• Eli Muse

The Plug Project Experience

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

In 2018, we held our second community dialogue on Societal & Parental Factors That Lead to Juvenile Delinquency. We learned quite a lot but none was as thought provoking as the opinion of a mostly quiet young man in the audience who gently took the microphone and said "I have been to quite a number of community consultations, they generally lead to nothing, what will be next after yours?"

October 25, 2018 community dialogue on Societal and Parental Factors That Lead To Juvenile Delinquency

We took that feedback to our drawing board to design a program that addressed the areas of need discussed with a focus on engaging and rewarding young people's effort and quickly too.

Times are changing, and our Generation Z don't seem to be going with the flow with traditional education and 9 - 5 employment as previous generations have meekly done. They are generally misunderstood partly because they prefer activities that promises fun and immediate rewards and put on high priority any activity that gives them clout among their peers. Having none in place, they get bored and are more likely to engage in risky behaviours for fun and most times for financial rewards - the later common with those from low income families.

Putting all that into consideration, we thought on how to educate them with employable skills without "schooling", get them in employment without loosing their "freedom". So we designed a community led mentor traineeship program, The Plug Project, where young people are tutored by successful professionals and entrepreneurs they admire in the community, can relate to, and in a non academic environment. To keep balance, the students were encouraged to develop a live project at the end of the program to build their portfolio. We got to work by engaging local businesses, small businesses, individuals with projects, mom and dad businesses, neighbours and the responsive team at the Wyndham City Council.

The support of the Wyndham City Council amplified our efforts.

First Photo: Meeting with Wyndham City Council Mayor, Cr Mia Shaw, Middle Photo: KH team meets Henry Tammassese, Senior policy and planning officer, Third Photo: With Riki Marlow & Leah Davie of the Wyndham Library Services.

Thanks to Cr Walter Villagonzalo, we also met with Joel Reyes, Liaison officer at the Wyndham Business & Tourism Association and Nick Christou Chairman of WBTA and CEO at the Park Hotel for support in reaching out to the local business community. Several other meetings were held with individuals and organisations not captured on photo.

Nick Christou, Bode Muse & Joel Reyes

Our target was 24 students, a breakdown of six students per tutor in four skills categories - Website Design & Development, Mobile App Design & Development, Video Production & Editing, and Digital Marketing.

We recruited professionals from the various industries with stellar experience:

Jenna Farrell - Jen & Ben Designs

Harry Sanders - CEO, Studio Hawk

Realm Choong - Award Winning Filmmaker

Farhan Mohammed - Software Engineer at Telstra

We had 27 students sign ups for the program, and graduated 15 students on Saturday, 27 July 2019. The others had scant attendance, some barely showed up. We learned new retention and engagement strategies from this challenge that will be useful in our next program.

Credits to Deborah Dickinson, our youth life coach and counsellor who was on call to each student, providing encouragement and motivation to some of the students and tutors who struggled in the program. Her work was tested in difficult moments, having to manage 24 students by herself as Nick Emms our head coach was away overseas. The turnaround was impressive and feedback on her work have been positive.

Deborah Dickinson, NLP Coach & Counsellor

Outcomes and scores

Here are some key metrics we measured ourselves against for the success of the program:

  • 112.5 % Enrolment rate - we targeted 24, had 27 enrolments

  • 62.5% Graduation rate - 15 students completed their live projects, 9 dropped out.

  • 75% Employment rate - Number of student or groups who secured hires or interviews after graduation. Two groups had immediate hires, 1 group at interview stage, 1 group seeking engagement.

  • Attendance rate - a combination of student self learning of materials provided by tutors, online sessions with tutors and in class sessions - Not yet available.

  • Tutor hours - Expected - 30 hours, Actual - Not yet Available

Support letters from the business community

Lots of credits to Temi Akinloye, Senior Domain Architect at Telstra who joined in to co-design the Plug Project with myself, Lily Troupe, who has been with Kulture Hive from inception, putting in her time and contributes her experience from social work background, Senthill Sudaraman mostly behind the scenes but very efficient, Nick Emms our head NLP practitioner and life coach whose work has visibly impacted some difficult cases we have worked with, Mehak Sheik our Programs Director doing the hard task of keeping our ideas relatable to our audience and Sherry Rose Watts our Youth Engagement Officer.

Much appreciation to Troy Eley, Senior Grants Officer at the Wyndham City Council for fail proofing our idea and feedback on how to optimise our program for bigger impact, Cliff Eberly, Social and Economic Inclusion Lead at Wyndham City Council for facilitating our connection with the Wyndham business community.

Grateful to have our final presentation event graced by the presence of Cr Walter Villagonzalo Future Focused Portfolio holder at Wyndham council and Cr Henry Barlow, Cultural Diversity Holder at the Wyndham City Council

Appreciation to the team at the Wyndham City Council, Reece Gains and team at the Wyndham Youth Services, Telstra for the support and Tim Butler at Point Cook TV for the promotion.

Thanks to SBS NEWS for the coverage:

See photo gallery on our facebook page:

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