Yarraville local Lynda Ford co-founded iGen Foundation in 2010 to assist young people to take charge of their future through dedicated learning programs designed to develop entrepreneurial mindsets and skills that support business ownership.
Lynda moved to Yarraville in 2008.
“It’s 13 years this year. There is so much to love living in the west; there’s the people – friendly, multicultural, a good sense of community, lovely parks and natural areas, great areas to run my dogs, and it’s close to the city”.
Over the last year Lynda has seen the effects of COVID on young people first-hand.
“Entry level jobs for migrants have been the hardest hit with the youth unemployment rate for Western Melbourne increasing by 2.7% from March 2020 to August 2020. It still means that we are below the Victorian average though.”
Lynda holds out the hope that our local community will come through by employing young people and give them a chance to prove themselves.
“It’s difficult to apply for a job if experience is required and you haven’t worked before. The final thing of course is to support young people’s dreams of starting a business. Whether that’s helping them find a program for training or mentoring them or buying from them, self-employment is a very good way to reduce youth unemployment.”
What does Lynda see as the next step for iGen?
“More self-employment programs for young people, migrants and general residents of various local governments in western Melbourne, of course!”
For Lynda the west is a growing region and where there is growth there is opportunity for new businesses.
“We believe that young people owning their own business is a noble and legitimate post-school outcome and allows young people to create the future they want.”
And Lynda’s local “go to” when she’s not working on giving young people a reason to get up every day, and helping them find hope and dignity?
“The Sun Theatre and all the cafes and restaurants!”
Lookout for iGen’s future workshops via https://igenfoundation.org.au