Our Youth Advisory Board

Communities@Work launched the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) in 2019. It comprises voluntary young employees of the organisation, who provide insights to the executive board about youth issues, both within the organisation and the broader Canberra community. The YAB forms an important component of the strategic focus of Communities@Work on innovation and sustainability.

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.

Connect with Jessica on LinkedIn

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.

Connect with Aditi on LinkedIn

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.

Connect with Mitchell on LinkedIn

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.

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.

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 Childcare Laws and Regulations. Alister is focused on positively supporting and guiding children, 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 utilizing 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.

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 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.

Cloe Cheshire is the Early Childhood Teacher at the Communities@Work Richardson Child Care and Education Centre, and initially joined the organisation through the Ascend program. Cloe values her relationships with the families and children in her centre, and works closely within her team to create an environment of meaningful care and quality education. She loves being a part of the local community and incorporating community values into the curriculum.

As a member of the Youth Advisory board, she enjoys working collaboratively to support the organisation’s strategic focus on innovation. Outside of work Cloe enjoys going to concerts, spending time with her dog and her friends and watching the latest Marvel movie.

Connect with Cloe on LinkedIn

Kaylee is a qualified Early Childhood Educator at Communities@Work Appletree House Long Day Care centres. Kaylee started with the organisation as an ASCEND trainee in early 2018 after seeking a career change from managing a local café. Kaylee has since completed her Certificate III and Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. Kaylee is passionate about working with children and her focus is on having a positive impact on the early stages of development for children from a range of cultural backgrounds and with all learning abilities.

As a member of the Youth Advisory Board, Kaylee hopes to broaden her knowledge base with the experienced team on the board, and share the knowledge she has gained. She hopes to make a significant difference by driving innovation and sustainability strategies. Outside of work, Kaylee has a passion for art and enjoys creating acrylic paintings and spending time with her family and friends.

Naomi Barrenger is the manager of Appletree and Illoura child care 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.

Benjamin has been working for Communities@Work since the beginning of 2016 where he has been in both the LDC and OSHC settings. Benjamin has completed his Certificate III & Diploma of Early Childhood Education & Care through the Communities@Work Ascend Program. He is currently studying a Diploma in Leadership and Management. Benjamin loves his job and has a passion for Early Childhood Education, operating with values of respect, care and integrity.

As a member of the Youth Advisory Board, Benjamin believes in extending a feeling of self assurance and confidence to his surrounding peers and coworkers, and is passionate about issues around sustainability and employee empowerment. He hopes to bring significant change, not only to the lives of the people working in the organisation, but also to people in the Canberra community, particularly at-risk and vulnerable youth. When not at work, Benjamin enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

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