Helping young people get back in the game

Back in the game is a referral service that provides specialist support to students​ to help them either re-engage with education, transition​ to vocational training or find employment. It is a core initiative of the Educational Pathways Program.

The Get back in the game program includes an initiative for Educational Pathways Program students called Back in the game. This program was formerly called ‘Regional VET Pathways’.

Article at a glance:

  • Back in the game initiative provides professional support and mentoring for young people aged 15-19 who are disengaged from their education.
  • The initiative includes tailored career guidance, with an emphasis on mapping out the pathway to re-engagement with education, training, or employment.
  • Five organisations have been approved to deliver Back in the game across various regions from 26 April 2022. This expansion represents a doubling of the program’s geographic scope.
  • Back in the game program used to run under the former name, Regional VET Pathways.

The Back in the game initiative provides assistance to disengaged young people by helping them overcome barriers to engaging with education, employment or training. Aimed at helping those who have disengaged from school to redefine their trajectory, the core initiative offers tailored career guidance and connections to industry providers and potential employers.

One particular participant, Jacob, is one of thousands of young people to benefit from the support offered through the broader Get back in the game program. After leaving school before finishing year 12, Jacob was working with a Pathways Coordinator to create his resume to help kickstart his hospitality career. An opportunity to trial at a local diner saw things turn around for the young student.

“Jacob took the initiative to come in and do a trial in the kitchen and we were immediately impressed with his enthusiasm and his willingness to learn,” says James, co-owner of the diner.

The trial then turned into a tasty job offer, with Jacob becoming an apprentice at the diner.

“Running a business can be tough, but having good, skilled people on board makes it a lot easier. We’re thrilled to have Jacob working with us, and are really supportive of the work that this initiative is doing to help other young people get a foot in the door,” adds James.

This initiative was first launched in 2016 as the Regional VET Pathways (RVP) program and was developed for people aged 15-19 who had left school. In 2020, the initiative was included in the expanded Educational Pathways Pilot Program as a core initiative, with the new name of Back in the game. As part of this expansion, the program is now available to students who are still enrolled in an Educational Pathways Program school who require additional support to remain engaged, while continuing to support early school leavers who experience difficulty transitioning into training or employment.

Since April 2022, the NSW Department of Education expanded the newly named Back in the game program and has engaged five community-based youth organisations to deliver specialist support services to young people aged 15-19 who are struggling to engage with education, or to make effective transitions into training or sustainable employment. Case managers work with young people to develop Career and Transition Plans and provide practical, tailored support to help them achieve their goals.

David Collins, Executive Director Training Services NSW, said he was proud of what the program has achieved since 2016 and is excited about its expansion with the Educational Pathways Program, which will create opportunities for thousands more young people.“Back in the game does exactly what its name suggests,” David Collins says.

Back in the game initiative leads by region

Local provider: Enterprise Plus
Offices in: Canberra, Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Moss Vale and Wollongong
Regions: Capital, Illawarra, Southern and Shoalhaven
Program Manager: Anja Livingston
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 02 6297 3121
Delivering: Get in the Game and Back in the Game

Local provider: Novaskill
Offices in: Broadmeadow, Tuggerah, Singleton
Regions: Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, Hunter Valley exc Newcastle, Central Coast
Program Manager: Andrew Richardson
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 02 4906 6700
Delivering: Get in the Game and Back in the Game

Local provider: Careers Network
Offices in: Tamworth, Armidale, Moree, Inverell and Narrabri
Region: New England and North West
Program Manager: Debbie Taekata
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 02 6763 4800
Delivering: Get in the Game and Back in the Game

Local provider: Connect Northern Rivers
Offices in: Lismore, Grafton and Tweed Heads
Region: Richmond-Tweed
Program Manager: Margaret Hughes
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 1300 183 352
Delivering: Get in the Game and Back in the Game

Local provider: Yourtown
Offices in: St Marys and Campbelltown
Regions: Sydney – Parramatta, Sydney – Blacktown, Sydney – South West
Program Manager: Sue Watson
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 0402 965 622
Delivering: Get in the Game and Back in the Game

For more details on this program initiative, as well as eligibility criteria, refer to Back in the game.

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