Who does YMCA Bridge Project work with?

YMCA Bridge Project works with people who are 16-28 years old who have either committed - or are at risk of committing - criminal offences. While all participants undergo a risk assessment before commencing the program, Bridge Project strictly does not work with anyone who has committed any of the following offences; Homicide, sex offences, and/or child-related offences.

What steps does Bridge Project take to ensure the safety of potential employers?

All participants involved in the Bridge Project undergo a thorough risk assessment before being considered for employment which includes police checks and background checks. Oftentimes Bridge Project will be in contact with potential participants 3-6 months before any employment may commence to ascertain a detailed understanding of any needs or issues that may require specific attention such as housing or medical issues.

What happens if a participant is deemed unsuitable?

If at any stage the participant is unsuccessful in the process of gaining employment he or she will be advised on areas that need to be improved or addressed. These recommendations will also be communicated with other service providers working with the participant, to ensure their needs are met and addressed. Unsuccessful participants do not get precluded from future work opportunities. They will be given the support to address the barriers and circumstances to ensure they are better placed to secure any employment opportunities that may arise in the future.

What level of support is provided to employers and participants during the term of employment?

Bridge Project has specialised case managers who are able to liaise with employers to ensure a smooth process and to mediate any issues that may arise during the term of employment. Meetings and work site visits are held at the employer’s convenience to ensure operations are not disrupted.

Does Bridge Project conduct regular drug testing on participants?

While regular drug-testing may be a requirement of some participants’ corrections orders, Bridge Project does not conduct these tests itself. However it does liaise with Corrections Victoria to ensure these tests are successfully conducted, and that relevant support is provided depending on outcomes.

What happens if a participant’s employment is terminated?

Regardless of whether the termination was instigated by Bridge Project, the employer, or the participant, the termination needs to be properly managed to arrive at the best possible outcome. Participants will be encouraged to complete an exit interview to ascertain possible causes leading to the cessation. In the absence of an exit interview a basic review will be conducted by the case manager and employer into any factors contributing to the participant’s termination/resignation.

What impact does Bridge Project have on the wider community?

In Victoria today, there are over 1000 young people on community-based orders and a further 200 in custody. Almost half of these young people were unemployed before being imprisoned. YMCA Bridge Project can;

  • Drastically reduce the rate of reoffending in young people from over 50% to just 3%.
  • Save the Victorian government $1.5 million per year by reducing the rate of reoffending and keeping young people out of prison
  • Offer a second chance at life for young people genuinely remorseful of the crimes they have committed

Are there other ways our organisation can support Bridge Project?

Beyond hiring young people through Bridge Project, there are plenty of either ways you can support us:

  • Hire the services of YMCA ReBuild for facility maintenance
  • Make a donation either financially or of any other resources. YMCA ReBuild is always looking for equipment and supplies such as power tools, landscaping equipment, paint, fuel, etc.
  • Spread the word! Tell other businesses about what we do. The more work we can secure, the more lives of young people we are able to change for the better by offering employment opportunities

You may also be interested in