Work Inspiration

Connecting disadvantaged young Australians with inspiring work experience opportunities.

Youth unemployment is around 17% nationally.1 In some disadvantaged communities it is more than double this figure.

Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who may be struggling at school often lack the motivation, encouragement and aspirations to explore their future career options and potential job opportunities.

Because of their circumstances they may not realise the possibilities available to them if they complete their education. These children desperately need inspiring employers to help show them the way.

Two students doing work experience at a mechanic

What is work inspiration?

Work Inspiration is business–led initiative that provides young people with opportunities to experience the world of work first hand in a meaningful and inspiring way.

More than just work experience, Work Inspiration provides a way for employers to play a valuable role in shaping their future workforce – and the next generation of Australian workers.

Originating in the UK and supported by The Audi Australia Foundation, The Smith Family supports employers to develop three career engagement activities or ‘Insights’ that allow students to explore career journeys, connect with their business and meet and talk to staff.

The experience provides inspiration for students to broaden their perspectives and develop aspirations, whilst also inspiring businesses to showcase their work and employment opportunities, engage with the future workforce and support their local community.

The experience provides inspiration for students to broaden their perspectives and develop aspirations, whilst also inspiring businesses to showcase their work and employment opportunities, engage with the future workforce and support their local community.

To help expand the program nationally, additional support has been received for the Work Inspiration Campaign by the Australian Government Department of Education through the Making Career Connections Initiative.

For more information on the work inspiration initiative or to find out how you can get involved download our Work Inspiration fact sheet (PDF, 475 KB).

To find out more about student career pathways visit or

A toolkit of resources has been developed for schools to provide a context for Work Inspiration within existing career development programs and resources used in schools

What our students say about work inspiration

Work Inspiration motivates Arani to focus at school


Arani - Sandgate High School

Work Inspiration motivates Arani to focus at school

“Before I wasn’t really listening that much at school, but since going to the McDonald’s Work Inspiration program I’ve learnt that if you want to get a career you have to go for it and you have to achieve things to get what you want.”

Sixteen-year-old Arani is a Smith Family Learning for Life student. He participated in a two-day Work Inspiration program at the McDonald’s Head Office in Brisbane. Full of personality and charm but feeling a little lost and disengaged from school, Arani is the type of student Work Inspiration is designed to reach. As the only student from his school to attend, he admits he was a little nervous at first but after he settled in he found the opportunity to learn about himself and possible career pathways motivating and inspirational.

Work Inspiration helps Emily choose a career in Agriculture

“At the Ag Inspirations Program, I learnt that there’s more to farming than just cattle, crops and sheep. There are so many interesting things going on. I used to think I wouldn’t become a farmer but now I really want to because it looks fun and interesting.”

Fourteen-year-old Emily participated in The Smith Family’s Ag Inspirations program in Queensland. The week-long program involved visiting local farms and agricultural businesses to meet and speak with farmers and see firsthand what’s involved in the agricultural industry. For Emily, the experience opened her eyes to the opportunities of a career in agriculture.


Emily - Inglewood State High School

Work Inspiration stories

Work Inspiration in action


Students from The Smith Family’s Work Inspiration program visited the Audi Centre Sydney for two days of hands-on work experience at the state-of-the-art dealership.

Students learnt about career pathways at Audi, the customer experience and how technology plays a part in every business area. They even helped solve some real business issues with great success.

A corporate philanthropic foundation funded by Audi Australia and the Audi Australia Dealer Network, The Audi Foundation is The Smith Family’s National Work Inspiration Partner.

Watch the Audi video to see how simple and effective it can be to run a Work Inspiration program in your workplace.

Hilton Hotels

Hilton Hotels

Hilton Hotels ran 8 Work Inspiration events around Australia in 2017, showcasing the careers available in the hospitality sector. Students found there were so many career pathways at Hilton Hotels and enjoyed spending time with staff finding out more about the roles available. This is a look at the Sydney event.

Some students have gone on to gain apprenticeships with Hilton Hotels and we look forward to more students taking part in the program in 2018.


SAP ran a three-day Work Inspiration program in their Melbourne office in August 2014. Fifteen students from four outer-Melbourne secondary schools took part in the inspirational program which took them behind the scenes of the world of work at SAP.

Across Australia, SAP have run 11 Work Inspirations in the last year, and have collaborated with their customers to provide a wide range of experiences to students from schools around the country.

Audi Foundation

Audi Foundation

Audi Foundation

The Audi Foundation is proud to support The Smith Family’s Work Inspiration program, which provides opportunities for students to visit workplaces and learn about career opportunities and pathways. Through the support of the Audi Foundation, we will deliver more than 150 Work Inspirations for over 2000 students across Australia each year.

1 Stanwick J, Lu, T, Karmel, T & Wilbrow, B (2013) How Young People are Faring 2013, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), Adelaide, pp. 6.