The Y4Y Youth Force, a groundbreaking youth employment program developed by Whitelion and Nous Group, has been named a finalist in the 2020 Victorian Premier’s Design Awards in the Service Design category.

Y4Y supports young jobseekers with employment barriers to build skills, motivation and experience in order to increase their employability. Y4Y combines formal training with gig economy experiences to provide a stepping stone to employment.

Nous and Whitelion co-developed Y4Y alongside at-risk young people, drawing on their insights and life experiences to build a program that speaks to them rather than at them. This was supported by extensive market research and analysis of the youth labour market to build a business case for the program.

The result was a service design that diverges considerably from traditional employment programs. Y4Y is geared towards enabling young people to access short-term task-based job opportunities online. These tasks are the first steps on the employment journey and are enabled by a nurturing group work environment led by young people.

A survey of participants after the program revealed that Y4Y had a significant impact on the lives of the young people that participated:

  • 75 per cent of participants have gone on to some form of employment or education after completing the program.
  • 80 per cent of participants reported moderate or full achievement of goals related to skill development, information, work readiness and confidence to make decisions.
  • Y4Y was highly regarded by participants, who overwhelmingly and consistently reported that the program was enjoyable and useful to build skills, motivation and employability.
  • The program improved over time through better service design from the direct feedback and guidance of young people.

Y4Y Youth Force was supported by Nous consultants Zac Ashkanasy, Kirsty Elderton, Ned Lis-Clarke and Jonathan Yeates.

The winners of the Victorian Premier’s Design Awards will be announced on 31 March 2021. Y4Y has previously received a Good Design Award.