Youthworx is a project of Youth Development Australia, a public benevolent institution created by a group of leading thinkers and practitioners as a platform for change and a way of exploring, developing and trialing innovative youth initiatives.
After some initial promising trials based around radio production in 2002-3 the project struggled to attract support until the Salvation Army provided some seed funding that allowed Youthworx to establish a home in Brunswick in 2008 within a converted factory. Under the guidance of founding Manager Jon Staley and on the back of initial cross sectoral partnerships (SYN, SALVATION ARMY, NMIT Tafe now MELBOURNE POLYTECHNIC, SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY) the project quickly gathered momentum and began establishing programs that could work effectively with the most marginalized young people in the community.
From day one Youthworx has been fuelled by seeking to have a creative, innovative response to the issue of youth homelessness and disadavantage. All of the outcomes at Youthworx have come from asking the question ‘how do we effectively use creative media production/engagement to transform the life possibilities of the most vulnerable young people?’ In response to this question Youthworx has gone on to establish a sustainable social enterprise model that seeks to marry the creative with the commercial.
You can learn more about the development and evolution of Youthworx from an academic perspective at the following links:
The Youthworx model has a number of key principles that are the foundation of our success in working effectively with the most vulnerable young people within our community. These principles are based around providing an environment conducive to bringing out the best in people by drawing on their creativity and giving them the tools to be articulate in their experience of the world. This is then backed up by providing a pathway into employment within a production business where the creative can become the commercial, where the creative skills can put food on the table.
Some key elements of the Youthworx model are as follows:
- Capacity for sustained engagement/pathways (12months -2years)
- Small class size (15-18)
- Multi layered staffing structure (Teacher, Youth Worker & Industry Professional)
- Strengths based approach to learning
- Studio style collaborative teaching/learning space
- Inclusive aspirational culture
- High quality industry standard resources/equipment
- Teaching (& learning) methodology – competency based assessment, practical hands on learning in a collaborative context with public ‘media’ outcomes
- Individualised pathway support
- Creative to commercial – opportunity to work in a professional production business
Youthworx is made up of a multi-disciplinary team of staff passionate about inclusion and sharing knowledge. Youth Workers, Teachers, Industry Professionals, Management Staff work alongside Young Producers coming through at a rate of knots who are not only involved in the production of content but also play a key role in organizational decision making and development.
Jon Staley is a Producer, Writer, Director and Social Entrepreneur and has been involved in establishing Youthworx from scratch – taking the seed idea of using creative media to engage highly marginalised young people and building a sustainable social enterprise model.
Business Support Manager
Prior to Youthworx, Damira worked at Doutta Galla Community Health Service for 13 years and Headway Victoria for 3 years. She has been with Youthworx since October 2010 in a part time capacity. She is also currently Finance Manager at JOY 94.9 FM.
After many years leading not for profit organisation Dignity Financial Services Marj retired to travel the world and lend her considerable skills and experience to supporting a number of organisations as a volunteer.
Business Development Coordinator
Bessie Byrne is a Social Impact Documentary Filmmaker with experience in a diverse range of media roles. She is a long term environmental activist and advocate for social justice.
Hayden is an award-winning filmmaker from Melbourne, producing content with Youthworx since 2011, Hayden’s most recent work includes the score for our film Brown Paper Bag, for which he also produced & directed The Making of Brown Paper Bag…
Community Engagement Facilitator
Lesley is an experienced filmmaker, arts coordinator and participatory workshop facilitator. She is passionate about community and collaborative filmmaking and is particularly interested in engaging with marginalised communities.
Damien is a photographer, media producer, illustrator, designer, and teacher with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, a Diploma of Secondary Education, and a Certificate IV in Design.
David is a video artist, freelance filmmaker and media trainer/mentor. He has a Masters degree in Media Arts from UNSW and has worked across the disciplines of video art, documentary and collaborative media for over ten years.
Matt is a Photographer, filmmaker and IT specialist who has been working at Youthworx since 2014 in a number of different roles including as the Primary IT administrator.
Callum is both a Filmmaker and a Youth Worker, who has a passion for incorporating these two areas of interest into a wide range of projects. He has volunteered and gradually became an integral member for a variety of social minded organisations and charities.
Scott is a young filmmaker, who has been with Youthworx for over 12 months. He started as a student in Youthworx Media learning and studying a certificate 2 and 3 creative industries (media).
Amelia is a filmmaker, artist and photographer who has been working at Youthworx since 2014. They originally started as a trainee after completing their Cert III at Youthworx Media, before becoming a permanent employee six months later.
Chris studied at Youthworx Media for his Certificate III in Screen and Media and had graduated from Youthworx Media in 2018 and has been with the team here at Youthworx Production ever since.
Nathaniel recently graduated from Youthworx Media receiving his Certificate III in Screen and Media. He has recently been employed by Youthworx Productions as a Productions Assistant and is excited to work and continue learning.