Wyndham change-maker program
The Commissioner for Children and Young People worked collaboratively with the Wyndham Youth Aboriginal Corporation to develop and deliver a culturally inclusive training program focused on Aboriginal community research.
The key purpose was to provide Aboriginal young people with the opportunity to develop skills that enable Aboriginal children and young people to be given a voice and be heard whilst creating opportunities for future employment.
"Wyndham Youth Aboriginal Corporation supported by the Commissioner for Children and Young People offered us the chance to put in an application to complete their change-maker program. The program matters to us because we want to make sure every child in Wyndham has a positive leader in their life – and we think we could be that role." Program participant
A group of Aboriginal young people, one non-Aboriginal young person and mentors participated in the three-day Aboriginal community research training program. The program was part of the Wyndham change-maker youth leadership program developed and delivered by the Wyndham Youth Aboriginal Corporation.
The training program involved:
- Two days online Aboriginal community research training developed and delivered as five modules by Ninti One. The modules provided insight into designing and conducting research and analysing data in a culturally appropriate way.
- One day designing and implementing their own consultation processes around the question: What do Wyndham youth want?
Wyndham Youth Aboriginal Corporation (WYAC) and the Commissioner for Children and Young People worked together to develop a program that was culturally secure, locally appropriate as well as being directed and endorsed by the Wyndham Aboriginal Community.
In collaboration with Ninti One, WYAC and the Commissioner's team developed the learning materials and designed an implementation process that was both culturally appropriate and COVID-19 safe.
Wyndham youth completed an intensive community research training program supported locally by staff from from WYAC and the Commissioner's office. This training enabled them to have a stronger voice for Wyndham children and young people, through the gathering of quantitative and qualitative evidence.
The Wyndham Youth Advisory Group meet on a regular basis to continue to develop their leadership skills through the Wyndham change-makers program, and progress the youth agenda with service providers in the Wyndham community.
Step 1: Engagement (self-determination)
Identify a local organisation that has a strong commitment to:
- genuine engagement with the Aboriginal community, including the willingness to speak with Elders and to follow their lead at all times
- providing children and young people with a voice
- being flexible, supportive and culturally appropriate.
Step 2: Valuing others
- As a partnership, design a program that delivers against the vision of the Elders and Aboriginal Community.
- Use a transparent process for selecting participants, including encouraging and supporting potential applicants.
- Identify funding to pay young people for their participation.
Step 3: Training program (upskilling for employment)
Five modules delivered to young people online by culturally sensitive researchers and supported locally by a qualified teacher (Commissioner for Children and Young People staff member) and local content expert (WYAC):
- Introduction to research
- Research design
- Collecting data
- Analysing data
- Good practice in research.
Total time online learning: 10-15 hours
Four practical sessions facilitated by qualified teacher (Commissioner for Children and Young People staff member) and local content expert (WYAC):
- Preparing a research/consultation design brief
- Presenting the results of a survey
- Preparing a mixed method of consultation – What do the youth of Wyndham want?
- Collecting data using mixed methods of consultation including quantitative (survey) and qualitative (mind map, tree of knowledge and river of change) methods.
Total time: 10-15 hours
Data analysis and report writing (5-10 hours)
Step 4: Opportunities (voice of children and young people)
Look for real opportunities for young people to utilise their newly acquired skillset. Ensure they are supported as they learn through doing.
The Wyndham change-makers program provides a valuable opportunity for young people to develop their confidence and leadership capacity in research design, data collection and analysis, which provides a strong voice for Wyndham children and young people.
What young people said about the program
This project addresses youth unemployment, stability and mental health issues, and appropriate youth informed service provision.
Our training has helped us to:
- understand what youth in town want, and not to make assumptions
- have a voice and the other young people of Wyndham as well
- advocate for how Wyndham agencies can best meet the needs of youth in the town
- identify what choices youth have and what actions need to be taken to meet their needs
- act as positive role models for other youth in Wyndham and our younger siblings.
What young people want their community to know
- We consider ourselves to be future leaders who want to find out from youth themselves about what they want and need in their town.
- We want to give back to our community and see positive change happen for youth – based on what they identify as needing and wanting.
- We want to tell the story about what we are doing in Wyndham as part of the WYAC change-maker program.
- We want youth in Wyndham to know that there are a lot of opportunities out there and we can make more opportunities.
- We want to make sure youth have lots of opportunities including employment (we are employed in this role) as Community Researchers and other roles.
Complete youth consultations and develop a Wyndham Youth Strategic Plan.
This plan will help map out what the priorities are for youth in Wyndham and assess current and proposed youth programs/projects against those priorities.
Continue regular monthly training with WYAC and look for employment opportunities to conduct community consultations for census, research organisations, and agencies. This will ensure local information is protected and used for the right reasons to make positive change for the Wyndham Aboriginal Community as well as giving a strong voice to our children and young people.