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Why Youth Workers will be vital in “Closing the Gap”

Why Youth Workers will be vital in Closing the Gap

All State and Territory governments have lent their support to a refreshed Closing the Gap plan, which sets out 16 ambitious targets to tackling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage in Australia.

Among the 16 targets, based on 4 key reform areas, Closing the Gap addresses issues faced by Indigenous young people including:

  • High youth detention rates
  • Education outcomes
  • Out-of-home care
  • Housing
  • Mental health, domestic violence and suicide

Youth Workers in Australia have their work cut out to reverse more than a decade of slow progress under the previous Closing the Gap plan. However, with dedication and empathy, genuine improvement is possible: and that’s exactly why we expect to see rising interest in our Diploma of Youth Work course.

Why Youth Workers will be kept busy by the new plan

Whether as a Case Worker, Indigenous Youth Worker, Program Manager, Community Development Worker or in any of the other roles working directly with Indigenous young people, Youth Workers help individuals and communities to find their feet in the deep waters of disadvantage.

  • Advocating for young people in the justice system
  • Working one-on-one with young people experiencing personal, social, schooling or family troubles
  • Counselling young people in a mental health crisis
  • Helping individuals, families and communities tackle problems related to alcohol and drugs

Addressing long-running issues in education, youth justice, mental health and social welfare is not easy. But it is worthwhile.

The positive impact Youth Workers make on the people around them cannot be overstated, and without a doubt, these impassioned and empathetic people will play a crucial role in Closing the Gap by 2031.

How to become a Youth Worker

Many, if not most, of our Diploma of Youth Work graduates were inspired to put their energy towards supporting disadvantaged young people either by their own experience, the experience of someone in their community, or an innate drive to improve their community.

Learning how to mentor and support young people is just one aspect of the Diploma of Youth Work. The 12-month course also covers:

  • Building relationships with young people, families and communities
  • Fostering healthy and positive life outcomes (such as those set out in Closing the Gap)
  • Developing and implementing effective service programs
  • Providing tailored support for young people in response to their needs

Closing the Gap is a wide-ranging, collaborative and important plan. To achieve the desired outcomes by 2031 will require a redoubled effort by the Australian Community Services sector, especially Youth Workers.

Explore our nationally-recognised Diploma of Youth Work to learn how your innate enthusiasm and learned skills can genuinely improve the lives of Indigenous young people in Australia.

Closing the Gap targets

  1. Close the Gap in life expectancy within a generation, by 2031
  2. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies with a healthy birthweight to 91 per cent
  3. By 2025, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in Year Before Fulltime Schooling (YBFS) early childhood education to 95 per cent
  4. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children assessed as developmentally on track in all five domains of the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) to 55 per cent
  5. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (age 20-24) attaining year 12 or equivalent qualification to 96 per cent
  6. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25-34 years who have completed a tertiary qualification (Certificate III and above) to 70 per cent
  7. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth (15–24 years) who are in employment, education or training to 67 per cent
  8. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25–64 who are employed to 62 per cent
  9. By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in appropriately sized (not overcrowded) housing to 88 per cent
  10. By 2031, reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults held in incarceration by at least 15 per cent
  11. By 2031, reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (10-17 years) in detention by at least 15 per cent
  12. By 2031, reduce the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45 per cent
  13. A significant and sustained reduction in violence and abuse against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children towards zero
  14. Significant and sustained reduction in suicide of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people towards zero
  15. a) By 2030, a 15 per cent increase in Australia’s landmass subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests
  16. b) By 2030, a 15 per cent increase in areas covered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests in the sea
  17. By 2031, there is a sustained increase in number and strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages being spoken

Closing the Gap reforms

  1. Strengthen and establish formal partnerships and shared decision-making
  2. Build the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector
  3. Transform government organisations so they work better for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  4. Improve and share access to data and information to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities make informed decisions.

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