The nine-week program tailors to individuals engaged in the program and provides access to core life skills and personal development workshops. Community guest speakers, including centre management representatives and retailers, address the group to build young people’s connection to local opportunities and support services. Participating youth are also supported by a case manager throughout the program and beyond.
To date, Grand Plaza has seen 17 young people successfully complete the program with three participants finding employment (one with a retailer at the Centre) and one reengaging at school. Additionally, the centre hosted an Indigenous school-based trainee at the centre management office one-day a week for a period of 12 months in FY20, providing them with exposure to a wide range of centre management functions, including operations, marketing, leasing and customer service.
Vicinity’s annual survey of consumers to understand perceptions of youth issues across our assets nationally showed that Grand Plaza’s approach is helping to improve the overall performance of the centre. In the FY20 survey, consumers observed incidents of youth skipping school decreasing and local awareness of the centres programs to tackle youth issues increased. In that time, annualised foot traffic has also increased at the centre, which may in part be related to Grand Plaza’s proactive youth program as we know from our annual survey results that youth issues at our centres can sometimes be a deterrent for consumer visitation.
Vicinity has developed and is now implementing a Sustainability Security Toolkit, which helps our centres effectively address youth issues, through both improved security response and positively engaging local youth in centre activities in collaboration with local partners.