Our Mission:

To provide disengaged and disadvantaged 18 to 22-year old youth with the necessary skills, training and confidence to become powerful assets in business and develop the mental capacity to personally go the distance.

Our Purpose:

Mission Engage works in partnership with industry leaders to provide a deep dive learning experience of what it looks like to be employed. This hands-on practical business experience assists with the challenges young people face when looking for employment. We provide support to people  who are disengaged, disadvantaged and who are at risk of long-term unemployment. 


Our program is designed to cultivate a greater sense of self-esteem and target key areas of mental and physical development. 

Those we work with:

The diversity of those who support our program is the cornerstone to it’s success.

They include:

Myer, Federation Sq, Doxa Club, Crown Melbourne, Southern Cross Station, Monjon Security, Essential Minutes, Sodexo, Melbourne Victory Football Club, Ikon Cleaning Services, Karma Plumbing, MSS Security, Melbourne United Basketball Club, Lynx Writing, The Lost Dogs Home,  Metropol Crown and Crown Towers – all offering many entry level positions across the business.

We saw a breakdown in available positions not being filled despite a large number of people unemployed. This led to our connective objective program (Mission Engage) which we see as having equal value in the cycle of employment.

We support four types of streams concurrently:

  • Those experiencing disadvantage, disengagement and long-term unemployment
  • Community Service centres assisting with youth unemployment
  • Schools offering VCAL
  • Corporate Clients

The Mission Engage youth program is a national initiative free for young Australians, provided with the financial assistance from host businesses, philanthropic activities and support of the Father James Grant Foundation.

Finding those in need: 

We work across the sector which includes community service centres supporting disengaged and disadvantaged youth, refugee and asylum seekers supported by Deakin Universities Centre for Refugee Employment, Advocacy, Training and Education (CREATE) and Educations Institutes who offer The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). They include but are not limited to Youth Projects, Upskill, Brave, Simonds Catholic College and Deakin University.


More than 264,000 young people aged 15 to 24 are currently unemployed across the country. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data show the unemployment rate of 15–24-year old’s in the labour force is much higher than the unemployment rate for all ages. The youth unemployment rate in January 2018 of 12.2 per cent was more than twice the overall rate of 5.5 per cent, and three times the rate of those aged 25 and over.

Successfully entering the workforce requires many skill-sets that most of those who are long-time unemployed or those that have never worked struggle with. Constant rejection or lack of a positive family unit plays a large part in unemployment. Those where no parental figure has ever worked have an even harder time grasping the requirements it takes to commit to an employment structure.

In August 2018 the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) who are national advocates for action to reduce poverty and inequality and the peak body for the community services sector in Australia, suggests that employment services aren’t working and are calling for a major reform.

They suggest that the current Jobactive system provokes anxiety, with a constant fear of being cut off from their social security support. It goes on to suggest that people using Jobactive and previous employment service programs are not getting the help they really need, such as career guidance, a referral to a job, meaningful training, or properly-paid work experience in a regular job.


Many young Australians leave secondary education without any academic aspirations and no clear vision or understanding of a career path. These youth can be law abiding, living harmoniously with their family, and engaged in other social and community activities, but lacking the motivation or the skills required to gain meaningful employment. Without a clear direction, youth can become disengaged, often leading to low-self esteem, isolation, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, and long-term unemployment.

What is initially a single issue – such as unemployment after completing school – becomes multi-faceted, and this can have negative consequences for the young person, their family and friends, and the wider community.

Most commonly, the program works with 16-22 year old Australians without a clear vision for their future and whose school, sporting and social experiences have failed to inspire confidence or a strong sense of self.


Our financial assistance is made up from host businesses, philanthropists, trusts and foundations and fundraising activation's. They include Bell Charitable Trust,  Andrew and Geraldine Charitable Trust and the Fr James Grant Foundation.

