Advancing Youth Resilience in Melbourne

Young people in Australia are growing up in an environment where economic changes are transforming the meaning and nature of work through automation, globalization, and more flexible types of work. In Melbourne, the fastest growing city in Australia, these changes are impacting young people who are experiencing high rates of unemployment and underemployment, and statistics indicate that it now takes on average 4.7 years for a young person to transition from full time education to full time meaningful work.

Research shows that the churn that young people experience in moving from education to employment is taking a toll on mental well-being. Resilient Melbourne has been working alongside local and state government and not-for profit organizations to develop an initiative that seeks to improve the mental well-being of young people by increasing personal resilience and connection to the community, putting young people at the center of solution design and decision-making.

Resilient Melbourne applied the Resilience Value Realization (RVR) tool to this initiative, in an effort to define and align objectives of the respective organizations involved, and to better understand the resilience value that solutions arising from this initiative can and should deliver. The tool provided a structured methodology, in which key decision makers, including state and local government, potential investors, community organizations, and young people could work together to define a set of common objectives, measures of success, and the resilience value that this collaboration could bring. Working through the methodology also produced a roadmap of key decisions, milestones, and activities necessary to develop the initiative.

Read: Boulder uses Resilience Value Realization to do scenario planning

The targeted workshop was valuable in bringing everyone to a common understanding and appreciation of the complexity of the challenge they were working to address and brought to the forefront the importance of co-design – that the solutions that best serve young people need to be more than designed with young people, but fundamentally designed by young people. Participants also explored the connection between personal resilience and community resilience, recognizing that an individual’s ability to cope and adapt to their circumstances is dependent on the local and wider community to provide support systems and services.

In addition to advancing the youth resilience initiative through the RVR, the Resilient Melbourne team have fully embraced the RVR methodology and has built capacity within the team to apply the tool to a series of five further workshops to kick off pilot projects for their “Resilient Communities” property-based initiative.  The RVR’s emphasis on alignment and problem framing with a diverse stakeholder set is allowing Resilient Melbourne to more quickly advance the priority initiatives from the Resilient Melbourne Strategy, and enables Resilient Melbourne to put resilience at the centre of initiative design.  This is not only enabling the team to inject resilience value into initiatives driven by other parties, it also helps demonstrate the value of the Resilient Melbourne Delivery Office to other stakeholders, from government and beyond.