The Youth futures summit into youth employment and transitions
20-21 April 2020 | Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Australia

What is on the horizon for young people? Join the Youth Futures Summit to help shape the future for young people. 

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The Facts on Youth Employment

thousand young people under the age of 25 years are currently unemployed or underemployed.


of all long term unemployed people are aged 15-24 years old.


of the world's young people will end up in jobs that haven't been created yet.

years is the time young people spend studying a curriculum developed over 70 years ago.

years is the average time it takes for a university graduate to transition to work in their chosen field.

About the Summit


Young people are being left behind by our current education, training, and employment systems. The Youth Futures Summit is a 2-day event that will bring together hundreds of people from diverse sectors and communities to change this. 

The Youth Futures Summit will:

  • Draw together people from multiple sectors and communities that are reflective of the diversity of cultures, backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs that make up all of Australia
  • Be co-presented, co-attended and shaped by young people
  • Deep-dive into the challenges and identify what the solutions should be
  • Explore a number of different areas from education, training, job services, young workers' rights, and what the future of work will look like.


      Why attend the youth future summit?

      The Summit provides an opportunity for you to be part of forming a new ecosystem now and for the future of work, which is co-designed with young people for young people. 

      To do this, the Summit will ask what we need to:



      What already works? Let’s identify the best of what we do now to bring into the future.


      What do we need to change so that young people are able to learn, work and earn with better prospects?


      What do we need to create to foster an ecosystem for the future of work where employment is sustainable?


       We need you to join hundreds of community members, to build on the findings of the National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Employment and Transitions and address poor transitions from education to work and youth unemployment and underemployment.

      Ticket options

      Early Bird Entire Summit

      $870 – Standard

      $700 – Large NFP

      $530 – Small NFP

      $445 – Concession

      Early Bird Monday, 20 April Only

      $550 – Standard

      $440 – Large NFP

      $340 – Small NFP

      $285 – Concession

      Early Bird tuesday, 21 April only

      $550 – Standard

      $440 – Large NFP

      $340 – Small NFP

      $285 – Concession

      Apply for a scholarship


      The NYC will be granting a number of scholarships to ensure the Youth Futures Summit is inclusive and the price of tickets is minimised as a barrier for people attending. We will be offering scholarships in a series of rounds leading up to the Youth Futures Summit. Find out more here

      Summit program

      The Summit will take place from Monday 20th until Tuesday 21st April 2020 at the Melbourne
      Cricket Ground (MCG)

      The Summit program includes a stimulating mix of presentations, panel discussions, breakout sessions, Q&A’s and masterclasses supported by a diverse and dynamic range of speakers. Young people will be involved in all aspects of the conference program.

      There will be plenty of social highlights throughout the Summit program which will provide delegates with valuable opportunities to network and renew connections, including a Networking evening on the first night.

      This Summit will also be the platform for the public release for the NYC’s Interim Report.

      A ‘Marketplace of Ideas’ will run throughout the Summit and be used during breaks for those who want to continue discussions, debate, air a view or co-design a solution. It’s a purposeful working and reflection space where the opportunity for deeper engagement can occur.

      Please Note: We will be adding updates to the agenda as we confirm more speakers and facilitators. Some sessions may be subject to change. 

      Day 1 – Monday 20th April 2020

      8:00 am
      registration opens

      Registration will be open from 8:00 am and will run until 9:00 am. Tea and coffee will be available during the registration hour and the session will be an opportunity to network.

      9:00 am
      Summit Opening
      Welcome and Introduction

      Alex McLean and Keith Waters – Co-Executive Officers of the National Youth Commission

      Welcome to Country

      Wurundjeri Elder


      Opening of the Summit
      10:00 am
      The Current State of the Nation

      Commissioners Sophie Johnston and Major David Eldridge AM speaking on the evidence gathered by the National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Employment and Transitions.

      10:30 am
      Morning Tea
      11:00 am
      Keynotes: The Big Picture

      Making Sense of the Future Economy


      Flexibility or Insecurity? Young Workers Rights


      No Jobs on a Dead Planet: Youth Futures and Climate Change

      12:00 pm
      MarketPlace of Ideas

      An interactive and immersive space to discuss, debate, air a view or co-design a solution throughout the Summit.

      1:00 pm
      Breakout Session 1

      Breakouts announced soon.

      2:00 pm
      Breakout Session 2

      Breakouts announced soon.

      3:00 pm
      Afternoon Tea
      3:20 pm
      Keynotes: Education

      Pioneering Education Reform: What should we keep, change and create?

      4:00 pm
      No one left behind

      How do we transition all young people into meaningful employment or education?