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“Plenty of organisations have benefited and more will continue to benefit from Mission Engage. The program presents great opportunities for Australian businesses, local communities, and society at large by engaging youth.”
- Colin Chanter, CEO, AssetCo Management, Southern Cross Station

Meet The Team

James Grant


With over thirty years of pastoral care and experience here, the US and Europe, Father James Grant is considered one of Australia’s most innovative and thought-leading priests.

‘Through my work with numerous large corporate organisations through ‘Chaplains Without Borders’, employers realised the benefits in a strong social program that engages the wider community, pools their talents and makes a real difference.’

Jodi Mills works with the Father James Grant Foundation Youth Unemployment

Jodi Mills

Program Director

Jodi Mills proudly directs the Mission Engage Youth Engagement Development Program, bringing her wealth of experience across the stewardship of boards, volunteers, philanthropists and corporate relationships.

An expert relationships advisor and humble yet confident businesswoman, Jodi has won several awards for outstanding excellence across two decades and numerous countries to build core competencies in all aspects of business. Jodi is driven by a passion for creating returns for social, economic and behavioral changes.

Industry highlights include delivery of philanthropic partnerships in excess of $3million, implementation of Immersion programs to raise funds to reduce the rate of Stillbirth globally, and numerous cultivation activations for high-net-worth individuals.

Joe Pitruzello

Advisory Board

Joe is the former Chief Procurement Officer and Integrated Supply Chain Leader for IBM Australia and New Zealand. Joe held a number of senior executive roles for the Australia/New Zealand and Asia Pacific regions before becoming IBM’s CPO and Integrated Supply Chain Leader in 2007 for ANZ. In his role Joe was the senior executive that was responsible for supporting Indigenous Suppliers and Minority Suppliers. At IBM Joe volunteered through the Corporate Social Responsibility program to help long term unemployed.

Joe has led large diverse teams in transforming supply chains. Joe worked in aviation for over 20 years in senior management roles prior to IBM, and was responsible for the total supply chain for Ansett Australia. Joe has lectured in Procurement and Supply Chain.  Joe brings over 30 years of corporate experience.

Vinnie Azzopardie

Vinnie Azzopardi


Vinnie Azzopardi has been a volunteer for the Mission Engage Youth Program and the Mission Engage X Program, for over 3 years.

His superior interpersonal and compassionate people skills are invaluable in forming trusting and supportive relationships with disengaged youth.

With a career spanning over 20 years, he has firsthand experience to offer and is a trusted volunteer to those we support.

Louise Tebbutt

Advisory Board

Louise joined Myer from the Coles Group in 2006, where she held senior roles in a number of businesses including Coles Supermarkets and Target. She was appointed to the role of GGM Human Resources, Risk and Safety in August 2012, after leading the Human Resources function as General Manager and has over 17 years of industry experience.

Luke Donnellan

Luke Donnellan

Advisory Board

Luke Donnellan was elected as the State Member for Narre Warren North in 2002 and appointed as Shadow Minister for Child Safety and Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation following the 2010 Victorian State Election.

After finishing university, he worked in the finance industry as a client services manager involved in tax finance and property advice. He also worked as a Finance Advisor as well as in marketing and strategic planning.

John Roskam

Advisory Board

John Roskam has been the Executive Director of the free market think tank, Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), since 2004. Previously the Executive Director of The Menzies Research Centre, Roskam has been a senior adviser and Chief of Staff to federal and state education ministers.

His fortnightly column appears in The Australian Financial Review and is a member of the Editorial Board of The Australian Journal of Public Administration.


Carlo Galati

Advisory Board

Carlo has held senior leadership positions in national and international organisations, including General Manager People & Culture for Apiam Animal Health, Head of Human Resources – Animal Health for Merck Sharp & Dohme, Senior Manager for Change, Business Efficiency and Transformation at National Australia Bank and Regional Director Human Resources for AIG. He has extensive experience in consulting, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, sales & distribution and financial services (banking & insurance – life/general).