YMCA Bridge Project runs a program of life skills education and workplace readiness training designed to improve the confidence and mindset of young offenders. This program is known as Bridge Employment Support & Training.

Most of the young people on the program have been released from prison and referred to the program by a third party such as a parole officer. Some young people participate in the program before being released from Ravenhall Correctional Centre - which also participates in the ReBuild program. 

Bridge Employment Support & Training (BEST) delivers life skills and vocational training modules designed to improve the confidence and mindset of Bridge participants. The skills and knowledge gained in the training is essential for career development and assists with everyday living and life choices.

Proudly supported by Jobs Victoria, the BEST program is delivered to male and female offenders serving Community Correctional Orders throughout Victoria and at the Ravenhall Correctional Centre.

The program aims to empower participants to address their offending behaviour, promotes positive life choices and prepares them for employment or further educational opportunities.

The program covers topics on;

  • Resume writing
  • Practical maths
  • Budgeting
  • Nutrition
  • Health and hygiene
  • Conflict resolution
  • Leadership
  • Goal setting

Of the 27 programs run in 2019, approximately 200 people finished the course at a completion rate of 82.4%.

The ability of facilitators to quickly build rapport and their honest yet down-to-earth approach allows participants to feel comfortable about opening up and discussing relevant issues and aspects of their life, as well as developing new skills, confidence and knowledge.

Facilitators cater for the needs of a broad range of participants in regard to language, literacy and numeracy ability, including those with high level literacy and numeracy skills and those with limited abilities.

The BEST program ultimately aims to assist and help each individual that engages in the program, helping them to achieve success in both their personal and professional lives and helping them to be healthier and happier in body, mind, and spirit.

What participants say about BEST

In the last year, participants report a 29% increase in self-esteem, a 30% increase in improved skills in conflict resolution, and a 30% increase in confidence when applying for jobs.

“Loved everything about the course and really looked forward to it each day. I am motivated to achieve the goals I set during the program.”

“It gave me confidence to secure employment. Great group environment and atmosphere which I looked forward to each day. It increased my motivation levels to help better myself.”

“Wasn’t sure what to expect but the program was extremely inspiring and gave me hope that life can get better if you want it to. The trainers were so approachable and understanding. They also are genuine and it is obvious they don’t just talk the talk, they also walk it…and that makes taking what they say mean something.”

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