Communities@Work launched the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) in 2019. It comprises a voluntary group of passionate young employees from across the organisation, who provide insights to the executive board about youth issues, both within the organisation and the broader Canberra community.
Jessica Moorcroft Educational Leader
Jessica’s role at Communities@Work is to support and empower educators to make informed decisions about practice and pedagogy in a Family Day Care setting. She believes that feeling a sense of belonging is vital to thriving as a citizen. This fuels her paramount respect for diversity and inclusion, and her values of empowerment and innovation. Jessica finds Communities@Work an exciting and empowering place to be, owing to the vast range of people with diverse values, ideas and perspectives.
As a member of the Youth Advisory Board, she hopes to work across several innovation projects and empower young employees. She is also keen to solve problems for the organisation around environmental and social sustainability. When she is not working, Jessica enjoys making things with woodwork and ceramics, eating out with family and friends, and travelling to broaden her horizons.
Aditi Verma Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Aditi's role involves creating and delivering value to internal and external stakeholders of the organisation, through managing the organisation’s digital assets, building relationships with audiences, and promoting the impact and services of the organisation to the Canberra community. With tertiary qualifications in Marketing and Management, she implements best practices, and is driven to bring positive change to the organisation and the broader community by highlighting meaningful stories of the human connection. Aditi’s professional philosophy revolves around problem-solving, taking initiative, and delivering high quality outcomes.
This motivates her to be an active member of the Youth Advisory Board, to identify and resolve issues relevant to the strategic focus of Communities@Work such as innovation and sustainability. She is also keen to work on issues facing the Canberra community, and enhance the organisation’s social impact. When not working, Aditi is either journaling, writing articles on LinkedIn, networking, or travelling.
Naomi Barrenger Centre Manager, Appletree House and Illoura Child Care and Education Centres
Naomi Barrenger is the manager of Appletree House and Illoura Child Care and Education Centres for Communities@Work. As the nominated supervisor, she ensures compliance with the National Quality framework laws and regulations. Naomi has worked with children in early education for 11 years and has a passion for supporting and educating every child that crosses her path. Over the past few years, she has focused on enhancing her knowledge of children experiencing trauma and the ways to support them and their families.
As a member of the Youth Advisory Board, Naomi is passionate about encouraging intertwining and cross-functionality across different areas of the organisation. Outside of work, Naomi can be found surrounded by one or more of her six brothers and sisters, while exploring the Canberra outdoors. She is also a dedicated volunteer for Marymead and coordinates and organises various fundraisers for the Nextgen committee.
Mitchell Deigan Management and Systems Accountant
Mitchell Deigan, a Communities@Work organisational support employee since 2017, assists and guides decision making through the reporting of financial and non-financial information to internal operational staff. Mitchell enjoys liaising with external stakeholders to ensure that Communities@Work is able to create meaningful and productive working relationships. He believes technology advances will greatly impact the ability for social organisations to identify and fulfill the needs of people within Canberra, whether it be through food support, childcare, housing or connection to other services.
Through the Youth Advisory Board, Mitchell wants to assist in developing the footprint and drive of upcoming young professionals while focusing on social and environmental sustainability. He is passionate about bringing Communities@Work to the forefront of the community by highlighting its social impact. In his own time, Mitchell enjoys playing board games, traveling and attending networking events.
Bayden Addison has been with Communities@Work since 2016. He oversees the daily operation of Communities@Work’s senior groups and community transport program whose goals are to prevent social isolation of people living within the Canberra region and to assist them to access their community. He shares his values of progression, quality and innovation within his team to ensure their clients receive the best support available to them.
Bayden hopes to share his experience within the community sector, passion for digital transformation and automation to provide an accessible and quality service for all. As a member of the Youth Advisory Board, his focus is on improving the learning and development of the organisational employees, as well as arming the organisation with strong innovative strategies to improve its social, financial and environmental sustainability. Outside of his working career, he enjoys making music, rock climbing and all things tech.
Alister Abercrombie Senior Program Coordinator, Out of School Hours Care
As Senior Program Coordinator of the Charles Weston OSHC service, Alister leads a team of up to 12 Educators in providing care for a daily capacity of 121 children. Alongside managing day to day operations, he is also responsible for meeting compliance with the National Laws and Regulations. Alister is focused on positively supporting and guiding children, with values right at home within the Children's Services team. To better meet this goal, Alister is studying towards a Bachelor of Secondary Education.
Being a member of the Youth Advisory Board, Alister is keen on developing his relationship with other areas and members of the organisation, while also utilising the opportunity to champion the youth workforce engagement to meet strategic goals, especially concerning employee well being, learning and development. In his own time Alister can either be found studying, exercising, or playing his guitar.
Laura Gerstenberg Outcomes Facilitator. Lifestyle Services
Laura’s role provides a holistic approach of coordination and assessment services to clients living with a varied level of complexity in their needs. Laura is passionate about empowering her clients to live happy and successful lives. She is currently completing a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, and is excited to use these skills to complement her current role.
Laura is keen to use her knowledge and experience to provide perspective to the Youth Advisory Board on vulnerable members of the community and to use this role to continue improving the organisation’s social impact in Canberra. She is interested in tackling issues for the organisation around innovation, sustainability, and employee well being and empowerment. Outside of work, Laura enjoys teaching varied styles of dance in the Canberra community.
