Toggle navigation

Engagement & Opportunity


New initiative to encourage girls to take up science and technology careers



Science 50:50 is the name of a recently launched initiative by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), which aims to get a much higher percentage of girls to take up science-related study and careers.

The Science 50:50 initiative is based on the premise that if half the population is female, then half of our scientists should also be female. It will provide university scholarships, mentoring, industry experience and networking opportunities for young women. The launch of Science 50:50 coincided with a Women in Science symposium at which leaders from Australian industry spoke and answered questions from budding scientists.

Professor Veena Sahajwalla from UNSW leads the Science 50:50 initiative, which is supported by her Australian Research Council Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellowship, along with industry and science partners.

For more visit the Science 50:50 website.

Source:media release from Medianet, 4 March 2023.

The best entrepreneurs recognised for their achievements!


The 2023 Social Enterprise Awards are currently accepting entries; while these awards are not youth-specific, social enterprises are key organisations providing work for young Australians and for the disadvantaged who may not otherwise be able to secure work.

Past winners have included STREAT, Resource Recovery and Thank You Water, all of which work to employ young people and those who have experienced disadvantage.

For more details and to enter, go to: Entries for these awards close on 27 March 2023. The finalists will be announced in April, and awards presented to the winners in June.

(Source: email from Social Traders, 3 March 2023.)

What it takes to motivate a young voter



A report published in late December in the UK has taken a long, hard look at the voting intentions and motivation of young people in the upcoming UK General Election (May 2023), and its findings could provide useful information for other democracies that are struggling to get young voters into the polling booths.

According to the report, Tune in, turn out, published by think tank Demos, young people aged 18 to 25 in the UK are very clear about what they want and what they are concerned about: ‘clear policies that tackle unemployment, affordable housing, living costs, the cost of education and mental health’. And they also want the behaviour of MPs to improve, along with greater use of social media by political parties to communicate their policies to the electorate.

Disengagement from traditional politics has been a growing problem across Western countries; it is due to young people’s ‘disillusionment with politicians and political parties’, and the fact that young people feel ignored by most politicians’ policies. Yet Scotland and the US are two countries where young people have recently made their presence felt at the ballot box. So there is hope that the situation will turn around.

More than 1,000 young people were surveyed for the Demos research; the views of two focus groups were also included. The three most popular policies for young people were improving job and apprenticeship prospects, reducing the cost of higher education and raising the national minimum wage. The importance of social media to engage young people in politics was stressed as was the fact that it is hard to pigeonhole young people along any traditional party political lines. This Demos report is well worth reading if you are involved with research into voting intentions among younger people.

Download in, turn out (110 pages), which was published on 29 December 2014.

Source:Demos website, viewed 5 March 2023.

YACVic celebrates opening of its new youth mentoring hub!



An online space that gives Victorians all the information they need to set up youth mentoring partnerships in that state is now open for business.

The Youth Mentoring Hub, which was opened recently by Victoria’s Minister for Youth Affairs, Jenny Mikakos, contains resources ranging from best practice templates to mentor training packages to practical advice from youth mentoring coordinators.

The navigation in this online space is easy to use and information is well laid out. Statistics from the 2011 Realising their potential: A survey of young people in youth mentoring report are usefully displayed under a Benefits of Youth Monitoring page; positive outcomes for young people from mentoring include the fact that 90% of mentees said they had a clearer idea of what they wanted to do in the future after being part of a mentoring program. There is a large amount of very practical and helpful information here, including downloadable documents to guide you on your way, so if you’re in the business of working with young people in a mentoring capacity, check it out. Topics cover the various stages involved in running a youth mentoring program, and include: policy and procedure, match support and mentor/mentee recruitment.

To access the new Youth Mentoring Hub, visit the website.

Source:YACVic Updates, March 2023.

Fabulous chance for young thinkers to let their ideas be heard


Each year The Whitlam Institute holds a writing competition inviting young people in NSW and the ACT in years 5 to 12 to flex their minds and scribbling skills; this year’s competition is open and entries are called for.

The theme of this year’s competition is What Matters? Young people are asked to submit an opinion piece (400–600 words) on a theme or burning question in society that matters greatly to them.

Director of The Whitlam Institute, Dr Eric Sidoti, said that ‘Year after year we're reminded that young people are not only keen observers of the world around them but are passionate and articulate advocates for a more fair and tolerant society. They show themselves to be profoundly aware of the fragility of the natural world and show themselves ready to tackle the challenges ahead. It's actually quite inspiring.’

Prizes include cash and participation in writing workshops. The overall winner will receive an iPad. And all winners will have their essays published in print and online.

Entries close on Wednesday 6 May 2023. Entry forms can be downloaded from The Whitlam Institute website at:

To read an article about the competition, go to:

(Source: CommunityNet e-News, 9 March 2023.)

Tasmanian community receives $1M to tackle complex social issues



The coastal city of Burnie in North-West Tasmania has been selected to receive up to $1 million in funding through an initiative to support a new approach to tackling some of our country’s toughest and most complex social problems.

