IBN has completed the initial work to design and build its new, technologically enhanced, creative – youth engagement service (TEC-YES), targeting the IBN youth as future clients. It will host a range of facilities for youth to engage with daily, through semi-structured engagement programs and initiatives. The interested individuals are provided with the schedule for weekday and/or weekend programs, to facilitate building their individual capacities and resilience and, in turn, lead to good behaviour, social cohesion and youth well-being. Specific engagement initiatives and programs through external funding such as grants will also be scheduled with the collaboration of other external local and government organizations. This approach will maximize the usage of a variety of facilities offering a range of programs for our youth.
The IBN youth project was pioneered by IBN’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Chirantha Perera in 2021. The Team Leader Youth Development (Dr Sas Mihindu) and Youth Development Officer (Jon Aithison) – Both pictured below, will manage this project including building design, development, construction, and equipment fit outs and commissioning at the end of the construction phase. The newly built facility will be operated and further enhanced by its dedicated staff, and with invaluable support from all IBN staff delivering numerous benefits to youth, members and associated organizations.
Mr Jon Aitchison is a Proud Banyjima Man, long standing IBN employee, and IBN Traditional Owner member possessing in-depth knowledge of local youth, cultural backgrounds, as well as experience with relevant youth development initiatives, and Indigenous knowledge of arts, crafts, and music. Passionate Staff at the Youth Space will have the ability to collaborate with stakeholders and drive to incubate new ideas in relation to youth engagement initiatives and programs that fulfill future youth needs and requirements.
In January 2022, Dr Sas Mihindu joined IBN. Dr Mihindu holds decades of experience in working with youth and young adults living in major cities and remote Australia. He has served TAFE institutions, major universities in Australia and the United Kingdom and has been a senior researcher attached to the European Commission during the period pursuing his PhD. In 2010, he designed, developed and commissioned a futuristic collaborative 3D visualisation research facility for the University of Salford through secured Government funding. This visualisation facility was the first in the country targeted at the collaborative knowledge creation research works between the academia and industry. Recently, as a passionate educator, he published a book chapter titled ‘An Australian consolidated framework for BIM teaching and learning’, in the book ‘BIM Teaching and Learning Handbook: Implementation for Students and Educators.’ He possesses the ability to innovate youth development through his extensive experience and knowledge in this space; well-articulated understanding of the Australian education systems and curriculums, clear vision of future job markets, and knowledge of applying these to our youth. Attached to North Regional TAFE, he has extensively engaged in securing government funds, designing, and delivering technological engagement programs to support youth in Aboriginal communities around the Kimberley. He was well known as the very first senior IT Lecturer who volunteered on traveling to remote communities for delivering such programs to enhance the capacity building of Aboriginal youth. He is very willing to provide insights and tabs for any staff requiring know-how related to educational and/or academic programs.
Currently, the Youth Development Project Space is structured as standard office space, and during the construction part of the project, it will be upgraded with facilities that are appropriate and suitable for the targeted client group to connect with the identified engagement initiatives. The Project Space provides access to facilities that are currently not available in the area and/or not within reach of IBN youth and individuals. It will facilitate innovative and dynamic engagement initiatives for youth, utilizing the new and modern technological infrastructure. All members will be notified on the progress of the youth development work and subsequent engagement activities as they are taking place.