Warrnambool Youth Foyer celebrates $300,000 in funding

A program to equip vulnerable young people with the skills to live independently was launched in Warrnambool on Friday with $300,000 of state government funding.

Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney visited the Youth Foyer in Warrnambool to announce funding for the Certificate I in Developing Independence.

The certificate, delivered by South West TAFE in Warrnambool is an accredited VET course. It teaches life skills, like budgeting and goal setting to 16-24-year-olds living in Youth Foyers, many of whom have been living in out-of-home care.

Learning: Youth Foyer residents celebrate a funding announcement with Training and Skills Minister Gayle Tierney. Picture: Madeleine McNeil

Learning: Youth Foyer residents celebrate a funding announcement with Training and Skills Minister Gayle Tierney. Picture: Madeleine McNeil

The Youth Foyers break the cycle of homelessness by providing them with safe and secure accommodation on campus for two years while they study towards a career.

The announcement was part of $3 million in funding to expand the program delivery to Warrnambool and Lilydale and to continue at three other locations. 

Brophy Family and Youth Services CEO Francis Broekman said Youth Foyers played a critical role while young people studied and gained the skills to support themselves.

“Education of young people is absolutely paramount, we need to be able to continue to support young people,”  Mr Broekman said.  

The program was designed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and TAFE.

Brotherhood of St Laurence principal advisor of youth transitions Sally James said the certificate was flexible and individually tailored.

Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney said Youth Foyers helped break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. “We’re making sure everyone can access a great education, no matter their circumstances, location or background,” she said. 

Warrnambool’s Jessica Watson and Tayla Johnson completed the pilot program. 

Both have lived at the foyer for two years, with the facility providing a stable place for Jessica, who was pregnant when she moved in, to raise daughter Jade, almost 2.

Jessica, 21, said through the certificate she learned skills about how looking for a private rental and understanding the rental market and how to budget.

Tayla learnt about the legal system, healthy relationships and financial information. She said it gave her something to focus on and helped her set goals for the future.

Tayla will soon begin working and is completing Certificate III in Community Services online. Jessica is studying Certificate III in Individual Support full time. 

Youth Foyer case worker Janelle Munro said it encouraged the young people to look at the bigger picture and look forward, instead of “just what they’re doing now”. 

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