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A Case for Change: Recommendations from the My First Job European Study Tour

  • Aug 17, 2016
With funding from the Macquarie Group Foundation’s biennial David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship  SYC undertook the My First Job European Study Tour to explore the policies, services, culture and structures in Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom that support young people to successfully transition from learning to working. What we found was a strong training culture that focused on multiple pathways so no young person was left behind. The question now is how do we adapt the European model to an Australian context?

With clear goals at the outset of the tour, to identify and understand how European models can provide appropriate and quality training to young Australians as they transition to work and to find ways My First Job supporters can contribute to policy development to improve youth employment outcomes, three key recommendations were identified from the tour:

Study Tour Infographic

Career conversations, changes to traineeships and the expansion of flexible learning pathways were all identified as findings that could be applied to an Australian context. They each focus on providing young people more access to the world of work at an early age and work to create more flexible options to help young people complete their education or find employment. How we shape and implement these recommendations in Australia becomes the next part of the process. Already we have begun communicating these findings, and how they apply to Australia, to influence discussion and debate at the recent FutureGen and NESA conferences.

The findings are also influencing the way we build new programs at SYC. When conversations with one of the UK’s largest employment providers revealed that a young person can experience four to seven different jobs in their first year of work before they settle into a steady job and success is more about young people remaining in work, with as few breaks in between jobs as possible, we began thinking about how to support a young person during that first year.

This experience led us to develop the Sticking Together Pilot Project which will trial in Australia next year. If we can support a young person to maximise their work (irrespective of the number of jobs or pay rates) over the course of an entire year, then we can create a feeling of success for a young person, rather than viewing multiple jobs as “job hopping” or a failure to connect with the labour force. The project is part of our change in focus from talking about how do we get more young people into jobs to how do we get more young people working.

Once again, thank you to the Macquarie Group Foundation’s David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship for providing the funding that enabled us to undertake the My First Job European Study Tour. For further information on our experiences on the tour you can read our My First Job European Study Tour blog.


The My First Job European Study Tour was funded thanks to the Macquarie Group Foundations David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship. Applications are now open for the 2016 David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship which recognises, promotes and rewards ideas that address social needs, and encourage lateral thinking on community issues. Fellowships are presented biennially to CEOs of non-profit organisations in Australia, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and selected US cities.  The 2016 Fellowship winner in Australia will receive a grant of up to $A20,000 (payable to their non-profit organisation) to cover airfares, accommodation and other costs associated with an international trip/s (proposed by each applicant) to visit and research best practice social innovation in their field. Applications close on 9 September 2016.