February 2022: Tania Bunk – KauKan JobForce Youth Express

February 2022: Tania Bunk - KauKan JobForce Youth Express -

Welcome to the Couch! Can you give us a brief overview of what the core business is for Youth Express?

Youth Express delivers a range of programs to encourage strong and sustainable links amongst our key stakeholders:

  • Young people and identified job seekers, education providers, business and industry, parents and the community.
  • Youth Express has supported the Hunter, Upper Hunter and Port Stephens communities since 1993 and are a registered charity and Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR).
  • Youth Express won the Hunter Business Award for Outstanding Community Enterprise in 2021.

Can you give me a brief overview on the KauKan program?

The JobForce KauKan Program at Youth Express delivers the Tailored Assistance Employment Grants (TAEG) program funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA). TAEG aims to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have attributes and skills to actively access and maintain quality employment. How do we achieve this?

  • Initiate sustainable employment opportunities through strong relationships/ partnerships.
  • Develop the capacity of Indigenous participants through supported training and mentoring.
  • Secure quality and stable apprenticeship and traineeship employment opportunities for our youth.

What are some if any, the challenges Youth Express face?

It’s not really a challenge – rather an ongoing quest to source businesses and industries to host Work Placement Students from local high schools studying Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses and sourcing sustainable employment opportunities for our First Nation’s People. If your business would like to jump on board please see my contact details below.

Has there been a wonderful success story you can share with our members?

There are too many to single out just one! Our Facebook pages are probably the best way to explore how broadly and successfully Youth Express contributes to the Community:

There are so many benefits for employers, can you highlight 3 key benefits for employers engaging with the program?

• Trialing Work Placement students is a great way for employers to reconnect with young people to source quality staff as well as provide hands on professional development in workplace training for their existing staff.
• Expanding the awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture within a business by employing our First Nation’s People
• Providing access for staff to Cultural Awareness engagement by referral to Connecting to Country and other Cultural Programs.

Is Port Stephens actively engaged and a big part of Youth Express? How can we engage more with our local businesses regarding the program?

Port Stephens is actively engaged with us as we are with Port Stephens! Youth Express has sponsored Business Port Stephens events and attends the chamber meetings to network with local businesses initiating interest in investing in our community by hosting a Work Placement student, employing an Indigenous candidate, donating to our organisation or all three! Please see my contact details below to discuss how your business can value add to the local community by engaging with Youth Express.

A bit about you… favourite spot in Port Stephens, favourite activity, shout out to your favourite places to eat or other local businesses?

I am the TAEG KauKan JobForce Program Coordinator at Youth Express. Our office is based in Maitland. Our coverage is broad and we support the Hunter, Upper Hunter and Port Stephens with our range of services. I live in the Port Stephens LGA and would have to say my fave spot is Birubi Beach. Originally from Canberra I am now officially a beach fan and it’s my happy place! Living in Medowie my favourite place to grab a coffee is Little Pantry. Medowie Social is great for a family friendly feed. I really have access to everything living in Medowie and have been pleasantly surprised at the breadth of local businesses in the area. My physio is here – Medowie Family and Sports Physio, the local Jim’s pool care look after our pool and even getting rid of nasty bugs is convenient with Perimeter Pest Services being close by. Medowie is a great place to live! Love Port Stephens.

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