750 vulnerable Australians aged between 16 and 21 will participate in workshops and group counselling services to address barriers to finding a job through a $1.09 million in funding from the Morrison Government.

The Dependence to Independence project will help young people in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria find a job by providing the opportunity to participate in workshops and support meetings.

Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher said the workshops will be tailored to each young persons individual circumstances and help them to develop the life skills to find a job or pursue further study.

“The emotional needs and barriers to employment for young people at risk of long-term unemployment are varied, but they can include disengagement from education, family breakdowns, history of abuse, drug and alcohol misuse, family instability including living in out-of-home care, and experiences with the juvenile justice system,” Mr Fletcher said.

“Our Liberal National Government is committed to giving anyone who wants to have a go, a fair go, and supporting our young people into finding their first job is a perfect example of having a go,” said Mr Fletcher.

Dependence to Independence will help participants to identify what is holding them back from finding and keeping a job, and encourage them to take positive steps in the right direction by increasing their communication, social and emotional skills, self control and resilience

Liberal Candidate for Lindsay, Melissa McIntosh welcomed the announcement for Western Sydney and said that project graduates who wish to become peer mentors will also be offered further training in leadership and facilitations skills.

“These graduates will go on to lead the support workshops and meetings for future participants,” Ms McIntosh said.

Dependence to Independence will be delivered by Youth Insearch, a community organisation based in North West Sydney that has been running youth intervention and peer mentoring programs since 1985.

CEO Heath Ducker said connecting teens with appropriate role models plays a critical role in dealing with trauma and empowering young people to take responsibility for their futures.

“This project is about showing young people, particularly those who’ve had a troubled start to life, what they can do with the right tools to turn their lives around.

“It’s not just about skills development, it’s about encouraging young people to support their peers and work towards changing attitudes and outcomes together to break the cycle of welfare dependency,” Mr Ducker said.

Dependence to Independence is supported under the Australia Government’s $96.1 million Try, Test and Learn Fund that is trialling innovative ways to improve the lives of Australians identified as being at risk of long-term welfare dependency.