Work Inspiration

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.

Downer Edi Mining partnered with The Smith Family to roll out a Work Inspiration Program to inspire the young people and open a door full of opportunities. Watch the video to see how Work Inspiration might look like in your workplace.

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, The Smith Family is working with the Foundation for Young Australians and the National Australia Bank (NAB) to replicate and adapt the program for Australian employers.

Through our Partnership Brokers program, we support 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.

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 fact sheet or visit the Work Inspiration site by clicking the button below.

Work Inspiration

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 inspires Thomas to choose a career in Engineering

After the three days, I didn’t want to leave Downer EDI Mining. The Work Inspiration program was just that inspiring. The thought of going back to school afterwards only made me want to study harder to get to where I want to be in life.

Work Inspiration inspires Thomas to choose a career in Engineering

“Prior to visiting Downer EDI Mining with the Work Inspiration program I had no idea what I wanted to be or study in senior school and University. Attending this program has literally and most likely changed the course and direction that I will take for the rest of my life and for that I am truly appreciative.”

For fourteen-year-old Thomas, a three-day visit to the head office of Downer EDI Mining as a Year 9 student gave him new direction and motivation for his education.

Work Inspiration fuels Sean's passion to succeed

“The Work Inspiration program has definitely made me more motivated for school because it narrowed down what I want to do in life. I’m really interested in the IT industry. Seeing McDonald’s has made me more passionate because I want to do well in school and I want to succeed so I can get a good job and go places in the world.”

Fifteen-year-old Sean participated in a two day Work Inspiration program with McDonald’s and The Smith Family in mid 2013. He found the visit to the company’s Head Office in Brisbane fun, informative, inspiring and motivational.

I would recommend the Work Inspiration program to other students because there’s so much information that you get out if it and so much knowledge about yourself and how you might like to work. I’d definitely recommend it to see what McDonald’s actually is and not to judge a book by its cover. The program lets you see how things work in the real world.

Work Inspiration in action


National Australia Bank (NAB) has committed to giving 500 senior school students across Australia an opportunity to take part in Work Inspiration.

Along with the Work Inspiration framework involving the 3 Insights; NAB’s three-day program comprised a mix of visits to three CBD sites, special challenges occurring within and outside the bank premises, group sessions in which students were able to talk about their own career interests and aspirations, conversations with NAB 2012 Graduate Program staff and other NAB personnel as well as a film making project.

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

Yamaha Student Grand Prix

Students can experience the career first hand, have access to staff within that vocation and make informed decisions.

Employer comment

Yamaha Student Grand Prix

This partnership was instigated by Yamaha to address the skills shortage in marine and motorcycle mechanics, and to attract the interest of relevant school students.

Developed as a component of an existing school engagement program, 25 students from Sandgate District State High School and Upper Coomera State College have completed the five-day component.

Queensland Museum - QMX

This is a three-day school holiday program where students meet employees and volunteers from across the Museum’s workforce, including research staff, senior managers and building managers.

Eleven students from state schools across Brisbane have participated in the program, which included devising and presenting their own ideas for a QM ‘experience’ to senior management.

I did enjoy learning about peoples' career paths, as it made me feel less hesitant about my choices.

Participating student

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.