Last updated: 10 Jul, 2018

How can we support young Victorians as they navigate the challenging gap between education and finding purposeful work?

New report coming soon 

We are working to determine what support 18-25 year olds need during the gap between education and getting a good job. These days, this gap can take years, and some groups have a harder time finding work than others. Unemployment, insecurity and poor work conditions can cause stress, anxiety and isolation.

We have worked with a group of 50 young adults to help us understand what support is needed. The group was presented with evidence and proposed solutions on what works to support wellbeing, resilience and social connection, from those across government, philanthropy and the community. Following this, the group provided a report of recommendations in response to the problem.



 Young adults, mental wellbeing and work: How can we support young adults on their journey to find purposeful work?

The problem

Finding purposeful work can be incredibly hard and can take its toll on many young adults in Victoria, and indeed Australia. Production work going overseas and jobs being automated have made it considerably harder for young adults aged 18 to 25 years.

  • It now takes almost 5 years to get a stable job after finishing education, compared to 1 year a generation ago.
  • 1 in 3 young adults are actively looking for work.
  • A growing proportion are unemployed and underemployed.
  • Work in many industries relies on professional networks, which a lot of people just out of study just don’t have. 

From 18–25 years, people go through important transitions with education, work, family and relationships. One of these transition periods is moving from education (school, tertiary or trades) to purposeful employment. It’s a critical window for individual development yet the data tells us our young people aren’t doing so well during this time.

  • 1 in 4 young Australians is currently experiencing a mental health condition – including anxiety and depression.
  • 1 in 4 young adult Victorians report limited access to social support when needed.
  • 1 in 8 young adult Victorians are lonely – a key risk factor for depression.
  • 75% of adult mental health conditions emerge by age 24.

This is why it’s so important to intervene, and supporting people early can help prevent mental health issues occurring, and re-occurring, later in life.

Young people in the future will need to be not only highly educated but also in possession of a raft of transferable skills. They will need to compete for work globally and be flexible to navigate job types. This will be great for some people, but could also lead to isolation, insecurity and the loss of protections like sick leave, holiday pay, maternity leave and superannuation.

Supporting young adults to build resilience, coping skills and social connections will help create a positive foundation and allow them to thrive in the current employment environment.

Read more about the problem (PDF, 2.2 MB)



Read the submissions to the jury View more

We received submissions to the jury from a wide range of organisations. Click on the links below to find out more.




4GR and Likewise

Watch the video 

Be Collective

Download the submission (PDF, 396 KB)

Attachment (PDF, 1 MB)

Business Higher Education Round Table

Download the submission (PDF, 131 KB) 

City of Greater Dandenong

Download the submission (PDF, 410 KB)

Foundation for Young Australians Download the submission (PDF, 377 KB)
Girl Geek Academy  Download the submission (PDF, 5 MB)
Headspace Download the submission (PDF, 2.1 MB)
 JobGetter Download the submission (PDF, 1 MB)

Juno Consulting 

Watch the video

Orygen Download the submission (PDF, 539 KB)
Swinburne University

Download the submission (PDF, 1 MB)

Attachment (PDF, 460 KB)

VicHealth Watch the video 

Download the submission (PDF, 5.3 MB) 

Vision Australia  Download the submission (DOC, 84 KB)
Young Workers Centre

Read the submission (PDF, 1 MB)

Appendix 1 (PDF, 2 MB)

Appendix 2 (PDF, 3 MB)

Youth CONNECT Visit the website