Jobs tactic to fight crime

Victoria Police is throwing its support behind young people in the west as part of its campaign to steer them away from crime and into employment.

The Youth Umbrella Project, based in Brimbank, is being held up as one of the local success stories in helping police reach young people.

Run by Youth Junction, the umbrella project supports vulnerable and disadvantaged young people aged between 12 and 24 who have had contact with the justice system or are at high risk of doing so.

Youth Junction chief executive Karen Hart said the project works with young people to create pathways away from crime.

Youth Umbrella participants are offered assistance with legal counselling, education, living skills, narrative therapy, music production, cooking, barista and hospitality training, respectful relationships, indoor football and after-school homework

The project, funded by the state government’s Community Crime Prevention Program, will be discussed at the Police Chief Commissioner’s Youth Summit in Melbourne tomorrow (November 1).

Chief commissioner Graham Ashton said protecting young people from criminal involvement was not something police could do alone.

“In last year’s summit, we heard loud and clear the challenges that some young people face when trying to access the job market,” he said.

He said a shortage of jobs with good prospects and lack of access to training and education meant some young people considered street life more appealing than the regular working world.

This year’s summit will bring together about 200 leaders from industry, community organisations, government and non-government agencies, as well as young people.

“We want to invest in our youth, support them in finding jobs they are passionate about and give them the opportunity to get experience early, in turn reducing the risk of them entering the justice system,” Mr Ashton said. “The more we can keep youth people engaged in education or employment and connected to community, the better their life outcomes will be.”

The Chief Commissioner’s Youth Summit will be held at the MCG between 9am and 1.10pm on Wednesday, November 1.