Community Schoolyard

SVA and United Way Australia have collaborated to help young people at Rooty Hill and Plumpton high schools to make more effective transitions into further education, training or employment.

Youth unemployment continues to be a persistent problem in Australia, reaching as high as 30% in some communities in Western Sydney. Around 20% of students at Rooty Hill High School and 10% at Plumpton High School are not in education or employment soon after finishing school, compared to a national benchmark of 6%. Also, many schools within Western Sydney are not coordinating effectively with support services to provide students with the support they need.

Venture mission

Community Schoolyard is working to increase economic participation among young people by working collaboratively across Western Sydney. It works with schools to better understand the transition of their students, with local employers to identify training pathways leading to jobs, and with a wide range of local service providers to better coordinate initiatives and achieve sustained outcomes for young people.

Goal of SVA partnership

SVA collaborated with United Way Australia (UWA) to deliver the Community Schoolyard project.

In partnership with the Department of Social Services (DSS) and Citi Foundation, SVA is implementing the Community Schoolyard project to support school students in Western Sydney make more effective post school transition towards further education, training or employment.

SVA support

SVA founded the Community Schoolyard venture in October 2015.

Case study - 'helping me get the skills I need'

At Rooty Hill High School in New South Wales, Community Schoolyard provides students with skills-building and mentoring opportunities which make the transition between school and work easier. Kelly, a year 12 student involved in the program, says it’s helped her gain the confidence required to look for a job and career in an industry she’s passionate about: business administration.

‘It was good to have different things thrown at me to consider, rather than to just get any job,’ she says.

‘I definitely feel more connected with the opportunities available to me and have learnt how to set goals and identify work opportunities.’

The program teaches students skills that those in more affluent areas might take for granted – how to prepare for an interview, how to talk about personal strengths, and to explain how skills might be applicable to an employer.

That support comes by exposing students like Kelly to mentors with professional careers who can provide career advice and guidance, networks these students might ordinarily have trouble accessing.

These volunteer mentors, from businesses including Kofax, Sydney Pacifica and Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre, talk to the students about how they began their careers, share their knowledge and experience, and encourage them to follow their dreams.

‘We had some fun, but they were so supportive of me,’ Kelly says. ‘I’d never met anyone like them before, so it was quite good to have this connection.

‘It’s been really good for helping me gain self-confidence, the skills I need, and to feel supported in my decisions.’