Supporting young people to get traction in their life

We’ve formed an exciting new partnership with TRACTION, a not-for-profit working to support youth build skills and confidence through hands-on learning projects.

Our partnership will bolster TRACTION’s support services by embedding a new food and nutrition component into its programs, which will give young people the opportunity to learn about, prepare and eat healthy food, alongside their other projects.

This two-year pilot program will be evidence-informed and involve Health and Wellbeing Queensland’s preventive health experts, the research expertise of University of Queensland, and the program insight of TRACTION staff and participants.

TRACTION Founder/CEO, Sandy Murdoch with Health and Wellbeing Queensland Chief Executive, Robyn Littlewood.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland Senior Health Promotion Officer, Cathie Gilian said supporting programs like TRACTION is where we can help amplify the preventive health efforts already underway in communities.

“With sound nutrition playing a role in positive health and mental wellbeing, we saw an immediate an obvious opportunity to support TRACTION’s focus on prevention and early intervention.”

“Bringing public health, nutrition and prevention expertise together with academic rigour and the community insight of the TRACTION team will help enhance the value they can bring to youth in need, Ms Gilian said.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland will provide financial support, connect with UQ researchers to support the project life cycle, and create opportunities to communicate project learnings to audience networks.

Academic rigour and co-design

The evidence is clear—food impacts mood and wellbeing. What this pilot program is seeking to achieve is precision in how we integrate food and nutrition education into programs such as TRACTION’s, for the highest possible value to the participants.

Co-design principles—working together—is at the heart of this pilot, which recognises the unique value and perspective of each of the stakeholders, including, and especially the recipients of the services provided by TRACTION. (Visit this read for the 101 on co-design and its benefits).

Stakeholders will design, deliver, evaluate and review the pilot together. Over its course, the healthy eating and nutrition components developed will be integrated into TRACTION’S workshops, with a test-refine-feedback loop central to its implementation and improvement.

By working together, it is expected we will gain a greater understanding of the barriers and enablers to integrating healthy eating programs into existing programs. While efficiencies and alignment of government and community organisations working with young people will be achieved, the greatest beneficiaries of this shared approach is expected to be the people it serves—Queensland youth.

TRACTION’s signature programs help grow confidence

TRACTION participant and Dr Robyn Littlewood.

TRACTION’s programs focus on action-based activities and recognise self-esteem, confidence and job-ready skills can come from doing, over traditional ways of learning.

Mentorship is the backbone of its programs, which include building bicycles, small engines and boom boxes (aka speakers), and permaculture. Programs are delivered at sites across the Redlands, Brisbane, the Scenic Rim and Gold Coast, as well as pop up workshops across South East Queensland.

Its bicycle building program sees participants get hands-on building and customising their own bike to keep.

Out of these practical workshops, participants experience a sense of success and confidence that inspires them to consider a future of widened opportunities.

The TRACTION Yarrabilba workshop

TRACTION participant and Dr Robyn Littlewood getting down to work!

In announcing the partnership, members of our team visited the Yarrabilba workshop to meet some of the truly amazing young people involved, who taught us how to scrape old paint off a bike frame, ready for the fresh coat of paint. But not before participating in a group meditation session.

Our partnership will help young people to learn about, prepare and eat healthy food, alongside their hands-on projects, empowering them to realise positive futures.

Learn more about TRACTION.