Youthworx is a project of Youth Development Australia, a public benevolent institution created by a group of leading thinkers and practitioners as a platform for change and a way of exploring, developing and trialing innovative youth initiatives.

After some initial promising trials based around radio production in 2002-3 the project struggled to attract support until the Salvation Army provided some seed funding that allowed Youthworx to establish a home in Brunswick in 2008 within a converted factory. Under the guidance of founding Manager Jon Staley and on the back of initial cross sectoral partnerships (SYN, SALVATION ARMY, NMIT Tafe now MELBOURNE POLYTECHNIC, SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY) the project quickly gathered momentum and began establishing programs that could work effectively with the most marginalized young people in the community.

From day one Youthworx has been fuelled by seeking to have a creative, innovative response to young people experiencing homelessness and disadavantage. All of the outcomes at Youthworx have come from asking the question ‘how do we effectively use creative media production/engagement to transform the life possibilities of the most vulnerable young people?’ In response to this question Youthworx has gone on to establish a sustainable social enterprise model over more than 10 years that seeks to marry the creative with the commercial.

You can learn more about the development and evolution of Youthworx here.


The Youthworx model has a number of key principles that are the foundation of our success in working effectively with the most vulnerable young people within our community. These principles are based around providing an environment conducive to bringing out the best in people by drawing on their creativity and giving them the tools to be articulate in their experience of the world. This is then backed up by providing a pathway into employment within a production business where the creative can become the commercial, where the creative skills can put food on the table.

Some key elements of the Youthworx model are as follows:

  • Capacity for sustained engagement/pathways (12months -2years)
  • Small class size (15-18)
  • Multi layered staffing structure (Teacher, Youth Worker, Industry Professionals and Job Pathways Coordinator)
  • Strengths based approach to learning
  • Studio style collaborative teaching/learning space
  • Inclusive aspirational culture
  • High quality industry standard resources/equipment
  • Teaching (& learning) methodology – competency based assessment, practical hands on learning in a collaborative context with public ‘media’ outcomes
  • Individualised pathway support
  • Creative to commercial – 10 weeks paid industry work experience


Youthworx is made up of a multi-disciplinary team of staff passionate about inclusion and sharing knowledge. Youth Workers, Teachers, Industry Professionals, Management Staff work alongside Young Producers coming through at a rate of knots who are not only involved in the production of content but also play a key role in organizational decision making and development.

Nicola Innes
Youth Services Manager


rachel clark
Rachel Clark
Youth Pathways Coordinator
Rachel is responsible for curriculum development and stakeholder engagement for young people (15 -25) experiencing homelessness or disadvantage who seek to make a sustainable transition from vocational education to paid employment in media industries.
David Mackenzie
Lead Teacher

David is a video artist, freelance filmmaker and media trainer/mentor. He has a Masters degree in Media Arts from UNSW and has worked across the disciplines of video art, documentary and collaborative media for over ten years. 

Callum Low Res
Callum Goodes
Media Trainer

Callum is both a Filmmaker and a Youth Worker, who has a passion for incorporating these two areas of interest into a wide range of projects. He has volunteered and gradually became an integral member for a variety of social minded organisations and charities.