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Breaking the cycle of youth unemployment in Victoria

With Victoria's youth unemployment rate sitting above the national average at 13.9 per cent*, Good Cycles is providing opportunities for young people to turn an interest into a career through its Cycle Smart program. As a bike education and training program it provides a platform to transition young people into further education so they can develop the skills required to find work in the bicycle maintenance industry.

As Australia's first not-for-profit bike shop, Good Cycles is a social enterprise that uses bicycle-related services and activities to provide ongoing work experience opportunities and direct support for people in Melbourne experiencing long-term unemployment and disadvantage.

Cycle Smart has been developed to engage and educate young people with significant barriers to getting ahead in life. The program provides vocational introduction to bicycle repair and maintenance, along with bike safety education. It gives young people the confidence and skills required to continue their learning in the bicycle industry with the long term goal of finding meaningful employment.

Recently, two graduates from the Cycle Smart program who completed the course in May this year secured employment within Good Cycles' commercial enterprises working as bike mechanics on the Melbourne Bike Share scheme.

"This outcome is the ultimate aim of the work we do. To see two young men make their way through our training programs and progress to such a level that they've managed to find meaningful employment is what motivates us," said Good Cycles Co-founder, Luke Wright.

"Thanks to the generosity of partners like nib foundation, since Cycle Smart launched in February 2015 we've been able to engage and educate 45 young people, the majority of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds, and provide them with opportunities for employment and work experience within the cycling industry," Luke said.

nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe, highlights the value of the Good Cycles initiative and its focus on improving the health and wellbeing of young people.

"By engaging, educating and employing young people who might otherwise struggle to find genuine work opportunities, Good Cycles is tackling a number of important social issues," Amy said.

"We are proud to support this relatively young social enterprise in its very practical endeavours to harness the power of the humble bicycle for good. We know employment is an important determinant of health, so by creating an inclusive and supportive environment for disadvantaged youth to participate in a positive way, develop confidence and learn new skills we hope to see this translate to improved health and wellbeing over the long term," added Amy.

Good Cycles will offer one more Cycle Smart course before the end of the year, with enrolments continuing to increase. More information on Good Cycles social programs can be found at the Good Cycles website.

*Data sourced from Australian Bureau of Statistics and refers to the unemployment rate of 15 to 24 year olds in Victoria as at September 2015.