone to answer her questions and show her how things work.
In 2017, Nicole was once again ready to start another challenge. She moved to a role in the Transition to Work team at HYPA North, as a Youth Employment Consultant. She says that her training as a receptionist gave her the skills she needed. Now she finds herself more confident and is never afraid to pick up the phone to find a vacancy or advocate for a young person.
“I was ready for the change,” she said.
“I’m someone that – no one has to be hard on me. I’m pretty hard on myself. I like a challenge and I like to succeed – to get the results.”
“Every client is different. They all have different barriers to overcome and have different industries that they want to work in. They make it really enjoyable,” she said.
In fact, Nicole listed a range of reasons that she enjoys working at SYC. She appreciates having a range of other services available in the organisation that she can refer to. Having worked in the city, she knows that when she refers someone to Trace-A-Place because they’re struggling with housing, they will be well looked after.
She also said that she loves the fun atmosphere in her office.
“Our manager Tori always lets us know when we’re doing a good job. Last month she took us bowling and out for lunch to celebrate hitting our KPIs and it was really lovely. It’s a good bunch here.”
Nicole hopes to continue helping young people into employment for at least a few more years, before hunting for her next big challenge.
SYC has a history of being a young person’s first employer, and providing traineeships in different areas of the organisation. Adam Smith undertook two weeks of work experience as a Year 10 student in 2000, at SYC’s registered training facility. Even at this young age, Adam knew that Information Technology (IT) was the sector that he wanted to work in. During work experience Adam had various opportunities including resolving IT problems for employees, repairing computers and this experience confirmed to him he had made the right decision for his future.
In 2001, with a growing employment services division and foreseen growth of the training division, SYC created a position as IT Trainee. At the age of 15, Adam was invited to apply, which he did and was successful in gaining the position.
“I knew that IT was what I wanted to do, so I went for it,” Adam said.
At the encouragement of the then General Manager of SYC’s training division, now SYC’s CEO, Paul Edginton, Adam entered into the World Skills Competition. This takes a regional, state and national approach to testing and comparing the skills and knowledge of Australian apprentices. In 2002, Adam won gold medals in both the regional and South Australian competition, allowing him to compete in the national competition.
“It was a great experience and it allowed me to see that I had a talent for the sector I worked in,” Adam said.
Adam was offered a permanent full-time position in the small SYC IT Team of three, managed by Rick Watson, who was a mentor for Adam.
“I looked forward to coming to work, I enjoyed what I did and I liked the people I worked with,” Adam said.
Due to the growth of SYC, Adam also had opportunities to grow his skills and responsibilities to become a Microsoft Certified professional. His job responsibility grew from being an IT Support Officer, to become a Systems and Network Administer, then IT Team Leader and also as Acting IT Manager, all by the time he was 25 years old.
Adam was referred to as “Young Adam” around SYC, as an acknowledgement that he had achieved a great deal at a young age.
In 2014, due to SYC’s expanding national footprint, its IT function was externalised. The period represented significant change for Adam. Adam moved to work with SYC’s technology partner Datacom as a WinTel Engineer, to provide support in Microsoft Window’s environment, which today encompasses many thousands of programs and applications.
Working for Datacom was Adam’s second job, after working for SYC for 13 years. This was a big step for Adam, yet his trajectory to senior team roles shows that he understands the technically aspects of his profession very well. While he works with many of Datacom’s client base, SYC is still a client account that Adam regularly supports, maintaining a connection with his first employer and SYC’s work.
This recognition highlighted his outstanding achievements in both developing and delivering youth specific programs at SYC, and also the insight and advice he shared with government and community groups.
Max was SYC’s Director from 1974 to 1984, but before this time he contributed to many areas of the organisation in a voluntary role. In 1972 Max worked under a Myer Foundation grant and developed an volunteer recruitment and training program that helped SYC utilize and integrate volunteers into its service delivery. By the time he was appointed as director in 1974, Max had an expansive understanding of both the organisation and the broader Youth Sector at that time.
Max had a structured and methodical approach to his work and wrote an expansive collection of research papers and education proposals on youth related service delivery. His education background included a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and History from the University of Adelaide and a post-graduate degree in Social Administration. This provided him with a broad knowledge of human behaviour and skills to research, question and evaluate processes and theories. Max grew up in a family that was committed to human welfare, which greatly influenced his personal values and sense of justice.
“I was raised in a family that was committed to supporting the needs of people less fortunate and this permeated my life”, Max said,
“I was very excited when I started work for SYC as it was an opportunity to bring together an area that I was passionate about, but also incorporate my area of study.”
Max had to be innovative in creating funding and resourcing opportunities for SYC, as government funding of human services delivered by the not-for-profit sector, was limited during the 1970’s and 80’s. Max was active in forming relationships with stakeholders and partnering with community groups, which was a fundamental aspect of SYC’s service delivery during this time. Examples of this included – The Mobile Information Van, donated by Rotary, Freemason’s Gardening Project, Apex Walkathons Fundraisers, 5AA telephone Information Line and much more.
“Every week I would speak to community groups to educate members and advocate for the needs of young people. I would invite them to become volunteers and financial supporters of SYC and these partnerships allowed us to expand our service delivery and support more young people needing our help. We were the voice for young people and they were coming straight to us for support, they weren’t approaching government departments,” Max said.
Providing young people with appropriate services was fundamental in Max’s approach to his work. By utilizing the Streetwork program Max was able to identify the array of issues young people were experiencing and design specific services and programs in response. These programs were documented and continually evaluated to monitor impact and outcomes.
“Research was a very important aspect of all the work we did at SYC. We needed to research existing programs to evaluate and expand services, it was key to implement new and innovative services, it was also fundamental to share with the community to educate them and also to justify funding and interest for SYC’s future,” Max said.
Max expanded the range of SYC’s services to have a greater and more meaningful impact on young people. After leaving SYC, he travelled to Canberra as a Consultant to the Commonwealth Government, which provided him with further opportunities to develop programs at a national level. In 1986 he was appointed Executive Director of the Children’s Welfare Association of Victoria and subsequently helped to establish the Kids Help Line Telephone Counselling Service in each State. A lot of the programs and structure Max implemented in SYC still remain today and his contribution has been a fundamental one to our 60 year history.