Skip to content

Making things, better. An evaluation of the Troublesmiths youth employment initiative.

Youth employment initiative helps launch ‘Troublesmiths’ into work

25 November 2019

The first evaluation report for a Tasmanian social enterprise-based employment program for young people who are disengaged from education and at risk of long-term unemployment was launched in Hobart today.

The youth employment initiative Troublesmiths, is aimed at 15-24-year olds and is delivered by Impact Communities, a social impact initiative of the Tasmanian not-for-profit organisation, Workskills Inc.

Impact Communities Manager Mark Boonstra said the program was funded to operate in Hobart, for youth participants from across Southern Tasmania, between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2019, by the Australian Government as an ‘Empowering Youth Initiative’ (EYI).

Initially called the Youth Entrepreneurial Service (YES), Mr Boonstra said the program was changed to ‘Troublesmiths’ as part of a rebranding exercise driven by the youth participants.

The concept behind the new name is that all the youth participants come to the program with some kind of ‘trouble’, and then make or ‘smith’ their challenges into opportunities,” he said.

The report highlighted how Troublesmiths helped its 146 participants over the two-year period through one-on-one and group coaching, work experience, job placement, training and/or further education, and support to stay in work through employment and apprenticeship programs and incentives.

“The core focus of participation in Troublesmiths is to gain paid work or commence formal education and/or training,” Mr Boonstra said.

“The program takes participants through three domains – work readiness, personal development and social enterprise activity.”

Troublesmiths participant Ellie Ransom said the program gave her the skills to integrate back into society.

Through the program Ellie received a range of skills working in the Troublesmith’s store, including sales, manufacturing and customer service.

“I know that its (the program) helped me incredibly and I think it’s important that other people get the same opportunity,” Ellie said.

“I’ve noticed a huge difference in myself. I’m more confident, a lot more bubbly and I’m happier.

“Troublesmiths has really helped me to become the best version of myself. It’s been a very positive and uplifting experience, I’m really grateful for it.”

Institute for the Study of Social Change Director Professor Richard Eccleston said the report was an important collaboration between the University of Tasmania, Impact Communities and Workskills Inc.

Professor Eccleston said the report also showcased updated data on the ways Troublesmiths might continue to offer opportunities to young Tasmanians.

The Institute is proud to support a social impact initiative like Troublesmiths which supports young Tasmanians to not only gain the necessary work skills but to believe in themselves.

“There is a clear case for a more comprehensive and state-level disclosure regime for political donations and expenditure. This system would be affordable and accommodate and preserve the distinctive features of the Tasmanian electoral system and parliament.

“Reflecting the Terms of Reference of the Government’s review, we also consider the related issues of limiting political donations and campaign spending, whether public funding should be made available to support political campaigning and whether ‘third parties’ need to be subjected to tighter regulation?

“These issues are more complex and less clear cut, but we believe there is a case for extending a modified version of the spending cap which applies to Legislative Council elections to the House of Assembly.

"As political theorists have argued for over half a century, if democracies are to survive and thrive, we need to ensure that governments represent and promote the public interest over those of powerful corporations or unions.

“Given that trust in government is falling around the world, it is more important than ever to promote simple reforms which will boost the public’s confidence in election results and ensure that policy decisions are being made in the public interest.”

Read the full report (PDF 3.8MB)

Images: Troublesmith's participants (1) Banner - Ellie Ransom and Braydon Price. (2) Ellie Ransom and Lillian Mourant. (3) Samantha Crosswell.


Institute for Social Change
University of Tasmania
Private Bag 44


Follow the Institute for Social Change on Facebook  Follow the Institute for Social Change on Twitter