The Burnie City Council’s Burnie Works program was chosen from a shortlist of 11 communities around Australia as part of The Search, an initiative convened by The Centre for Social Impact that aims to develop the capacity of communities in the early stages of implementing a collective impact framework.

An eminent panel of international judges reviewed the shortlisted communities in terms of their community engagement, outcomes focus, leadership and possibility of success.

The Burnie Works program is applying the collective impact framework to tackle worklessness caused by entrenched social disadvantage and poor educational attainment. The area has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in Australia.

Leaders from industry, government and community have come together to focus on improving the engagement of all young people in education and their transition to employment.

According to the Centre for Social Impact, Burnie’s application for The Search funding stood out particularly in regards to the way their community program has engaged residents and people with lived experience in all parts of the change process.

The Search is supported by a Catalysing Group, which includes Westpac Foundation, Results Leadership Group (Australia and USA), Social Solutions Group (USA), Blackbaud Pacific, Social Ventures Australia, Australian Communities Foundation and the Centre for Social Impact. For further information about the Centre for Social Impact, visit the CSI website.

Source:Centre for Social Impact media release, 18 March 2023; The Advocate (online), 19 March 2023.

Will you be the next Rosie Creators Award winner?


 YFX logo

On International Women’s Day entries opened for the 2023 Rosie Creators Award, which is open to young (aged 12–20) Australian women artists, video makers, photographers and budding activists to help them kickstart their creative journeys.

The theme for this year’s competition is ‘Respect – for yourself, others or planet earth’. Winners of each of the four categories will receive $500 towards their creative or activist projects, a stationery prize pack, and publication in Young Vagabond magazine and on the RosieRespect website. The website, which has previously been featured in YFX, is an online space for girls to get information they need to ‘navigate life’s tricky situations’. Entries for the competition close on Monday 20 April, 2023.

For more information, visit the website or email.

Source:RosieRespect email, 4 March 2023.

The YMCA wants to know what you are thinking



Youth ShoutOut is an online campaign inviting young people to cast a vote for issues that matter most to them.

The YMCA will be launching the campaign in the lead-up to National Youth Week 2023 (10–19 April) and it is open to all young people in Australia aged 15-25 years. The results of the poll will inform the work of the YMCA going forward and will be used to decide on the ‘National Matter of Public Importance’ debated by young people at Youth Parliament programs run in all states and territories throughout 2023. The poll will be open for about two weeks.

For more information or to access the Promotion Resource Pack, please contact Alicia Crawford, YMCA Australia Youth Empowerment Coordinator: [email protected]; phone: 03 9693 9729.

Source:email from YMCA, 24 March 2023.

National Youth Week is almost upon us!


Once again National Youth Week (NYW), which is the biggest celebration of young people in Australia, will be happening in April (this year’s dates are 10–19 April).

Events are taking place across the country along the theme of ‘It starts with us’. Activities in each state and territory are listed on the NYW website at:

The winners of the National Youth Awards will also be announced at a presentation dinner during NYW, with finalists vying for awards in the following categories: employment, safety, culture and diversity, health, leadership, courage and the Youth in Media Award. This year’s awards will also include a performance by The Voice 2014 winner, 18-year-old Anja Nissen, whose talents have been an inspiration to many. Keep an out eye out for the winners at:

 (Source: National Youth Week website, viewed 25 March 2023.)

Original artwork by under-25s wanted for Voiceworks magazine



Calling all young writers (be quick!) and visual artists to contribute to the Spring 2023 issue of Voiceworks, the national quarterly magazine published by Express Media.

The theme for this issue will be ‘Echo’, which can be interpreted in many ways. The magazine is currently accepting submissions for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and visual art. To be eligible to submit your work to Voiceworks you need to be under 25 at the time of submission. There are detailed guidelines about in what format original work should be submitted on the website below.  

Submission details can be found here. Please note that the deadline for written submissions is almost upon us (3 May); however, visual art pieces can be submitted up until 5 June.

Source:YACVic Announce, April 2023.

Grants for young sports champions open for applications



Young aspiring sports stars, coaches and officials, particularly those in regional areas, are encouraged to apply for a grant to help them attend competitions at the state, national or international level.

The Local Sporting Champions grants program, offered by the Australian Institute of Sport, is open to young people aged 12–18. The $500 grants can be used to cover travel, accommodation, uniform and equipment costs. The grant program operates all year, but applications for the current funding round close on 30 June 2023. 

To view details on the Ausport website, click here. 

Source:CommunityNet e-news, 8 April 2023.

2023 Emerging Writers' Festival program: Highlights for young writers



The Emerging Writers' Festival's 2023 program, launched in mid-April, has some great sessions aimed at young writers.

The festival will be held in Melbourne from 26 May–5 June. While most events on the program would be of interest to young writers, the sessions Writing for the screen: Workshop for under-20s, Writing intensive for under-25s and Young women in writing are particularly relevant.

Click here to view the full 2023 Emerging Writers' Festival program. 

Source:Emerging Writers' Festival website, viewed 16 March 2023