Out and About: Warrama-Li, Habitat Women, Bush Heritage and Teens in Business Awards

The VFFF team loves getting out and about to learn more about the young people we are supporting. This quarter, we spent time visiting our partners and attending events hosted in celebration of their young people. 

Miyay Birray Youth Service - visiting the Warrama-Li team in Moree 

Warrama-Li is a social enterprise established by Miyay Birray Youth Service to support First Nations young people in the Moree community to access employment and training opportunities in the construction industry. In December 2022, VFFF approved a grant of $580,000 to support Warrama-Li over the first two years of establishing the operation. A year in, the VFFF team had the pleasure of visiting Moree, alongside other funders including CAGES Foundation, to see the impact of their work.

The Warrama-Li model has been built around working with Aboriginal Community Housing Providers, creating opportunities for long term employment whilst being able to improve the condition of properties in their own community. Many of the tenants have commented that it’s amazing to see Aboriginal people, their mob, working, earning money, and showing the young ones that they can have a good future. VFFF visited one of the construction projects completed by the Warrama-Li team, a home renovation for a local Aboriginal family requiring alterations to accommodate their son with a disability. The homeowners couldn’t speak highly enough of the work done and were so appreciative of the efforts made to thoughtfully adjust the home. 

Warrama-Li team
Warrama-Li team

It is clear that the tireless work of the Warrama-Li team is not only having a positive impact on the young people they are employing but a ripple effect in the Moree community. Brothers Clean Away is an example of this, a group of Aboriginal young people who have been inspired to volunteer their time to remove the extensive rubbish and debris from their own communities, while building a sense of purpose and pride.

With such demand for an Aboriginal workforce in Moree, the Warrama-Li crew has rapidly grown from one person to six permanent staff and one casual within seven months, and they are proud to be the first and only Aboriginal building company in the region.

Nick Outram at Seeding the Future celebration event
Nick Outram at Seeding the Future celebration event

Bush Heritage - celebrating the work of emerging conservationists

The VFFF team enjoyed attending a celebration event in Sydney to mark one year of Bush Heritage's Seeding the Future program. This program has been designed to formalise Bush Heritage’s approach to internships, student placements and career pathways for emerging conservationists and VFFF’s three-year partnership supported the program’s launch.

The team were inspired to meet Saskia Gerhardy, Nick Outram and Raen Brademanne at the event and learn about the way that three very different young people can apply their own unique skillsets to care for the environment. The Seeding the Future program provides opportunities for young people like Saskia, a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide, undertaking critical work studying the population of Plains-wanderers at the Bush Heritage Australia reserve at Boolcoomatta Station, but it was also pleasing to see the program provide different kinds of opportunities for young people.

Nick studied a mix of maths, data, economics and environmental science at university and found a great match for his skills and interests in Bush Heritage’s Strategy and Growth team. Nick’s internship involved a lot of spatial data, assessing agricultural sites to prepare ecologists before they undertook their field assessments. Nick's internship led to further work opportunities at Bush Heritage.

Raen is undertaking a double degree in Business and Arts and undertook an internship in Bush Heritage’s Marketing and Communications team. Not only did the internship provide Raen with valuable professional experience, it also enabled her to contribute to an organisation she is passionate about. Raen had grown up volunteering at Bush Heritage’s Scottsdale Reserve with her mother Antia, who has had a long association with Bush Heritage through volunteering and Bush Heritage’s involvement in the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach, a partnership of regional stakeholders working together to protect and improve the health of the upper river, where Antia works. The VFFF team loved chatting to Raen and Antia about the family’s connection to Bush Heritage.

Congratulations to all involved in the Seeding the Future program. With young people like Saskia, Nick and Raen as case studies, it is little wonder Bush Heritage has ambitions to scale the program over the next few years.

Habitat for Humanity Australia - Habitat Women Graduation

The construction industry is the second largest employer across Australia, however, just 11% of the industry is made up of women. In June 2022, VFFF approved $501,000 to Habitat for Humanity Australia’s Habitat Women program to support women experiencing disadvantage in addressing barriers to entering the male dominated construction sector. The program is run out of the Inner West Sustainability Hub in Sydney, co-located with like-minded organisations, where participants are supported in building skills in maintenance and repairs work alongside a formal career coaching and mentoring program. In addition, Habitat Women has established a social enterprise where trainees are provided with paid work throughout the program completing maintenance jobs for locally based organisations. Feedback from the participants indicates that a key strength of the program is the sense of community and peer support network that has developed amongst the groups.

Habitat Women prioritise a youth informed approach to their work, demonstrated through the work of their Youth Ambassador,  who works on creating promotional content such as videos, podcasts and vlogs as well as developing skits and podcasts explaining the interview process from a young persons perspective.

Over the last 18 months, 26 women across four cohorts have completed the program with a number of participants going on to complete further studies, secure jobs in the sector or undertake carpentry or electrician apprenticeships. The fifth cohort of the program commenced earlier this year, with 80% of the cohort comprising women aged from 18-30. The VFFF team is excited to attend their graduation celebration on Wednesday 20 December in Summer Hill, and hear directly from participants about their experience of the program.

VFFF has enjoyed walking alongside the Habitat Women team in their establishment phase, and looks forward to seeing the progression made in 2024, enabling more young women, who have previously experienced barriers to employment, to pursue careers in construction industry.

Habitat Women participant in the workshop
Habitat Women participant in the workshop

Young Change Agents - Teens in Business Awards

Young Change Agents is a social enterprise focused on developing young people’s entrepreneurial mindset, skillset and toolset, encouraging them to envisage and contribute to a better society. In March 2023, VFFF was pleased to approve a two-year grant to Young Change Agents, supporting the organisation to amplify youth voice and measure impact.

Each year, Young Change Agents hosts the Teens in Business Awards. This event spotlights incredible young people developing and running amazing businesses and social enterprises. The winners of each category receive mentoring sessions with industry leaders and funding to support their work.


The Teens in Business Awards is not your average awards night! Held via Zoom, the event provides every finalist with time to share a bit about their work and achievements with the audience. This celebrates all finalists and contributes to Young Change Agent’s strong sense of community. Finalists cheer each other on throughout the evening, using the chat function to send messages of support, advice, and plenty of emojis.

The 2023 Awards Ceremony showcased an outstanding group of young people, as well as the mentors and educators that support them. These young entrepreneurs are progressing a range of ideas, from revolutionising exam preparation to hosting community markets selling repurposed, pre-loved and second-hand clothing. VFFF Program Manager Natalie Buckett was excited to act as a guest judge in the ‘Regional or Rural Entrepreneur of the Year’ category. We encourage you to read more about the 2023 finalists and winners.

Congratulations to all involved in the awards and shout out to Young Change Agents for their ongoing support of youth entrepreneurship!

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