Regional Youth Traineeship Program
2015 - 2019 Program Summary
Like many regional areas across Australia, regional South Australia experiences high youth unemployment, as well as a ‘brain drain’, with many of its young people moving away from regional areas to Adelaide or interstate in search of education and employment opportunities.
The Regional Youth Traineeship Program (RYTP) was introduced to help combat some of these issues with training and employment opportunities in local government.
The program was initially announced in July 2015, by the then Minister for Regional Development as part of the then State Government’s $10M Jobs Accelerator Fund.
There have been two rounds of program support funding of a total of $4m for traineeship opportunities. Round One of RYTP ran from 2015 to 2017 and Round Two of the program ended in April (with a final report in August 2019).
Funding was provided by the Government of South Australia, administered by PIRSA, and coordinated and delivered by the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA). The LGA employed a full-time RYTP Coordinator to deliver on the objectives of the program and manage day-to-day activity.
The traineeship funding provided a wage subsidy of $14,500 per year for up to two years for each trainee position.
Traineeship positions were offered across SA Regional Councils, Outback Communities Authority and Yalata Community Council (hereon collectively referred to as councils).
Only councils based in non-metropolitan Adelaide were eligible to apply for funding under the Regional Youth Traineeship Program
Trainees needed to meet specific criteria, including;
- being either unemployed or have never been employed on a permanent basis for longer than 6 months
- were aged between 17 to 24 years
- were regional South Australian residents, and;
- Held an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) vocational qualification no higher than a Certificate III.
Trainees undertook a Certificate III qualification in this program, which generally met the skills needs of the councils.
Payment of the agreed funding to councils for employing trainee(s) for the two year period was made through the LGA. Payment to councils was based on the date the contract of training was signed and was subject to the provision of evidence to support that the Traineeship was being conducted in accordance with the Program criteria.
RYTP – summary outcomes
- Strong participation and high qualification completion rates (80% in Round 1 and 90% in Round 2 achieved at least one Certificate III qualification). Compared to the South Australian completion rate of 53% (according to data from the National Centre for Vocational Education and Training Research, 2018).
- Strong employment rates post completion (over 80% for both Round 1 and Round 2)
Round One – outcomes
- 37 regional Councils participated in Round One.
- 74 unemployed young people commenced a traineeship
- 59 young people gained a Certificate III qualification
- 80% of participants who started the RYTP in round 1 completed at least one qualification
- 8 trainees completed more than one qualification
- The most common qualifications undertaken were in business, administration, horticulture, and civil construction and plant operations.
- 52 trainees (88%) achieved on-going employment post completion of the program.
- 35 employed in council
- 17 obtained jobs elsewhere
- 3 trainees didn’t complete their qualification yet secured permanent employment in their community
Round Two - outcomes
- 38 regional Councils participated in Round Two (18 Councils supported two or more trainee positions)
- 68 unemployed youth commenced a traineeship
- 90% of participants in Round 2 completed at least one qualification.
- 61 trainees (89.71%) achieved on-going employment post completion of the program.
- 45 are employed full-time for councils (74%);
- 12 employed full-time outside of local government (20%); and
- 4 working part-time for council and completing further study (6%).
The LGA Program Coordinator promoted the program to prospective councils advising them of its purpose, council eligibility and trainee selection criteria, including WHS, Award obligations, funding approval procedures and timeframes.
Gender, ethnic and cultural diversity in the selection of trainees was promoted with a preference in weighting to those that had not been previously employed. Councils were made aware of additional funding available to them applicable to the recruitment of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander candidates.
Councils submitted applications for the funding which were reviewed by the LGA to ensure that they complied with the Deed selection criteria. Successful councils were advised and trainee employment processes commenced. A funding agreement was executed between the LGA and each participating council.
The LGA Program Coordinator assisted councils with recruitment processes where required. LGA ensured that councils were registered with the South Australian Training Skills Commission as an approved provider of traineeships. Councils were advised, where needed, the most appropriate, accessible and relevant Registered Training Organisation to support the nominated training. The Registered Training Organisations used for the RYTP program met the national training qualification requirements.
The LGA Program Coordinator role was fundamental in:
- Providing support to councils in determining their traineeship needs.
- Building effective working relationships with host councils
- Assisting with recruitment (where required)
- On-going communication and liaison with trainees and host Councils
- Council’s registration with the South Australian Training Skills Commission and liaison and access to relevant Registered Training Organisations.
- On-going liaison with state and regional Registered Training Organisations
- Aligning eligibility criteria to State and Commonwealth funded programs to ensure councils received the incentives available was important for small regional councils.
- Supporting trainees from their commencement and offering on-going mentor support
- Providing and delivering customised induction programs and capability workshops for trainees in regional areas.
Two significant programs led by the LGA Program Coordinator for trainees included:
- ‘Welcome to Local Government Inductions’ in 10 regional areas and
- ‘LGA Capability Building Workshops’ delivered in 6 locations across the state. Reimbursement for travel expenses were offered for trainees to attend these programs.
Satisfaction surveys were undertaken by the LGA Program Coordinator as part of the Program Funding Deed. The purpose of the surveys was to gauge whether councils and trainees were satisfied with the Program and to identify issues that needed to be addressed or improved. Consistently the Program has shown very high satisfaction ratings from both council staff and trainees. Satisfaction ratings were defined as 1 = Least Satisfied, 10 = Most Satisfied.
The following table depicts the ratings received from council staff over both rounds of the Regional youth Traineeship Program, Rounds 1 and 2.
The success of the Regional Youth Traineeship Program can be attributed to:
- Strong interest from councils and trainees
- Committed Program Coordinator and host Councils
- Program culture of inquiry and continuous improvement
- Strength of the cross-government partnership.
The outcomes have demonstrated:
- Tangible educational and employment outcomes for youth in regional communities
- Broader benefits in contributing to economic, social and cultural outcomes and supporting sustainable regional communities.
The central coordination of the program with supported outreach to regional communities provided a pathway for young people to obtain a traineeship and ultimately employment. It is a significant achievement and affirms the value of state and local government partnerships. The program demonstrates a successful model that could be expanded to achieve on-going trainee and employment outcomes in regional South Australia.