Working with key stakeholders, Gateway LLEN identified a broad gap in the availability of educational pathways for young people engaged in the youth justice system who were no longer attending mainstream school. This cohort struggled, even with the assistance of case managers and support workers, to re-enter mainstream and community-based education.
In partnership with Jesuit Social Services, Salvation Army Mitcham Corps and DHS (Youth Justice) an entry-level pathway program was designed to support long term disengaged youth in their return to education and enhance pre and post pathway transition. This learning program developed key strategies to enable the development and implementation of a pilot program for young people disengaged from school and involved in the youth justice system. The program, named “ReNew” commenced in February 2013.
In 2016 Jesuit Social Services withdrew from the Renew program and there was significant risk, despite oversubscription that ReNew would close its doors Gateway LLEN worked to actively identify another community RTO to take on the program and The Avenue Neighbourhood House @ Eley Inc. became the lead partner. With the Avenue’s experience in facilitating reengagement programs for youth at risk and its pre-existing relationships with local school, ReNew has refined its curriculum to ensure relevancy and provides integrated support, assistance and referral to all students. ReNew currently operates at full capacity and has extended its contact teaching hours to ensure it is meeting the needs of the young people attending.
The ReNew program is an alternative approach to education for young people aged 14-17 years. ReNew focuses on life skills, personal development and team work, combining hands on learning and project work. ReNew brings routine and purpose to students that may have been disengaged from schooling for significant periods of time and for a range of different reasons including mental health issues, youth justice involvement, school refusal, drug and alcohol issues and a range of many other barriers that young people can face that may impact on their learning. The program aims to re-engage at risk youth and give them “wrap around support” in the re-engagement process. Students can learn at their own pace and move on when they feel ready for a new challenge. Students often finish ReNew and move on to the Refresh Program to further their education, re-integrate into mainstream school or alternative education programs or to full time employment. ReNew’s curriculum involves literacy and numeracy, art, cooking, future planning and pathways, outdoor experiences and computers and technology.