      4:50 pm
      Wrap Up
      Reflections on Today

      Commissioners Finbar Piper and Sophie Johnston – National Youth Commission

      Day 2 – Monday 21st April 2020

      8:00 am
      registration opens

      Registration will be open from 8:00 am and will run until 9:00 am. Tea and coffee will be available during the registration hour and the session will be an opportunity to network.

      9:00 am
      Welcome Back
      9:10 am
      Keynotes: Transitions and getting into work

      Creating real and meaningful work opportunities for young people.

      9:50 am
      Keynotes: Navigating Careers Once Young People Are In Work
      10:30 am
      Morning Tea
      11:00 am
      Breakout Session 3

      Breakouts announced soon.

      12:00 pm
      MarketPlace of Ideas

      An interactive and immersive space to discuss, debate, air a view or co-design a solution throughout the Summit.

      1:00 pm
      Breakout Session 4

      Breakouts announced soon.

      2:00 pm
      Careers Education

      How do we empower young people to navigate their careers and transitions in the future of work?

      3:00 pm
      Afternoon Tea
      3:20 pm
      Keynote: Future Technology and Possibility



      3:45 pm
      Closing Remarks

      Commissioners Major David Eldridge AM and Sophie Johnston – National Youth Commission



      Speakers will be announced in the lead up to the Youth Futures Summit.

      featured speakers and panellists

      Sally McManus

      Australian Council of Trade Unions

      Sally McManus commenced her working life as a Pizza Hut driver, cleaner and a shop assistant prior to joining the ACTU’s Trainee Organisers Program in 1994.  From this she went on to become an Organiser and then the Branch Secretary of the ASU in NSW.

      In 2017 Sally was elected as the ACTU Secretary, the first woman Secretary in its 90-year history.

      Pasi Sahlberg

      Gonski Institute

      Pasi Sahlberg is a Finnish educator and author who has worked as a schoolteacher, teacher educator, researcher, and policy advisor in Finland and has studied education systems, analysed education policies, and advised education reforms around the world.

      He has written and spoken widely about these topics, his book “Finnish Lessons 2.0: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland” won the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for an idea that has potential to change the world. He is also a recipient of the 2012 Education Award in Finland, the 2014 Robert Owen Award in Scotland, the 2016 Lego Prize, and Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Resident Fellowship in 2017.

      Felicity Sowerbutts

      Young Workers Centre

      Felicity Sowerbutts is the Director of the Young Workers Centre. 

      Felicity started work in the Australian trade union movement after studying Politics in the UK and working and volunteering for MPs and campaign organisations.

      Before joining the Young Workers Centre, Felicity led the Campaigns Team at Victorian Trades Hall through more elections than she can count.

      finbar piper

      National Youth Commission

      Finbar Piper is a Juris Doctor candidate at Melbourne Law School. He was formerly the Director of Political Engagement at Oaktree, a youth-run aid and development organisation, where he was involved in campaign management and political lobbying on a national scale. Through his work in politics, along with his work in media, with Reuters and Polity, Finbar has become passionate about youth empowerment, political accountability, and access to information. He has a Bachelor of Arts, from the University of Melbourne, majoring in Politics & International Studies, and a certificate in English language teaching.

      sophie Johnston

      National Youth Commission

      Sophie Johnston is the former President of the National Union of Students and has spent a number of years advocating for students and young people in the higher education sector. In her work with student organisations, Sophie has campaigned around education access, workplace security and wage theft, as well as inadequate social services impacting young peoples participation. In 2017, she worked with the AHRC and AHR Centre in the release of the report into sexual violence prevalence on Australian University campuses.

      Major David Eldridge
      major david eldridge am

      National Youth Commission

      Salvation Army

      Maj. David Eldridge AM has been a key figure in The Salvation Army both in Australia and the United Kingdom. He has worked for over 30 years, in a variety of senior social policy and programme development roles, including 15 years at the Crossroads Youth Network and 12 years as Director of the Brunswick Community Programme. David has also been a Senior Adviser to the Commonwealth Government on key social policy issues particularly in relation to young people and headed the Prime Ministerial Youth Homelessness Taskforce in 1996-7 and the Youth Pathways Acton Taskforce in 2000-2001. He has contributed to the delivery of several ground breaking policy reports.

      David has been influential in the development of employment policy and was a Board Member of the Employment Services Regulatory Authority (ESRA), which oversaw the development of a case management approach in employment services. He has been a board member of the Enterprise and Career Education Foundation and the Foundation for Young Australians.

