The Company You Keep

BackTrack Youth Works

Jannelle Brandley, Operations Manager of BackTrack Youth Works, shares the challenges of volunteer management and business operations of a not for profit that is on a mission to help young people having a hard time get back on track.

Listen for practical tips on finding the right people and making powerful community connections. 

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BackTrack Youth Works

Getting disadvantaged young people on the right track isn’t easy. Jannelle Brandley, Operations Manager for BackTrack Youth Works, devotes her life to helping young people do exactly that.

Thirteen years ago, BackTrack started with a vision: to offer employment opportunities for disadvantaged teens and young people. Since then the organisation has helped hundreds of kids reach their full potential. 

As Janelle explains in this episode of The Company You Keep, “not every kid learns in a classroom”. To tackle this, BackTrack focus on the skills a kid might already have in a particular area, and nurtures it. Whether that’s working in carpentry, welding, art, or motor mechanics, BackTrack gives teens access to the education and training to help them flourish.

It isn’t easy, of course. One key achievement saw BackTrack secure $300,000 worth of contracts for a trial to help teens gain access to work in agriculture and local businesses. Connecting kids to those opportunities requires support at a basic level – even showing them what it means to pack a lunch and go to work on time every day. 

As Janelle explains, some kids come from interstate or across the other side of the country. “That can work for some kids”, but for others it’s a challenge. 

In one case, BackTrack saw a non-verbal, disengaged child, spend two years developing his skills and to then go on and represent BackTrack Youth Works at Parliament House.

Jannelle’s advice to other not for profits? Build a strong team, and don’t be afraid to have tough conversations. Work with a recruitment consultant to craft the exact position description you need before you start building out your team to stop unqualified candidates from applying.

Disclaimer: Our guests are real business owners and their experiences are their true stories. The guests express views and opinions that are from their own learnings and insights.

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