Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support programs

yourtown provides Indigenous employment and wellbeing programs that create community engagement and job opportunities.

Who we help

yourtown is committed to engaging, strengthening and building equal partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, their extended families and communities.

Balgo is a remote Aboriginal desert community in the East Kimberly region of Western Australia. Art works from Balgo are prized and the community boasts a world renowned Art Centre. However, the 600 or so residents of Balgo must deal with issues related to remoteness and isolation.

In partnership with the local Wirrimanu Aboriginal Corporation, yourtown delivers a range of activities designed to improve the lives of the children, young people and families of Balgo.

The local playgroup (Early Learning Program) provides a structured early learning environment for the pre-schoolers of Balgo, while at the same time developing parenting skills within the families of the community.

The Youth Development Program featured organised sports and adventure activities, BBQ's and movie nights, designed to encourage participation and team work, and build the resilience and the self-esteem of the young people of Balgo.

yourtown also facilitates the youth offenders program in the community, focusing on reducing reoffending and promoting rehabilitation. This involved supervising the improvement of community facilities that enabled young people to complete youth justice orders.

This year, 230 people participated in the Balgo activities.

Indigenous Youth Engagement and Transitions Program (IYET)

IYET works with Indigenous students aged 15-18 years who are identified as at high risk of early school leaving to re-engage in learning and complete their formal education.

IYET provides structured mentoring by a qualified Indigenous mentor who works with the young person to access the necessary support to remain engaged in school and successfully transition into further education or employment, including school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.  

We do this by:

  • uncovering reasons for disengagement, including diagnostic testing to identify barriers to learning
  • career counselling
  • a personalised plan matched to individual needs, interests and aspirations
  • specialist referrals to address personal, health and social issues
  • personal and life skills to improve self-confidence and interpersonal skills
  • building cultural education and connection into learning activities to help build pride in cultural heritage
  • literacy/numeracy programs and individual tutoring
  • help transitioning to the next phase of learning, either through formal education, further training or employment.

The program is run in South East Queensland and is funded by the Federal Government.

This year, 87 students took part in the program.


yourtown Trainee

In Maddy’s words…

“I was handed a survey to fill out which asked for my interests and hobbies. Five months after completing it and not having thought any more about it, I got a call from Cassie, an IYET mentor, asking if I would be interested in a Business Administration Traineeship at yourtown. Of course, I said yes!

I’d never had a job before so I didn’t know what to expect when I started here. Without a doubt, my experience with yourtown has been a positive and memorable one.

The things I’ve learnt whilst at yourtown seem endless. Not only have my skills and knowledge grown but I have grown as a person too. I was very shy when I first started but the support and encouragement from my supervisor and teammates has been amazing. I feel more confident now, particularly when communicating with my teammates and other colleagues. I've improved my computer knowledge and excelled in my ability to use a variety of different software programs."

"The support offered by team members at yourtown has been beyond terrific.”

- Maddie

Today, Maddison is 18 years old and is working full-time in customer service and sales for a manufacturer and supplier of PVC piping. She has been taking driving lessons and is working towards going for her licence in the next month or so. 

Indigenous School Based Traineeship Program (SBT)

SBT works with Indigenous senior school students to secure and complete school-based apprenticeships and traineeships, and make a successful transition from school to work.  

The program aims to reduce early school leaving and improve attendance, attainment and completion rates among Indigenous students and increase the number of young Indigenous people who successfully transition from school to work.

Our Indigenous mentors work with young people to understand issues confronting Indigenous students and help them draw on existing individual, familial and the community strengths to further strengthen cultural identity, kinship and relationships.  

We maintain partnerships with employers and industry to:

  • identify skills-in-demand
  • create structured entry level training opportunities for young Indigenous people in industries that offer career advancement prospects
  • ensure successful completion of training
  • provide placement and post placement support to ensure retention in employment.

The program is run in South East Queensland and is funded by the Federal Government.

This year, 96 students took part in the program.

Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC)

In partnership with the Federal Government and GenerationOne, yourtown’s Vocational Training and Employment Centre provides tailored pre-employment training, personal mentoring and job placement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Many employers want to expand their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce and many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want to work. However, employers sometimes have difficulty connecting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander jobseekers who are work and job ready.

The VTEC mentoring program is designed to prepare and support Indigenous Australians into sustainable employment, whilst supporting the employer with cultural understanding.

We work with employers to identify their labour needs and to secure placement opportunities and provide practical work preparation programs to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people meet employer requirements. We do this by offering ongoing personal support, mentoring and coaching to help them achieve great outcomes.

The program is run in South East Queensland and is funded by the Federal Government and is based on the GenerationOne model.

This year, 213 people took part in the program. 

“Nothing is more rewarding than to see someone’s life turn around by gaining full-time employment. Generational unemployment is real. Closing the gap through employment and training is a realistic obtainable target.”

- Dean Brunker
Indigenous Client Services Manager
03 What we do