Transition to Independence – a service coordination approach

The Transition to Independence (TTI) project took place over four-years; commencing in 2012 and finishing in 2015. The project was focused upon an opportunity to streamline support service delivery to maximise the outcomes achieved for a group of highly marginalised young people of African background.

Funding for the project was provided by the Victorian Multicultural Commission, the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development, BMLLEN and MMVLLEN.


A little background…

The western region provides a comprehensive range of support services to assist young people in overcoming the barriers to staying connected to education, training and employment. It also offers a wide range of training and education opportunities provided by vocational and registered training organisations (RTOs). However, a number of challenges usually exist which sub optimise what can be achieved:

  • young people generally experience difficulty locating support themselves, and are unaware of the alternate pathways available to them to engage with training and education
  • support service organisations typically work in isolation of one another with no one organisation responsible for ‘whole person’ outcomes. There is limited sharing of information between local service providers and larger government agencies.
  • Not-for-profit, non-government service providers usually operate under contracts funded by external bodies and frequently compete for funding. This limits what can be provided.
  • There are multiple intake and assessment processes, and numerous constraints as to who can receive support (e.g. age, residential address, parental income, and the length of time in Australia).

In April 2012, a group of African Australian young men were identified as a potential cohort for the trialling of the integrated service model. The group, comprising as many as 60 youth were between the ages of 14 and 30 years old had complex needs, facing multiple barriers to social, educational and economic participation. They had recently been displaced by the initiation of major infrastructure works in a park in Footscray, where they had been congregating and were transient across the municipal areas of Maribyrnong and Brimbank.

What was the aim of the project?

The purpose of the four-year project was to develop and trial an integrated service delivery model; to provide streamlined and coordinated support services to a group of disengaged transient African-Australian young people, located in the west of Melbourne.

The coordinated approach was to overcome many of the problems associated with the current system of providing support to at-risk young people, and increase the accessibility of services, training and education opportunities needed to achieve meaningful employment.

Who was involved?

The Transition to Independence (TTI) project was coordinated by the Maribyrnong and Moonee Valley Local Learning and Employment Network (MMVLLEN) in partnership with:

  • Maribyrnong and Moonee Valley Local Learning and Employment Network (MMVLLEN)
  • Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC)
  • Victoria Police (Community Liaison Unit)
  • Maribyrnong City Council Youth Services (MCYS)
  • Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY)
  • Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS)
  • CoHealth
  • Australian Migrant Education Services (AMES) – Education
  • Australian Migrant Employment Services (AMES) – Employment (jobactive)

Additional stakeholders were approached and further partnerships formed as support and training needs were identified with the Department of Justice, YSAS Alcohol and Other Drug rehabilitation service, CMY Young African Men’s Project (YAMP), Youth Junction Inc. Youth Community and Law Program, Cohealth/WRHC Homeless Support Team and Job Services Australia.

The project aligned with, and informed, the Maribyrnong Council’s Youth Strategy in partnership with the Maribyrnong Alliance for Young People. The Youth Strategy was key to fulfilling the commitments of the Council Plan 2009-2013.

What was achieved?

Much was learned about an integrated approach to support service delivery including:

  1. Investing sufficient resources and time to allow for the development of mutual trusting relationships with the young people and consulting with them throughout the project. Developing a sound understanding their needs, identifying barriers and tailoring the support and training to meet these needs. Establishing a ‘Drop in’ space to engage and enable the provision of case management and outreach support.
  2. The importance of establishing a steering committee, agreeing clear roles, responsibilities and lines of authority to underpin collaborative partnerships and ensure alignment of effort and the commitment necessary to oversee the project, monitor the achievement of objectives, and remove barriers to success.
  3. Building the capacity and ownership of frontline workers, and supporting their wellbeing while working with disadvantaged young people.

We also identified opportunities to inform the continual improvement of our partnering and project management processes.

How can I find out more?

The TTI project raises important questions for the future and the system of providing support to a growing number of disengaged youth.

To find out more about the TTI project please contact the MMVLLEN office or download TTI Project Review Summary Report.

To find out how to partner with us on other projects click here.

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