CONNECT Northern Rivers Inc.

A not-for-profit organisation offering mentoring, engagement, youth work, careers and tailored Aboriginal youth programs on the NSW north coast.

Who we are

CONNECT is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1999. We offer mentoring, engagement, youth work and career transition programs, including tailored Aboriginal youth programs, on the NSW north coast.

Where we operate

Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Richmond Valley, Tweed Valley

Who we can help

Secondary students, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

What we do

CONNECT works to build the capacity of young people, their schools and their families to successfully engage with education, training and employment. We work to improve opportunities for young people through providing advocacy and support to employers, schools, and training providers. CONNECT also facilitates school-community partnership programs to improve engagement and real-life learning activities.

Mentoring

  • The SbAT Support Program
    This is a mentor-based program which helps students to remain engaged in school while also ensuring the successful completion of a young person’s School based Traineeship and HSC. The SbAT program is delivered by mentors who are qualified teachers or hold Certificate IV youth work qualifications as well as extensive trade experience. The program is aimed at individual students undertaking or interested in a School based Traineeship. This service is delivered either onsite at school, at their place of employment, at TAFE, or at an agreed community location. The time offered to each student is dependent on their individual needs and takes account of issues such as transport, managing study and work commitments, work-based mentoring and social issues including mental health, drug use and homelessness. The support lasts the duration of the traineeship. Other activities include helping students secure drivers’ licence and post-school planning. The SbAT support program is currently funded for a limited number of Indigenous trainees, however is available to any students (Indigenous or non-Indigenous) in the Northern Rivers region on a fee-for-service basis.It covers:
    • work readiness training
    • support balancing employment
    • TAFE and school wrap-around support which can address non-school related barriers such as housing instability, transport, family break-down and other challenges.

Costs: Current costings for the SBAT support program are approximately $3,000 per student, per year, but could vary up or down depending on student needs. We will endeavor to work within school budgets to provide customised programs.

Engagement or Re-engagement Services

  • Better Opportunities and Outcomes for School Transition (BOOST)
    A tailored early intervention approach to improving outcomes for vulnerable young people. BOOST builds the capacity of vulnerable young people to learn, contribute and achieve. It is a triage-type support program to assist students in developing positive engagement at school or transition from school to work. The program uses a case management goal-setting approach to assist students to get back on track and achieve their full social and economic potential. BOOST is delivered by qualified youth workers and career and transition support officers. The program is aimed at Year 9 to 12. Delivery is flexible, including individual or small groups and is delivered onsite. It includes self-awareness and confidence building activities, employability skills, leadership and team building, skills mapping and work readiness.
  • Future Tracks
    In the Future Tracks program, CONNECT works in partnership with schools and Aboriginal communities to develop place-based projects to improve school engagement and expand career opportunities for young people. Future Tracks supports students to reconnect with the school community and strengthen ties in their own communities through school-community partnership projects. Students learn industry-specific skills (such as horticulture, events management, or fine arts) and soft-skills (such as communication and problem-solving) in the context of delivering a community-based project. Future Tracks is delivered by qualified Indigenous youth workers and is aimed at Year 9 to 12 Indigenous students in small groups of 10-15 students. Aspects of the programs are delivered onsite at schools and at other locations dependant on project. Projects can run from ten weeks to all year.

Costs: Costs for the services will be subject to direct negotiation between Connect Northern Rivers and the school depending on individual or program needs. Group projects range from $5,000 to $30,000 depending on the program duration. Individual support costs range from $1,000 to $5,000 per student/per year. We will endeavour to work within school budgets to provide customised programs.

School Refusal Services

  • Work it Out
    A transition program for school refusers, disengaged students, or students at-risk of disengaging. The aim of Work it Out is to re-engage school-refusers back into school or successfully transition them into alternative training or employment pathways. The program includes one-on-one case management, interactive work-readiness workshops and work experience. Students are provided direct support with employment-related needs and receive supported referrals to external well-being and counselling services and specialist homelessness prevention services. Additional activities include obtaining drivers licenses, obtaining financial support and, in some cases, project-based activities for groups of students. The program results include successful transition back into school, successful transition into TAFE, employment, and traineeships. Work It Out is delivered by experienced case workers and career and transition support officers and is aimed at Year 9 to 12, in individual or small groups. The frequency and duration of delivery is flexible and can be held in a school setting, CONNECT Offices or another project-based location. CONNECT will support students currently enrolled in school or on a 100 day exemption.

Costs: Costs for the services will be subject to direct negotiation between Connect Northern Rivers and the school depending on individual or program needs. Group projects range from $5,000 to $30,000 depending on the program duration. Individual support costs range from $1,000 to $5,000 per student/per year. We will endeavour to work within school budgets to provide customised programs.

Youth Work Services

  • iYarn
    An Indigenous-specific empowerment, positive mental health and social and emotional well-being program. iYarn is for Indigenous secondary students and aims to improve  school attendance and engagement through strengthening individual social and emotional wellbeing. The program includes a one-on-one case management approach for any Indigenous students within the school. This could include addressing wellness issues such as homelessness, drug and alcohol and safety. iYarn can also include facilitated group activities around wellness such as art therapy, project-based activities and connection to Country and community. iYarn is directly responsive to the individual and community need at any given point in time. iYarn is delivered by highly experienced and qualified indigenous youth case workers. It is wholly aimed at meeting the time-sensitive needs of the individual. It is predominately one-on-one but facilitated group work can be used to meet the needs of the young people. The service is delivered in the school setting but can also be delivered at CONNECT Offices, in community or another identified project-based location. The timeframe of the program is dependent on the needs of the individual.

Costs: Costs for the services will be subject to direct negotiation between Connect Northern Rivers and the school depending on individual or program needs. Group projects range from $5,000 to $30,000 depending on the program duration. Individual support costs range from $1,000 to $5,000 per student/per year. We will work within school budgets to provide customised programs.

Other Student Engagement and Attendance Services

  • Community School Partnerships
    This program is about facilitating opportunities for partnership with community organisations, industry and business that help engage young people in their learning. This can be a curriculum specific or a general program based on school needs. The aim of Community School Partnerships is to build partnerships that support young people to reach their full educational and social potential. These partnerships can be one-off events such as guest speakers in schools for a particular subject (eg. Chef speaking to a hospitality class) or industry visits (eg. taking primary industry students to visit an innovative farm). It can also involve larger partnerships such as IT project-based activities like work experience in a virtual workspace or supporting schools to effectively link to external opportunities. Community School Partnerships are facilitated by experienced partnership brokers and involve delivery to groups ranging from small to whole-of-school. Projects generally include in-school and off-site delivery, and can cater to whichever student target group is most appropriate. Time commitment is contingent on the activity.

Costs: Costs for the services will be subject to direct negotiation between Connect Northern Rivers and the school depending on individual or program needs. We will endeavour to work within school budgets to provide customised programs.

Contact details

Melissa Hughes

melissa.hughes@connectnr.com

Phone: 02 6622 4199

Mobile: 0427 011 312

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