      Alison Pennington looking directly at the camera with grey background
      Alison Pennington

      Centre for Future Work | The Australia Institute

      Alison Pennington is Senior Economist at the Centre for Future Work, associated with The Australia Institute. She conducts research on economic issues facing working people including the evolution of collective bargaining, the future of jobs, skills and training, sector and industry policies, and the role of government. Alison has held previous roles in public finance, public sector unions, and music teaching. She considers economics a powerful tool for reinvigorating popular consciousness about how society is organised, and the discipline a natural home for building a vision of a more democratic and meaningful life for everyday people. @ak_pennington

      Image of Alex McLean leaning against a brick wall and smiling at the camera
      Alex McLean

      National Youth Commission

      Alex McLean is the Co-Executive Officer of the National Youth Commission and former Chief of Staff at Oaktree. Across her work, she has managed People and Operations portfolios and played a key role in creating meaningful and positive experiences for diverse young people across the country. In her time at Oaktree, she developed their national grassroots advocacy program for students and created their first diversity plan. Alex has also consulted on youth and diversity for major NFP organisations and held events and communications roles at Oaktree. Alex has a Bachelor of Medical Science and a Master of Science (Epidemiology).

      Image of Jan Owen looking at the camera and smiling
      Jan Owen AM

      Learning Creates Australia

      Jan Owen AM is a social entrepreneur, innovator, influencer and author. She is currently the Co-Convener of Learning Creates Australia and former CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians. Jan was named one of Australia’s True Leaders in 2018 and the Inaugural Australian Financial Review and Westpac Woman of Influence in 2012 for her relentless commitment to unleashing the talent of young people, driving social innovation and entrepreneurship and leading change in education.

      Image of Jenny Chesters in a purple shirt smiling and looking at the camera
      Dr. Jenny Chesters

      Youth Research Centre | University of Melbourne

      Dr Jenny Chesters is a Research Fellow at the Youth Research Centre, Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Her research interests focus on transitions between education and employment throughout the life course, inequality in educational attainment and social stratification and social mobility. Jenny is currently working on the longitudinal Life Patterns project focusing on youth transitions and the link between education and work.

      May Lam
      Dr. may lam

      Youth Development Australia

      Dr. May Lam has worked for the past 35 years in the youth sector as well as the education, employment and community sectors on policy, research and strategy for employment and social inclusion programs. This included 14 years at the peak body Jobs Australia, where she was Policy Manager and Deputy CEO. Other roles were at the National Employment Services Association, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, and Social Traders and in the UK, Ingeus and the Department of Work and Pensions. 

      dr. wilma gallet

      National Youth Commission

      Dr. Wilma Gallet worked for 20 years in the Commonwealth Employment Service before moving to the community sector in 1996. She established Employment Plus in 1998 and as the founding CEO, was responsible for creating and building this enterprise from a zero base to the largest community provider of employment services under the Government’s Job Network umbrella.

      howard Kelly

      Melbourne Polytechnic

      Howard Kelly has a distinguished career in education and training. Principal for 12 years in two inner suburban schools. He has been the Curriculum Director in state and national projects for four years, Chair of two statutory authorities for 8 years, overseeing the introduction of the VCE and the P-10 curriculum reform. Howard was the Director of the Kirby Ministerial review into post compulsory education, leading to the development of the LLEN and the introduction of VCAL.

      Emma Dawson

      Per Capita

      Emma Dawson is the Executive Director of Per Capita. Formerly, she was a senior advisor on Digital Inclusion at Telstra, Executive Director of the Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society at the University of Melbourne, and a senior policy advisor in the Rudd and Gillard governments.


      Shirley Jackson

      Per Capita

      Shirley Jackson is the Senior Economist at Per Capita. Shirley spent most of his working life in warehouses, retail shops, restaurants and being unemployed. He has been fortunate enough to have spent the last 10 years working as a union official, most recently as a national official with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, of which he is a proud member. His areas of interest and expertise are young workers, employment, labour market policy, industrial relations, and industry policy.

      Peter Kenyon
      Peter Kenyon

      Bank of Ideas

      Peter Kenyon is a social capitalist and community enthusiast. Over the last two decades he has worked with over 1500 communities throughout Australia and overseas seeking to facilitate fresh and creative ways that stimulate community and economic renewal. Peter has had a background as a youth worker, teacher, youth education officer, tertiary lecturer and public servant. 

      event details

      Monday 20 April & Tuesday 21 April 2020

      Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) 
      Brunton Ave, Richmond VIC 



      The Summit will be held at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), a short distance from Melbourne’s CBD. There are many great accommodation options close to the venue and most city accommodation is within a short tram ride of the MCG.

      In the lead up to the Summit, we will be offering exclusive hotel deals to make the journey to the Youth Futures Summit more affordable for regional and interstate attendees. Watch this space for accomodation deal announcements. 

      the youth futures summit is presented by



      The National Youth Commission would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land in which this event is taking place. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.