Wagga PCYC members have received a major boost to their education, employment and community engagement thanks to a major NSW Police strategy announced today.
The RISEUP initiative, launched by NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller APM, includes job-ready programs, mentoring and vocational training for at-risk youth between 15 and 18 years of age to divert them from criminal activity.
Brett Summerville, PCYC regional manager based in Wagga, welcomed the initiative and said the program would help encourage young people to take proactive steps toward success.
“It will have relevance to young people in Wagga and the Riverina,” Mr Summerville said.
“The program is quite significant as it’s an overarching targeted strategy.
“We’re [PCYC NSW] 81 years old and now we have a commissioner who’s focused on making some big changes for young people.”
Mr Summerville said that the Wagga club already has similar programs, including ‘fit for life’ and ‘fit for work’, that would integrate with RISEUP once it is rolled out.
“It’s pretty exciting, we’ll roll it out fairly soon,” he said.
“It would strengthened our partnerships with community organisations and the council.”
Mr Summerville said that plans also include the possibility of implementing some of the programs across Wagga’s schools to improve accessibility.
One of the program’s success stories is shown by 18-year-old Jacob Riordan, who escaped a life of crime and violence.
“I’m sharing my story because there’s kids out there going down the same path and now they have a chance,” Mr Riordan said.
“Any other kid, young or older – don’t give up.
“There’s always someone out there to help you.”
There’s always someone out there to help you.Jacob Riordan
During the launch at Woolloomooloo PCYC, Commissioner Fuller was joined by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Minister for Police Troy Grant and PCYC NSW CEO Dominic Teakle.
“It has been my long-held view that by investing in preventative strategies with our young people, we can save a generation of children from a life of crime,” Commissioner Fuller said.
“RISEUP is breaking through barriers to engage our vulnerable young people from heading down a less desirable path in life and giving them a career start, which is a priority of mine.
“Importantly, employment gives our youth a sense of achievement, pride and structure they might not be getting in a traditional family environment and it’s humbling to know we have some of the country’s biggest businesses standing beside us to support our future leaders.”
“PCYC is a proud partner in the delivery of this program and it sits at the head of what PCYC stands for – empowerment of young people,” Mr Teakle said.
Premier Berejiklian said the government was proud to support the initiative and keep disengaged young people on the right side of the law.
“This is an outstanding initiative that will build on the excellent work NSW Police are doing to reduce crime across the state, while further boosting the employment prospects of young people,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Launching a bold new mentoring program for Police Citizens Youth Club @PCYCNSW developed by @nswpolice which will help teenagers stay on track & find employment. This new RISEUP program will build on the excellent work NSW Police are doing to prevent crime https://t.co/UHFJcm77bppic.twitter.com/0C19ndFRfZ— Gladys Berejiklian (@GladysB) August 8, 2018
The initiative will operate statewide in partnership with PCYC NSW and it is supported by funding from the Macquarie Group Foundation and Snowy Hydro.
The NSW Police Force encourages employers to consider the benefits of supporting disengaged young people.
Businesses and organisations that have joined the initiative include Macquarie Group, Snowy Hydro, Allianz, Steggles, Commonwealth Bank, Hungry Jacks, NSW TrainLink, IGA, Bunnings and TAFE NSW.
- More about the program: RISEUP website.