About Us

The Youth Employment Study (YES) is the first study to do surveys with a large group of young people that are accessing Australian employment programs. YES aims to work out what helps young people get jobs and stay in jobs that they enjoy.

Employment is recognized as a key social determinant of health and is fundamentally linked to a person’s physical and mental health through factors such as financial security, social support and status, and personal growth and self-esteem. Young people are at greater risk of experiencing other adverse work circumstances, such as job strain (i.e. high job demands but low job control), unwanted sexual advances and workplace bullying. Emerging adulthood (from adolescence up to a person is in their thirties) is increasingly recognized as a life stage of considerable individual, social and economic change, particularly as young people leave education and move into employment. This time period coincides with the peak age of onset for many mental health problems, with marked increases in prevalence between the ages of 16 and 24 years. Research also suggests that early onset of mental health problems increases a young person’s risk of poorer educational and employment outcomes in adulthood. Therefore, it is important to investigate successful transitions into employment for young people given that the onset of the majority of mental disorders occurs in adolescence and early adulthood, which coincides with the period in which young people are entering into the workforce.

YES is based in the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne.

YES will start recruiting participants in 2019 and will follow up with young people every 6 months over a period of 18 months. Surveys can be done either online or over the phone.


Most past research on the employment of marginalised young people with disabilities or disadvantage looks at the short-term social and economic consequences of programs or policies and ignores longer-term health outcomes. This is problematic as employment is a critical determinant of future health and wellbeing. Working with our partner organisations, we will:
  1. Identify the range of policies and programs available to help marginalised young people with disabilities or disadvantage obtain meaningful employment
  2. Investigate predictors of meaningful, sustainable employment among marginalised young people with disabilities or disadvantage
  3. Establish evidence for the specific aspects of employment for marginalised young people with disabilities or disadvantage that lead to health benefits. These health benefits include more positive health behaviours, lower health service use and an improved quality of life.
  4. Identify the cost-effectiveness of current disability employment support policies and service delivery initiatives by examining how well they achieve positive employment outcomes and promote the health of marginalised young people with disabilities or disadvantage.

If you are aged 15-25 and have ever been to an employment program, we want to hear from you! This study will involve:
  • An initial short (5-7 minute) survey which is available online. If eligible, you will be invited to complete a longer survey (15-20 minutes) which will be available online or by telephone.
  • In total we will ask you to complete three long surveys (15-20 minutes) over an 18-month period. The surveys will be available online or by telephone. The surveys will be conducted 6-months apart.
  • A research company called The Social Research Centre will conduct the surveys with you or you can choose to complete these online. They will contact you to remind you to complete the next survey, and you can choose to do this online or on the telephone.
  • The survey will have questions about your experiences of employment programs, your experiences at work and your work history, including your training and education. There are also questions about your health. The researchers also want to find out what kind of work you would like to do.

The research project will tell us what aspects of employment programs and workplaces and what characteristics help young people find and keep jobs. The findings from the research will help to make better government policy in this area and lead to changes in employment programs for young people. It will also help employers to know how they can support young people in the workplace.

Industry Partners

National Disability Services
NDS website
Disability Employment Australia
DEA website
VicHealth website
Brotherhood of St Laurence
BSL website
yourtown website
Headspace website