Talk to us today 1300 855 347


An AES Community Design Project for our Youth and Young Adults

NRL Indigenous All Stars jersey

Complete our Community Survey to go into the running to win a 2023 signed NRL Indigenous All Stars jersey!

As community is at the heart of what we do at the AES, we want to know how to best support our youth and young adults. To do this we need to hear from the mob we serve across NSW to build on what works and develop new ideas to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 15 to 30 years of age.

While AES supports all Aboriginal people, the Government has asked us to lead a project focussed on 15-30 year-olds transitioning from school to work, as well as helping them to find and stay in good jobs.

In order to develop and deliver this project, we are currently applying for funding through the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA)’s inaugural Indigenous Skills and Employment Program (ISEP). This program funds projects and activities that help to connect First Nations people to jobs, career advancement opportunities, and to new training and job-ready activities.

As a not-for-profit Aboriginal organisation, AES depends on funding from the Federal Government and its organisations to deliver services that benefit career seekers in the Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander communities.

A key criterion in evaluating the ISEP submissions is that the services/ projects must be “designed in conjunction with the target First Nations community and its key stakeholders”. To make sure we do that genuinely and robustly, we are undertaking a “Community Design” Process to hear from and work with young people, communities and other stakeholders.

We know that by involving community members at the design and development stage, we can create more impactful AES services and programs, now and into the future across all our initiatives. Solutions for young people must be designed with and by young people.

How can you be heard?

To ensure we hear from a range of people, we’re running activities across Eastern NSW. Here are some of the activities and how to get involved. If you can’t take part in any of the activities below but want to share your feedback, you can contact us directly at

1. Youth Co-design Group

We’ll work with a group of 15-20 young Aboriginal people from targeted communities across Eastern NSW to understand what young mob need across the employment journey, what’s currently working and where we need to do something different. The group will learn research and service design skills and talk to other young people in their networks about their experiences leaving school, finding work and staying in work.

This group’s purpose is to centre young people’s voices and experiences in the design and involve them in endorsing the final solutions.

If we’re successful in Phase Two, we’ll continue to work with young people through implementation, governance, monitoring, evaluation and learning.

2. Community Conversations

Per region, targeted 60-120 minute conversations will be held with up to 30 pre-identified local community members including parents, caregivers, family members and Elders, young people, industry/ external partners, including local employers, local Industry stakeholders, Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations, Local Government and peak bodies – selected based on their relevant knowledge and skills, their influence in the sector and their commitment to cultural safety and competence.

The workshops aim to develop a deeper shared understanding of the strengths, issues and challenges experienced within the specific regions with respect to First Nations employment outcomes, and the most suitable services to address them and support the community to improve outcomes.

In consultation with community leaders, the delivery of these workshops will be flexible, catering to the needs and availability of the community members. This could range from including a Co-Design Workshop on an existing ongoing community forum, scheduling a standalone session with participants, or setting up one-on-one interviews with stakeholders. The workshops will be Aboriginal-Lead, facilitated by AES representatives within the region, and supported by local leaders where appropriate.

3. Youth Forums

The first component of this section will be delivering similar forums with young Aboriginal people between the ages of 15-25.

The aim is to ensure young people feel comfortable speaking up and can tell us where and how their experiences and ideas differ to those of the Youth Co-Design Group.

Where they exist, we’ll work with pre-existing local community youth governance forums and community groups/service providers already working with and supporting young Aboriginal people.

4. Online and paper surveys

We’ve designed a survey for 15-25-year-olds, parents, caregivers, family and kin, the broader Aboriginal Community Members/ stakeholders, previous clients and employers/ industry partners.

The surveys will compliment the community conversations and establish a firsthand qualitative baseline across the intended service regions regarding the barriers to employment, what AES services best address them and what the community feels are the most important supports/interventions to meet employment outcomes.

To maximise engagement and promote of broad cross section of responses, the surveys will be shared widely within our communities through a variety of virtual and in person channels, which will be decided in consultation with community leaders in the region.

Complete the online survey here.

How can my community be heard?

If you participate in any one of the activities as part of the Community Design Process, we ask that you:

  • Bring your perspective – we want to understand what you see working for or against young people’s successful employment will help inform the design solutions that fit your community.
  • Bring a wide range of ideas with a dose of practicality – we are eager to hear your ideas and will share some of our constraints so we can develop ideas that the AES can realistically deliver.
  • Commit to the process – we want to hear what you have to say, and we will work with your availability and preferences. Where a time commitment is required, we ask that you attend activities and participate.
  • Come as you are – we know there’s huge diversity in our communities, visible and invisible. You don’t have to dress fancy, speak a certain way or contribute in a certain way for us to value your input.

Our timeline for Community Design

The Community Design Process output will be captured in the AES’ Community Design Report. Following is the draft timeline. Please bear in mind this could change based on, for example, what’s happening for communities, our organisation or due to something unforeseen:

  • 6th of March: Commence key activities, including the surveys and the delivery of Workshop/ forum activities.
  • 24th of March: Complete most key activities.
  • 27th of March to the 4th of April: Commence the playback and reflection process, sharing the draft contents and findings of the AES Community Design Report with participants.
  • 7th of April: Finish incorporating the feedback and finalise the report.
  • 12th of April: Submit final AES Community Report to ISEP and socialise to the broader Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander Communities.

You’ll find the link to our online survey here.

You can download an information pamphlet in PDF or as a Word Document.

For more information or to get involved, please contact


© Copyright Aboriginal Employment Strategy 2024