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Youth Employment Skills (YES)

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Youth Employment Skills (YES) proposed a government subsidised website which could also be financially supported by industry sponsorships.

YES aims to bring together industries, youth, employers and employees to address rising rates of youth unemployment.

The website, developed by Ria Patel and Mahi Vaghela, offers students a training and experience program all on a mobile site.

YES is a free creditable program for students in years 10 to 12. Schools must advocate for the voluntary participation of students in this program.

The judges applauded YES for its early intervention – equipping high school students with the skills development they need in order to obtain meaningful employment. It is an ambitious way to equip young people with the social and professional capital they need to explore different career pathways.

Meet the team

Ria Patel

I’m Ria, a year 12 student. I enjoy boxing, swimming, economics, business studies, being around adorable animals, travelling and spending time with friends and family. My team partner, Mahi and I decided to partake in this competition in hopes that we could make a small difference in our own way. We gained several skills along the way such as critical thinking, problem solving and presentation skills. We deeply hope to see Greater Sydney transform into a place where youth unemployment doesn’t remain a leading issue.

Mahi Vaghela

I’m Mahi, a 16-year-old. I’m a very mathematical person who likes to follow a “formula”. Despite this, I live by the motto: “Go with the flow”. It’s always been a priority to find our dream career so young, which holds the youth back from experimenting with their future. YES allows students the opportunity to experiment with different fields and freely change their courses of study, based on later preferences. It’s opportunities like this that I truly believe will do a great part in reducing the issues of unemployment in Greater Sydney today.

Submission video


Liz Dibbs

Western City District

Liz Dibbs is a non-executive director in the government and for-purpose sectors. She is Deputy Chancellor of Western Sydney University and Chair of its Audit & Risk Committee, Chairman of United Way Australia and a Governor of the Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology. She was the President of YWCA NSW from 2007-2011 and a director of YWCA Australia from 2009 to 2013. Liz has also previously served as a Council Member of Chief Executive Women and Chair of its Scholarship Committee.

Liz was a partner and General Counsel of PwC until 2005 and also previously worked with major law firms Mallesons Stephen Jaques (Sydney) and Linklaters & Paines (London).

Steffen Faurby

TAFE NSW - Managing Director

Steffen joined TAFE NSW as Managing Director in January 2020.

Prior to joining TAFE NSW, Steffen had a successful career in the public transport sector. Most recently he was CEO of State Transit Authority of NSW and before that CEO of Harbour City Ferries, the operator of Sydney Ferries in partnership with Transport for NSW.

Steffen has 30 years of global experience in building high-performing teams and delivering complex projects in both the public and the private sector. Prior to moving to Australia Steffen held executive leadership roles in Europe and USA.