A Tasmanian social enterprise-based employment program for young people who are disengaged from education and at risk of long-term unemployment will launch its first evaluation report today.
The youth employment initiative Troublesmiths, aimed at 15 to 24-year olds, is delivered by Impact Communities, a social impact initiative of the Tasmanian not-for-profit organisation Workskills Inc.
Impact Communities Manager Mark Boonstra said the program was funded to operate in Hobart, for youth participants from across Southern Tasmania, between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2019, by the Australian Government as an Empowering Youth Initiative.
Initially called the Youth Entrepreneurial Service, Mr Boonstra said the program was changed to ‘Troublesmiths’ as part of a rebranding exercise driven by the youth participants.
“The concept behind the new name is that all the youth participants come to the program with some kind of ‘trouble’, and then make or ‘smith’ their challenges into opportunities,” he said.
The report highlighted how Troublesmiths helped its 146 participants over the two-year period through one-on-one and group coaching, work experience, job placement, training and/or further education, and support to stay in work through employment and apprenticeship programs and incentives.
“The core focus of participation in Troublesmiths is to gain paid work or commence formal education and/or training,” Mr Boonstra said.
“The program takes participants through three domains – work readiness, personal development and social enterprise activity.”
Troublesmiths participant Ellie Ransom said the program gave her the skills to integrate back into society.
Through the program, Ellie received a range of skills working in the Troublesmiths store, including sales, manufacturing and customer service.
“I know that its (the program) helped me incredibly and I think it’s important that other people get the same opportunity,” Ellie said.
“I’ve noticed a huge difference in myself. I’m more confident, a lot more bubbly and I’m happier.
“Troublesmiths has really helped me to become the best version of myself. It’s been a very positive and uplifting experience; I’m grateful for it.”
Institute for the Study of Social Change Director Professor Richard Eccleston said the report was an important collaboration between the University of Tasmania, Impact Communities and Workskills Inc.
Professor Eccleston said the report also showcased updated data on the ways Troublesmiths might continue to offer opportunities to young Tasmanians.
“The Institute is proud to support a social impact initiative such as Troublesmiths, which supports young Tasmanians to not only gain the necessary work skills but to believe in themselves.
“Our evaluation highlighted how working in a real-world social enterprise empowered participants by enabling them to contribute to their community.”
The Troublesmiths report can also be viewed here.
Pictured: Ellie Ransom and Braydon Price in the Troublesmiths store.