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Young people

Tailored guidance on the recruitment and selection of young people to Victorian Government boards.

Government decisions affect young people and young people can bring valuable and fresh perspectives and experience to improve decision making and ultimately outcomes for all Victorians.

Young people aged 12–25 make up approximately 18% of the Victorian population.

Given the significant responsibilities and obligations of board members, a strong rationale will be needed where it is proposed that a person under the age of 18 be appointed. Departments should ensure that any relevant legal requirements (e.g. minimum working age, child safety) are complied with before proposing the appointment of a person under the age of 18. For entities established under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), board directors must be at least 18 years of age.

Where legal requirements for board membership prevent the appointment of young candidates, boards and committees could consider observership roles or alternate mechanisms to ensure youth perspectives are captured, for example through youth subcommittees, guest speakers or consultations.

Key considerations

Consider lived experience and practical knowledge as well as professional experience, and avoid mandatory qualifications where possible. Focus on the key skills and attributes the person in the role will need, rather than formal qualifications or specific types of professional experience if they are not mandatory requirements of the role.

Consider inviting a third-party observer of a similar age to participate in interviewing young candidates. The presence of young people during recruitment and selection processes can be more inclusive for applicants and help overcome unconscious biases.

Acknowledge the learning and development that may be required by older members of a board or committee, particularly Chairs, to support a young person’s participation. For example, avoiding jargon, and not assuming traditional meeting protocols are understood or required. If young people are a minority on the board, consider involving at least two young people, particularly if the young person has limited or no experience on a committee. This can assist to overcome feelings of intimidation and power imbalances.

Create a vision or mission statement, outlining the board’s core values and goals. Young people need to know the purpose and direction of the board, which will ensure engagement and understanding of their role.

Consider reasonable adjustments that may be needed to accommodate a young board member. Be aware of considering young people’s unique experiences and needs so that they can get involved and participate equally. This includes the timing of meetings, transport options and other considerations that may create barriers to a young person’s participation. Rather than asking young people to fit into existing ‘adult’ structures or expectations, a common decision-making process should be negotiated.

Offer young people purposeful engagement opportunities where they have real, valued roles that influence outcomes. This helps overcome self-fulfilling prophecies that young people do not contribute.

If the young person is aged under 18, ensure child safety has been considered. Consider risk management strategies such as Working with Children Checks for committee members, outlining clear expectations for behaviour and conduct, providing clear complaint mechanisms for the young person or other members to raise safety concerns.

Providing ongoing support is as important as the recruitment process. This ensures young people are able to make a valuable contribution and participate meaningfully. Consider providing training for the chair/other members to support this. For example, consider providing a mentor who can support the young person’s participation through meetings before and after formal meetings or out of session.

Advertising channels

Advertising channel  Description Process to advertise or contact information
Youth Affairs Council Victoria The YACVic e-newsletter 'Announce' is released fortnightly and reaches over 3,500 subscribers. To advertise relevant opportunities through Announce, email YACVic at including a text-only document of less than 80 words, with links or contact details for further information, and 'Announce' in the subject line.
Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) The CMY is a not-for-profit organisation based in Victoria, providing specialist knowledge and support to young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. To advertise relevant opportunities through the CMY e-newsletter The Mix, complete the online enquiry form and provide appointment details.
Koorie Youth Council (KYC) The KYC is the representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in Australia. To advertise relevant opportunities through KYC’s channels, complete the online enquiry form and provide appointment details.
Office for Youth, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing

The DFFH Office for Youth can refer relevant opportunities to stakeholders within the youth sector who work with specific cohorts of young people including LGBTIQ+, Aboriginal, and young people living with disability.

The Office for Youth also supports the Youth Central website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts – government’s dedicated channels for young people.
Email appointment details for relevant opportunities to the Office for Youth at
Other organisations that work with young people

For example:

  • universities
  • TAFEs
  • student unions
  • schools
  • local governments
  • youth focused media, such as SYN radio.
Contact relevant organisations directly.