MS TIERNEY (Minister for Training and Skills) (12:38:57) — I rise today to inform the house of a great project focused on early intervention to assist young people in Geelong. The Geelong Project — TGP — is a fantastic example of a homegrown, innovative strategy to deal with a very serious problem on a local scale. It has proven results as an early intervention program for young people at risk of disengaging with family and/or school.
Leaving school early has a clear link with becoming homeless and in turn engaging in behaviours that see some young people end up in the youth justice system. TGP is an initiative developed over eight years from collaboration between Barwon Child, Youth and Family, three Geelong secondary schools, the Geelong Local Learning and Employment Network and Swinburne University. It is evidence based, with regularly assessed outcomes.
Having systematically identified at-risk students, TGP works with families as well as schools in a community setting. This is a new way of working with information and coordinating support services for youth to produce a place-based course of action. Early identification of risk, before it occurs, is TGP’s unique feature. TGP has seen a 50 per cent reduction in kids at risk of school disengagement, and about a 20 per cent reduction in early school leaving for the three pilot schools. These schools began with the highest rates, but in 2016 the majority of early school leavers came from the non-pilot schools.
The 2018–19 state budget provides $2.8 million to expand The Geelong Project to seven state secondary schools in Geelong. TGP is a model of collective collaborative action committed to keeping kids at school and at home, and making sure that they have the opportunity for a good life and a good outcome in life. I take this opportunity to thank all involved in this great project, a project that certainly changes lives.