The Victorian Education First Youth (EFY) Foyer Model is designed to work with young people aged 16–24 who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. It is based on having student accommodation for at-risk young people co-located on TAFE (Technical and Further Education) campuses – and jointly delivered by TAFE institutes, housing providers and youth support partners – and supporting them to undertake education and training for two years.
The Model aims to break down the structural barriers that prevent these young people from engaging in education, employment and mainstream opportunities, and to provide a structure for them to transition to independence – coaching, mentoring and peer support are used to address these barriers and challenges.
Through its assessment processes, the Model measures the motivational levels of these young people to engage with education and training while also acknowledging the significant challenges that present in their lives. EFY Foyer staff then assist them to develop the skills they need to lead fulfilling, independent and productive lives, by providing the time, personal attention, mentoring, coaching and access to the opportunities needed to develop education and training pathways to employment and independent living.
Following the 2010 Victorian election, the Coalition Government committed to the development of three 40-bed EFY Foyers in Victoria, with the current Labor Government honouring this commitment in a show of bi-partisan support for the program. Two of these Foyers – in Melbourne’s Broadmeadows and Holmesglen – are currently fully operational, with the third in the regional city of Shepparton coming online in 2016.
The Education First Youth Foyers accommodate up to 40 young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness on three Victorian TAFE campuses, and support them to undertake education and training over a two-year period.