Tess Hutchison Transport Facilitator, Lifestyles Services
Tess is responsible for coordinating transport registrations, bookings and allocations, working with a team of drivers to complete up to 160 trips per day throughout the Canberra region. Tess works closely with both senior and disability clients to ensure they are able to access the service and stay engaged within the local community. Having recently completed a degree in Public Health, Tess is passionate about improving the health and well being of the Canberra population, with a strong interest in health promotion and disease prevention.
Tess hopes to use her knowledge and skills in Public Health to contribute to the Youth Advisory Board’s initiatives and projects, particularly those concerning social sustainability, and encourage and support the health and well being of Communities@work clients, staff and the wider community.
Caitlin Schilg Early Childhood Teacher
Caitlin is the Early Childhood Teacher and Preschool room leader at Greenway Childcare and Education. Caitlin takes a lot of pride in what she does, being able to look after the children in her care while trying to bring imagination and fun into her room. Caitlin creates the curriculum for the room, ensuring the children's safety, learning and passions are reflected in it. Caitlin has worked with children for over 9 years. She has also spent most of her life as a competitive dancer and in later years a performer. Caitlin started teaching dance classes at the age of 12 and tries to bring her passion for performing arts into her Preschool room.
She is currently working towards her Bachelor of Education, and hopes to use her knowledge and skills to help the YAB accomplish what they set out to do, particularly in terms of improving the sustainability of children’s services and bringing innovation to this area of the organisation.
Felix Latham Finance Support Officer
Felix Latham is responsible for managing the organisation’s accounts payables and receivables as the finance support officer. He initially joined Communities@Work as an out of school hours care (OSHC) educator. Felix enjoys getting involved in any project he can get his hands, irrespective of the program area or department. He greatly appreciates being a part of the social impact that Communities@Work offers to the Canberra community through its range of services.
Felix hopes to use his diverse experience gained as a Communities@Work employee, in both organisational support and OSHC, to provide a unique perspective on the issues and projects that are important to the Youth Advisory Board. He is particularly interested in honing his strategic thinking skills and discovering innovative ways to tackle complex issues as a member of the Youth Advisory Board. When not at work, Felix spends his time skateboarding, exercising, or hanging out with his friends.
Nicole Andrews Internal Auditor
Nicole's role as an Internal Auditor for Children's Services involves ensuring compliance for all sites for Communities@Work, in line with Children's Education and Care regulations and learning frameworks. She enjoys supporting the services in discovering ways to implement best practices and improving outcomes for the children. She does this by sharing best practice approaches and providing all the necessary information to help maximise the service potential.
Nicole joined the Youth Advisory Board to extend her passion for supporting people beyond Children’s Services, and to help the young employees at Communities@Work feel heard and fulfilled. She brings her expertise from an industry compliance and best practice perspective, and hopes to implement initiatives that not only matter to the youth at the organisation, but also help improve the service areas, translating to positive and quality outcomes for the organisation’s clients and community. Outside of work, Nicole spends time with her nieces and nephews, and watching films.
Hannah Rainbow Senior Supports Facilitator
Hannah is the Senior Supports Facilitator for the Communities@Work Disability Hubs and the Malkara School Holiday Program. Hannah works with other facilitators, operations coordinators and the management to plan workshops and activities that are meaningful for the participants of the disability programs. She is passionate about her hands-on leadership role and loves working with the clients, staff and leadership teams to constantly improve the services and programs. She enjoys being a part of the progress that the clients achieve and is driven to provide education and aid development for not only herself but other stakeholders and staff.
Hannah joined the Youth Advisory Board to contribute her thoughts and speak up for those that may not have the courage to do so themselves (especially people with a disability). Her bubbly personality and bright ideas keeps the YAB’s initiatives refreshing. When Hannah is not at work you will likely find her on a footy field or walking her puppy.
Joshua Freeman Program Coordinator at Gordon OSHC
Joshua’s role as a program coordinator includes planning and structuring activities and learning experiences for students of all ages. He makes every day enjoyable for himself and the cohort of educators, families and children. His motto is to have fun and focus on care for the individual. He strives to build an inclusive space, and creates a relaxed, fun-loving environment that offers educators and children with plenty of opportunities to thrive. His fun-loving approach and great sense of humour makes him a popular educator.
Joshua joined the Youth Advisory Board as he loves learning. He is passionate about issues that affect him and his colleagues in the workplace. He considers himself a ‘people person’ and views the YAB as another avenue to engage in insightful and enjoyable conversations around significant organisational issues with members across Communities@Work. When not at work, Josh can be found outdoors, usually skateboarding, playing soccer, or winning a game of table tennis. He is also currently studying to be a secondary teacher.
Courtney Bennison Enrolments Officer
Courtney’s role is to support families in the enrolment of their children for Out of School Hours Care and School Holiday Programs in up to 15 different services across the ACT for Communities@Work. She joined the enrolments team in November 2019 and since then has enjoyed the challenges and learning that each day brings. She believes Communities@Work plays a vital part in the Canberra community. Prior to joining Communities@Work, Court was a manager in the hospitality industry. This provided her with a vast knowledge of general operations and sustainability for companies and organisations, which she hopes to bring to the Youth Advisory Board.
As a member of the YAB, Courtney hopes to enhance her learning of the diverse areas of CommunitiesWork, and use her knowledge and experience of being a direct point of contact for families, to support meaningful initiatives for the Canberra community. Outside of work, Court enjoys being active, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with her friends and family.