The SYC Youth Impact Project recently held its final session at Old Parliament House where young participants had the opportunity to question prominent South Australian politicians on key issues identified over the six month program in a bid to influence youth related public policy.

The program combined representatives from four Adelaide schools (two Independent and two Government), and SYC’s Alternative Learning Program in the lead up to the 2018 South Australian Election to engage their voices and opinions.

After learning the fundamentals about the workings of Government and public policy, the student group examined a range of current issues and challenges facing young South Australians, before choosing to focus on two key issues of concern to them and prepare position papers on both.

The key papers created were:

SYC Director for Young People and Practice, Liz O’Connell, lead the project and was impressed by the quality and insight included in the key position papers and has been overwhelmed with positive feedback from participants and their schools.

“I am proud to have worked with all the students involved in SYC’s Youth IMPACT Project,” Liz said.

“The opinions and ideas they raised and debated in their focus groups were insightful and provided a basis for the creation of thorough and youth specific key papers, which are of a very high standard.

“Hon Susan Close MP, Hon Michelle Lensink MLC and Tammy Franks Greens MLC are all equally impressed with the questions posed to them at the Q and A session at Old Parliament House and this provided them with the opportunity to look at mental health and substance abuse issues from young peoples’ perspectives,” she said.


Roma Mitchell student, Afisa, found the experience a great opportunity to connect with people from different cultures and backgrounds to see issues from different perspectives.

“Some people have very different mindsets considering where they’re brought up, where they’ve come from, what experiences they have and then you see all of these and you put them together and your just like, oh,  it’s a whole new perspective,” Afisa said.

Scotch College participant Oscar improved his communications skills through the program and now believes that young people can have an impact in politics.

“After this course I do believe I’ve picked up quite a few people skills, and abilities to think about different issues from a different perspective. I believe I can help make an impact, it’s shown me what people our age in a group can really achieve,” Oscar said.

Plans are in place for the next SYC IMPACT Project to provide more young Australians with the opportunity to have their say on public policy and issues affecting young people.