MYC tackles disparity with innovation


MYC has created social enterprises that provide a supported entry point into the labour market.
MYC has created social enterprises that provide a supported entry point into the labour market. 


Catholic Outlook, September 2015

Marist Youth Care (MYC), a national non-profit organisation with its head office in Blacktown, is making a real difference to the lives of unemployed and disengaged Aboriginal young people.

With the Aboriginal unemployment rate hovering around 18%, approximately three times that of the national unemployment rate of 6%, MYC has identified the need for a new approach in creating sustainable jobs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers.

MYC’s CEO, Cate Sydes, said 2.7% of Blacktown LGA's population (8195) were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people, compared with 1.2% for Greater Sydney.

“This is the highest proportion of ATSI population in urban NSW,” Cate said. “Blacktown LGA is in the lowest 30% for both general disadvantage and also for education and occupational levels measured by the ABS Socio-Economic Index.”

In response, MYC has invested heavily in creating social enterprises that provide a supported entry point into the labour market, cultural mentoring, and on-the-job training.

Examples of three of these include:

MYC Painting Services is a qualified and licensed painting and decorating contractor. Working primarily as a sub-contractor, MYC Painting Services prides itself on first-class workmanship on a range of residential and commercial jobs. Currently experiencing growth, a total of six Aboriginal apprentices have been hired in the first six months of operation.

Having already partnered with Programmed, Blacktown City Council and the Sarina Russo Group, MYC Painting Services is looking to expand its services and, in turn, create further social impact with its employment model.

MYCafe operated for 12 months in 2014-15, servicing construction workers at IKEA, Bunnings and Masters within the new Sydney Business Park development in Marsden Park.

In this short window, MYC directly employed eight Aboriginal trainees, in many cases providing job seekers with their first employment opportunity.

Reclaimed is a recycled furniture and homewares enterprise that engages young Aboriginal job seekers, providing a safe and rewarding activity that builds skills, confidence and employability.

MYC accepts donations of recycled furniture, which job seekers refurbish, repair and repaint to bring the item back to its former glory. Once completed, job seekers learn how to resell items which, in turn, provides participants with a short-term income while looking for long-term work.

MYC currently employs 35 Aboriginal staff, which represents 10% of its total workforce.

Cate Sydes said culturally relevant programs were of utmost importance in effectively addressing the needs of Aboriginal people, especially at-risk young people.

“MYC actively recruits local Aboriginal people to improve stakeholder engagement and provide effective response to the unique issues within the local Aboriginal community, she said. 

For more information about MYC or to discuss employment partnership opportunities, please contact Adam Makepeace, Senior Manager Employment and Training Services, tel 0407 95 49 84. Visit


Tags: MYC   Blacktown   unemployed

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