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Youth Enterprises Australia appoints Steve Clifford as CEO


In response to the escalating challenges faced by Australia's youth in the employment landscape, Youth Enterprises Australia (YEA) has announced the strategic appointment of Steve Clifford as its new Chief Executive Officer. Known for his transformative impact in the not-for-profit sector, Steve will assume the role on January 15, 2024, and will spearhead a review to reshape YEA's approach in creating sustainable pathways for young people.

Against the backdrop of a deepening crisis in youth unemployment and disengagement, his appointment is more than a mere change in leadership; it signals a bold shift in strategy for YEA. Steve, a seasoned executive with a track record of success in national organisations such as SecondBite, brings not only experience but a visionary approach to tackling one of Australia's most pressing issues – the future of its young workforce.

The statistics are stark: a decline in tertiary study and employment participation, rising mental health issues, and social isolation plague young Australians who fall outside the high-achiever narrative. YEA's decision to appoint Steve Clifford reflects a commitment to disrupt the status quo, to innovate beyond conventional models, and to confront head-on the challenges that have left a significant portion of our youth disengaged from society.

In Steve's decade-long leadership journey across the not-for-profit sector, he has demonstrated a knack for driving pragmatic, commercially astute solutions that deliver tangible outcomes. As CEO of SecondBite, he led initiatives that addressed food insecurity and social issues at scale.

He says he feels honoured and excited to take on this new opportunity at such a critical juncture.

"After taking some time this year for some reflection and travel, I was delighted to be approached by the YEA Board to take on this important role, at a time when the challenges facing our young people have never been greater,” he said.

“I am really passionate about making positive changes to the trajectory of young people who do not have access to the same opportunities of mainstream youth and look forward to being able to continue that mission in this role.”

Steve's initial six-month term will focus on a comprehensive review, aligning YEA's goals with the evolving needs of Australia's young workforce. The outcomes of this review, expected in July 2024, will chart the course for YEA's future initiatives.

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