The Steve Lawrence Innovation Award recognises the ability of the CoAct network to think outside the box and create new and innovative approaches to address issues and achieve positive change for the most disadvantaged in the communities in which it works.
This year, CoAct judges were looking for innovative projects (in concept, development or pilot stage) that aimed to achieve a positive change and the ‘Shining a Light on Me’ project ticked all the boxes. The Personnel Group, CoAct’s Service Partner for the Transition to Work program across North Eastern Victorian and Southern New South Wales, is passionate about finding new opportunities to engage young people and support them in developing their skills and moving towards sustainable employment.
‘Shining a Light on Me’ aims to encourage young people in the communities of Albury/Wodonga, Benalla, Griffith, Wagga Wagga and Wangaratta to explore their unique skills, attributes and talents and share their stories and successes with the wider community.
As part of the ‘Shining a Light on Me’ Project young people will be invited to take part in a Smartphone Photography Competition where they get to submit a photo together with a short 50-word or less summary as to why the photo ‘shines a light’ on them.
All photos and stories submitted as part of the competition will form part of a Travelling Pop-up Photography Exhibition that will be displayed in key youth spaces and shopping malls across the region in the hope of further engaging young people and the public.
At the same time, The Personnel Group will host networking events for local businesses to provide an opportunity for young people to further share their stories and promote the benefits and rewards of employing young job seekers.
Judges of this award were impressed with The Personnel Group’s commitment to changing negative stereotypes about young people in their local area. While adults in the community are frequently called upon to speak about youth issues, through the ‘Shining a Light on Me’ project young people will now get a real chance to have their voice heard.
Long-term it is hoped that the project will help local employers gain a greater appreciation of the skills and attributes of young people and create more employment opportunities for youth job seekers.
About the Steve Lawrence Innovation Award
The Steve Lawrence Innovation Award is named in honour of the founding father of CoAct (formerly known as Job Futures). Steve was passionate about finding new ways to improve the lives of disadvantaged Australians while drawing on their own strengths and the strengths of their communities, enabling them to move down the pathway of work and lifelong learning.
2018 award winners, The Personnel Group will use their $10,000 prize money to support and further develop their ‘Shining a Light on Me’ project.