Learn about the features common to effective youth employment programs


There is limited shared understanding across the youth employment sector of good practice and the program features that work best to improve employment outcomes for young people.

Review brings together ten features that are common to effective youth employment programs and that can be incorporated directly or indirectly into program delivery. There is no one-size-fits all approach to youth employment and not every program will include all ten features.

If a program incorporates only some of the features, it’s important to consider who else in the community you might be able to collaborate with in order to provide holistic employment support for young people e.g. businesses, employers, other community organisations, education and training institutions.

An effective youth employment program…

Recognises strengths and interests

Young people are supported to articulate their strengths and interests, and explore how that can be translated into a career pathway.


Identifies and responds to issues

Young people are referred to a network of specialist providers that can support their barriers to work e.g. housing, mental health etc.


Develops employability skills

Young people participate in vocational and pre-vocational training embedded with relevant skills tailored to specific roles or industries.


Provides high quality information

Young people develop their knowledge of the labour market, including how to look for jobs, resume writing, and interview skills.


Connects young people to employers

Young people meet and talk to one or more employers who work in industries of interest and who can support them with their search for work.

Supports development of goals

Young people are supported to identify achievable goals and develop a plan that provides clear line of sight to a career path.


trusting relationships

Program staff create a safe environment for young people and are equipped with appropriate skills to allow the development of trust.


Develops technical skills 

Young people are provided with training that develops technical skills, qualifications and accreditation relevant to real life workplaces.


Provides useful experience

Young people are given opportunities to get useful work experience and to learn more about different jobs within industries of interest.


Provides post-program support

Resources are assigned to support young people for the time needed for them to reach their goals.

Implementation tools

These tools can be used by youth employment program providers to support implementation of some of the features common to effective programs.

Ten features common to effective youth employment programs

Review checklist to support the implementation of the ten features in your program

Goal planning template to support young people to develop goals for employment

About the research

The features of effective youth employment programs were developed following:

  • A review of international research reports, journals and media articles
  • A scan of Australian community-based youth employment programs
  • Interviews with and case studies on 22 community-based youth employment programs
  • Consultations with representatives working in youth unemployment from government, peak bodies, social purpose organisations and academia


Alignment with Transition to Work:

The features of effective youth employment programs are closely aligned with the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) Transition to Work Community of Practice: Practice Guide and the four service offers that are considered essential for effective youth education, employment and re-engagement programs. The Practice Guide provides examples of key activities that may be implemented to operationalise the features.

The following materials underpinned the development of the Review model, website and tools:

Literature review outlining effectiveness in youth employment

Program review of Australian organisations that deliver youth employment programs

Good practice case studies from 22 youth employment programs across Australia

More resources

The Review Features are based on research and align closely with a number of external good practice youth employment practice guides.

Visit the resources page for additional resources related to good practice youth employment programs.

Contact us

If you have questions, feedback, or have used Review in your programs, we’d love to hear from you.