20 October 2023

Innovative 'Try a Trade' program empowers young offenders to find career paths

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Steve Whan

Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Steve Whan said the program provided many opportunities. Photo: Steven Whan.

A new collaborative initiative offers young Riverina people in custody a valuable opportunity to acquire new skills, facilitating their reintegration into the community.

The ‘Try a Trade’ program is a joint initiative run by Youth Justice NSW and Training Services NSW and provides young people around the state the opportunity to try a range of trades, including bricklaying, plastering, barbering, mechanics, carpentry, warehousing and plumbing.

Local businesses have volunteered to teach participants a range of skills to build connections with a potential new workforce.

One of the Try a Trade sessions was held at Riverina Youth Justice Centre, where five businesses across different trades visited the centre to teach a range of skills, including plumbing, carpentry, painting, traffic control and mechanics.

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As a result of two Try a Trade sessions in the state, including in the Riverina, 10 young people have gained employment in their chosen pathway. At the same time, two of them have commenced their apprenticeships, and more than 30 young people have identified a trade as a career option when they previously hadn’t planned to do so.

“A key focus for Youth Justice is supporting young people to transition from custody back into the community,” Minister for Youth Justice Jihad Dib said.

“The Try a Trade days not only allow young people to sample a few trade options and learn some new skills, but they also help them build community connections and links that will still be there when they leave custody.

“This is a great initiative because it finds a way to upskill young people for their reintegration into the community, and the success stories we have heard so far show it is working.”

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Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Steve Whan said providing young people training and a career was critical to setting them on a more positive path in their lives.

“Initiatives like the Try a Trade program provide a real opportunity to engage in life-changing educational opportunities,” Minister Whan said.

The first Try a Trade session was held at Cobham Youth Justice Centre, with 10 workshops across a range of trades, including carpentry, painting, and landscaping. The second workshop was held in the Riverina.

Try a Trade Day workshops will be held across all six Youth Justice Centres statewide until the end of 2023.

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