2016 CEO’s Report

2016 CEO’s Report

Backing young Australians in 2016.

A highlight of each year for me at FYA is watching cohorts of Year 10, 11 and 12 students graduate FYA’s immersive IMPACT program. IMPACT develops the leadership and enterprise skills of indigenous students across the Northern Territory.

After three years together Year 12 students describe, with tears flowing, the bond developed with peers and the pride strengthened in their community and culture. They share their plans and aspirations. Many highlights involve contribution – working together delivering the youth program at Garma and volunteering on the school holiday program at Children’s Ground in Jabiru.

The experiences of growth, connection, and learning are offered across all our innovative programs and initiatives at FYA. However, the opportunities for young Australians still remain vastly different depending on everything from postcode to parental education and aspirations to a responsive, immersive life of learning.

Our children and young people are growing up in a world driven by automation, where 40% of existing jobs will be transformed or disrupted in the next decade. Globalisation increasingly means jobs being undertaken remotely. Australian students are not only collaborating and competing with those sitting next to them, but with 750 million educated and ambitious young people living north of Darwin.

The flexible nature of the modern workforce will likely see a 15 year old today navigating a portfolio of 17 jobs in 5 different industries. Sometimes self-employed, at other times working with and for, others.

Our rapidly changing world is already leaving some young people behind. With rising debt, soaring house prices, the struggle to find secure, full-time employment, stagnant wages and recent cuts to weekend penalty rates, it’s no wonder many young people are feeling enormous apprehension about their future.  

Generations of present and future young Australians urgently need a new set of skills and capabilities to deal with the changing world of work and looming social, economic and sustainability challenges.

FYA turned our minds to helping prepare young people for this change in our 2016-2021 strategy launched across the country in March 2016.

Our research series, the New Work Order has created a platform to drive a national conversation about automation, globalisation new skills and capabilities reaching 11.6 million people.

As well as research, FYA co-designs experiments and incubates responses to our research. This takes the form of innovative initiatives and programs to showcase different ways of developing the enterprising skills and capabilities of young people.


Some of our 2016 highlights include:
  • $20Boss, our youth entrepreneurship program, being undertaken by 10,000 high school students across the country;
  • Backing 60 young social changemakers through out Young Social Pioneers program;
  • The largest gathering of young changemakers in Australia, with over 1,000 young people at the Unleashed Festival;
  • Our first round recruitment of 44 Associates for YLab, our youth led design and learning enterprise launched in 2016;
  • Reaching over 500,000 young Australians through our digital platforms; and
  • The launch of Australia’s first free co-working space for young social entrepreneurs, innovators, doers and makers, the #fyahub.


I am privileged to engage with young people of all ages, across the length and breadth of this country, with astounding ideas, innovations, and responses to societal and planetary challenges. Our young people are extraordinary and have creativity, energy and courage in spades. They have ample ideas for here, now, and what comes next.   

FYA’s belief is that we can equip, prepare and inspire young people to not only navigate, but help rethink the future; now.

FYA is the sum of its community. On behalf of the FYA Board of Directors and our superb team, interns and volunteers across Australia, my profound thanks to our many partners, collaborators, supporters, and co-investors.

Your interest and support has enabled us to back, connect, invest in and engage with over 23,000 young Australians in 2016.

Most importantly, we are privileged to work alongside the ever growing FYA community of changemakers. Everyday you bring to life our relentless optimism and belief in young Australians.

Jan Owen AM
FYA CEO