Education First Youth Foyers aim to transform the lives and social circumstances of young people who are struggling to transition through emerging adulthood by:
- assisting them to recognise, value and develop their abilities and talents – in short, to establish their talent to thrive
- empowering them to build the foundations for a sustainable livelihood
- engaging in campaigns and influencing agendas to transform the institutional settings that prevent young people from realising their potential.
This model is underpinned by 14 (evidence-informed) founding principles:
- All young people have a right to access opportunities provided by mainstream community resources regardless of their background and learning styles.
- Sustained engagement in education provides the foundation for building a sustainable livelihood.
- Recognising and nurturing young people’s talents and capabilities, instead of a focus on their deficits, enables them to thrive.
- Access to education, employment, wellbeing, social connections, civic participation and housing opportunities provides the launch-pad for young people to build independent yet connected lives.
- Student accommodation provides safe, secure and affordable housing as a foundation for supportive and inspiring learning environments for young people.
- Access to safe, secure and affordable housing fosters stability, independence and personal growth for young people.
- Structured, phased, yet flexible, educational environments are critical for the successful engagement of young people in learning and personal development.
- A multidisciplinary staff team can coach and develop young people to reach their goals.
- Strategic and diverse partnerships with business, services, government, community and philanthropy facilitate sustainable outcomes for young people.
- Young people’s voice and experience are central to the development, implementation and ongoing review of the EFY Foyer Model and Practice Approach.
- Critical analysis and creation of a rich and diverse evidence base promotes innovative policy, program and practice development.
- A robust evaluation enables analysis of the integrity, ability to replicate and viability of the Model.
- The scale of the Foyer program maximises the capacity to leverage policy and program reform for young people.
- Strategic, multi-level governance partnerships and agreements are critical to achieve program, policy and practice reform and innovation.
Vision for EFY Foyer students
EFY Foyer students will be assisted to:
- become independent yet connected adults
- determine who they are and what they want to do in the future
- be capable of establishing a sustainable livelihood (secure housing, income on which they can live independently, managed health and wellbeing, key living skills)
- develop the capacity to flourish/thrive.
Outcomes for EFY Foyer students
As an evidence-informed and outcome-driven Model, those young people who are accessing EFY Foyers are expected to meet certain outcomes set by government. The first of these is that they become ‘students’ and enrol in a course at the TAFE institute where they are living. The expected outcomes, which apply to young people both when they are living in the EFY Foyer and in their after-Foyer life, include:
- studying and/or working while in the EFY Foyer, and retention in education or employment 12 months after exiting
- increased engagement with work (including work experience, casual, part-time and full-time work) after Foyer
- increased connectivity to community supports (including family, friends, community activities, services)
- increased ability to access and maintain stable accommodation 12 months after exiting from the EFY Foyer.
The target population comprises young people who are:
- 16–24 years of age
- at risk of experiencing homelessness.
To be eligible, the young person must be:
- inspired to get involved in education and training
- motivated to get involved in community, volunteering and/or employment
- willing to sign up and commit to the Deal
- without a recent history of violent, aggressive behaviour
- without a previous serious conviction or being charged with an offence involving: arson, drug trafficking, violence or incidents of a sexual nature
- not currently charged with an offence likely to result in incarceration
- not engaging in sustained behaviour that is of serious harm to themselves or others
- a fit for the service mix (see detailed Eligibility Policy).
The Eligibility Criteria have been designed to ensure that young people who apply are ready and motivated to engage in the program.