What We Do!

The National Youth Commission Australia (NYCA) is an independent, non-partisan community inquiry into the challenges faced by young people preparing for and seeking work now and into the future. It draws together the expertise and lived experience of diverse young people across the country, along with ideas from experts and the broader public, to create solutions to overcome these challenges.


We work in three main ways:


  1. Build the Evidence. We build and draw on existing evidence, peoples expertise and lived experience, and ideas for solutions to the challenges being faced by young people preparing for and seeking work through public hearings, workshops, online submissions and engagement through different social media platforms
  2. Collect and Tell Stories. We educate the community about these issues and solutions by publishing articles and discussion papers and provide free access to all data collected throughout the inquiry
  3. Advocate for Change. With a network of partners who support and contribute to the work of the NYCA, the NYCA advocates for an ecosystem of education, employment and transition to independence that will see all young people equipped and supported to fully participate in work and the community.

Find out more: See the Terms of Reference

Watch the NYCA Micro Documentary

Purpose, Vision & Principles

Our Vision


Our vision is for an ecosystem of education and transition to independence that will see all young people equipped to fully participate in work and the community.


Our Purpose


To secure the commitment of Commonwealth, State & Territory governments to guarantee that all young people will develop the skills and capabilities they need to survive and thrive in the 21st century economy and society.

Our Principles

Youth focused

We are youth focused. Young people are front and centre in all that we do. It’s their future and they need to have a say in it and to be listened to by those in power. Young people’s voices are often absent from debates about education, training and employment, and they lack confidence about their working futures. We will provide opportunities for them to ‘speak out and be heard’.

community engagement

We believe in active community engagement. We want to inform and awaken the community to the current and emerging challenges faced by young people. We are interested in informing and provoking community discussion about how things are and how they could be. We know that without community concern and/or unrest nothing will change.


We are fiercely independent. We are non-partisan and do not take government funds so we’re answerable to civil society and our organisational purpose. We cannot be hijacked or biased by third parties.

systems thinkers

We are systems thinkers. We reject the silo way of thinking which is ill equipped to deal with the challenges facing young people today and in to the future. We need to rethink pathways from education to work to ensure our young people are equipped with the skills and capabilities to succeed in the future. We are not interested in tinkering around the edges. We know that many of the issue we are interested in are connected but have been previously dealt with separately. We want to see a paradigm shift – we want to see system change and bold new policies.


We are non-partisan. No one side of politics has all the answers. It is not the case that one side is right and the other wrong as politicians would have it when they engage in adversarial politics. Complex problems generally cannot be solved in the short-term by government. The National Youth Commission Australia is non-partisan in its processes and determinations. While the NYCA is non-aligned we seek outcomes that are multi-partisan in support and application.

work with others

We will work with others. We will have greater impact and effect greater change if we partner with a wide range of stakeholders who contribute experience, expertise and influence. We are keen to gather the knowledge that is already available and use it to strengthen our case and cause.

seeking justice

We are seeking justice. We will call out unfair policies and practice and seek change to ensure better outcomes for young people. We also seek justice where there is inequity in education and strive to address unequal opportunity.

appreciate diversity

We appreciate diversity. We understand that there needs to be cross-fertilisation, a coming together of various fields, disciplines, personalities, generations and cultures to develop a national reform agenda.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces plan to create 1.25 million jobs

Why We Are Needed?

The world of work is in a state of flux and young people could be a major casualty. There is growing polarisation of labour market opportunities between high and low-skill jobs, unemployment and underemployment especially among young people, resulting in income inequality and stagnating incomes for a large proportion of households.


Automation, digital platforms, and other innovations are changing the fundamental nature of work and as a nation we are unprepared.


“We Believe The Future Of Work Is What We Make It.”


Australia needs to make some fundamental changes in the way it both conceptualises and delivers education. Without major reforms many young people will be ill equipped to participate in the future economy.


When governments won’t do the right thing or can’t seem to do the right thing even when they say they will, it is time for civil society to come together to make the future happen.

How We Will Bring About Change

The NYCA will engage civil society through a range of discussion platforms. These will be used to work out what is needed in our education and VET systems to equip young people with the skills, capabilities and support required to transition from school, and to participate in work and the community in the future.


Young people will be front and centre in what NYCA does. We want to ensure that they are informed, heard and are able to shape their own futures.


The NYCA will provide a dynamic process of engagement and education of the community through public hearings, written submissions, stakeholder meetings and digital engagement. Using digital platforms the NYCA will use visual storytelling to highlight issues, challenges and solutions.


The NYCA doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel. We will draw on previous research and on a wide range of experts and practitioners to understand the context and the evidence that is available. We don’t want to regurgitate the same material. Our primary focus is on offering solutions.


The NYCA recognises that no one sector can solve Australia’s major societal challenges alone – this can only be done through engagement in partnerships and collaborative frameworks across civil society.


The NYCA will mobilise the best brains in the country and all the stakeholders vested in a social issue(s) to work up detailed solutions. This non-partisan process is constructive and designed to reach out to the community while at the same time pressing politicians and governments to engage.


The organic authority of the NYCA and its potential for impact rests with the active coalitions, its activities and Australians, especially young Australians, who are invited and activated by the NYCA process to make change.

Youth transitions for study, work and adulthood milestones

The Impact We Want to Make

Some areas for action and investigation can be identified at the outset of the NYCA. There is a need for a nation-building investment and fundamental change to the education, VET, tertiary and transition support systems in Australia, in order to reliably provide all young people with the skills, capabilities and support they will need to thrive in the 21st century.


By no means exhaustive, the list of areas for action will almost certainly involve the following:

  • Major reform to school curricula and education systems in Australia
  • A bridging of the divide between the academic and vocational education systems
  • Decentralisation of secondary education from the overly narrow focus on an ATAR score to a broader assessment of the capabilities young people will require for a successful future
  • A better approach to career and futures planning.


The first NYCA Inquiry into Youth Homelessness in 2007-08 had a major impact on policy in Australia. Some of the solutions proposed by that inquiry are only now really being picked up by government. This second NYCA Inquiry faces a bigger and more complex challenge.


Support from a wide range of civil society organisations and the involvement of young Australians at all levels will ensure that the second NYC is up to the challenge of change.

Want to Get Involved in the NYCA?