2016 Chairman’s Report

2016 Chairman’s Report

Robert Milliner, Chair FYA Board of Directors

2016 marked the start of FYA’s new five year strategy for the period 2016 to 2021 with launch events held in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. The new strategy sets out our ambition for Australia to be investing in preparing young people to drive our economy and lead social change to create a better future. We will focus our energy on three strategic goals for FYA over the next five years:


  1. We create opportunities for young people to learn the skills needed to succeed in a changing world
  2. We back young people who are making a difference in communities, industry and public life
  3. We transform the way the government, industry and community sectors engage young people to rethink the systems that shape the world

During 2016 and in line with our new strategy, FYA has continued to build the national conversation around the future of work and the skills that young people will need for their careers. In April we released The New Basics report where we conducted an analysis of 4.2 Million job advertisements which showed that employers are looking for enterprise skills in early career jobs within organisations. Further we found that employers were willing to pay a premium for some of the enterprising skills in these roles.

In November we released The New Work Mindset report where we call for a new mindset towards how we think about careers and jobs in Australia. Again, using big data, we found that there are seven job clusters that have skills in common. This suggests that jobs are much more related than we think they are, and that it is more helpful for young people to think about skills rather than jobs when considering a career.

In response to this research, FYA continues to call for a reform of careers education, including embedding and measuring enterprise skills and capabilities and the provision of accurate, future focused jobs information.

A key focus for the Board continues to be the ongoing financial sustainability of FYA. In 2016 we launched YLab, FYA’s own social enterprise, which is building an ecosystem for young people, and those working alongside them, to work on challenges in our world. The Board has considered a number of strategies for ongoing sustainability and this will continue to be a focus into 2017.

During 2016, we explored how we may go about updating FYA’s constitution to reflect the FYA of today. We heard from our members that they wish to be engaged in this process and the Board will undertake a program of member engagement in 2017.

We were delighted to welcome two new Directors under the age of 25 to the Board this year following an extensive recruitment campaign that went wide to the whole FYA community. Our two new Directors Sarah Agboola and Thomas Clark bring a wealth of lived experiences to their role and have already made an excellent contribution to our strategic discussions.

During 2016, the Board renewed the contract for our CEO, Jan Owen for a further three years. We are delighted that Jan has decided to continue her time at FYA. In 2017, Jan will focus more of her attention on our new social enterprise YLab and as a result, two Deputy CEOs, Alecia Rathbone and Bronwyn Lee were appointed to share the CEO workload from January 2017

Our Board Sub-Committees continue to support the governance of FYA. On behalf of the Board, I thank all of the members of the sub-committees for their work in 2016. Key areas of work in 2016 included a full review of FYA risk management policy, framework and appetite, tightening of protocols for drawdown of Corpus funds, the introduction of quarterly financial forecasts, and the commencement of a Board renewal program.

I thank all of my fellow Directors for their contribution in 2016. It is a pleasure to work with you all. In particular, our thanks to Ruchir Punjabi who we farewelled from the Board in 2016. We thank Ruchir for the time and energy he brought to the role.

Finally on behalf of the Board, we thank Jan Owen, our CEO for her relentless optimism in the ability of the young people of Australia and her contribution, vision and dedication to FYA in 2016.