Learning | Growing | Thriving

Skills and education

Through our Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare program, Kelly and her children worked on becoming more connected and in tune with one another. They learned to explore and regulate their emotions, and renewed their coping strategies, communication, parenting skills, boundary setting and personal safety.

All YFS teams help clients learn skills to create and sustain change in their circumstances. This includes technical skills like budgeting or parenting, and underpinning skills like coping and communication.

YFS’ electronic waste recycling social enterprise Substation33 offered more than 600 people opportunities to learn skills in a supportive work environment in 2018-19. Through more than 76,000 hours of work, participants learned to disassemble waste and create value-added products like road flooding warning signs and water quality meters. A contract to deliver 50 warning signs for Logan ensured ongoing opportunities for skill building.

Substation33 also provided participants with drug and alcohol focused learning during the year through a small grant from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

Once again, YFS offered opportunities for disadvantaged job seekers to learn on the job through our Skilling Queenslanders for Work Rail Trail project. As well as gaining a qualification in land management, 16 trainees gained skills that equipped them to take up jobs in other organisations when they finished the traineeship. A further eight trainees graduated from a business traineeship, learning administration and marketing skills on-the-job in local community organisations.

YFS Legal contributed to Logan people’s ability to navigate the legal system. In 2018-19, YFS Legal provided more than 40 community education activities, with topics including drugs and alcohol, contract disputes, sexting and wills. These sessions aim to improve community understanding of the law. YFS Legal offers a legal advice clinic, duty lawyers services and children’s legal representation, which provided 1,295 people with advice about how to navigate the legal system. In 2018-19, YFS Legal initiated student legal clinics, working with QUT and the University of Queensland to provide placements for law students, including a group with a First Nations focus.

Community education was a focus for other teams as well, including our Financial Counsellors who delivered 20 community education sessions in 2018-19 to increase financial literacy in the community.

Future focus

YFS Legal will undertake a needs analysis in 2019-20 to identify community legal education priorities with First Nations people and communities.

YFS will partner with Pathways to Resilience to train our family coaches. Coaches will learn how to pass on coping and self-regulation skills to parents and children impacted by trauma.

Learning by mixing social, economic and environmental activity

In 2018-19, Substation33 worked with a number of universities and researchers to better understand the enterprise’s impact. Researchers discovered a rich environment that generates social and environmental benefits as well as skills development and employment outcomes.

For example, Dr Dhaval Vyas from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), noted that Substation33 supported sustainability, inclusivity and innovation. Dr Vyas described Substation33 as a “makerspace”, where people from low socio-economic backgrounds could improve their career trajectories while creating environmental benefits.

QUT researcher Dr Carol Richards noted the mingling of people with a range of abilities and skills benefitting from participation at Substation33.

A Griffith University academic Sylvia Ramsay explored the role of “hybrid organisations” achieving social and environmental goals and outcomes, noting that “Substation33 achieves improved social wellbeing through activities and projects that improve environmental wellbeing.”


80% of young people are referred to our Youthlink team because of their identified risk of disengaging from school or work (learning or earning). Youthlink uses an assessment tool that considers eight aspects of young people’s lives to assess their needs and review progress. The Youthlink evaluation showed the domain with the largest degree of change between first to final review was ‘schooling or work and income’. This was true for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people as well.

As well as connecting with school, the evaluation showed that Youthlink helped young people with their motivation and capacity to make changes in their lives.

Youthlink schooling or work engagement

(based on a five point scale)


Meet enthusiastic student Kelly

When Kelly came to YFS’ ParentsNext team she had been away from the workforce for some time, so the skills she learnt from her former employer, the Queensland Government, were a little out of date. Kelly took the big step of enrolling in formal training, with support from her ParentsNext worker Rachel.

“I had never completed a course in my life, so it was a big step for me to take,” Kelly said.

“Rachel helped me realise that I had the potential within me to change my career. She helped me unlock my potential.”