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Green Gap Year: A values-driven learning and employment program

Green Gap Year: A values-driven learning and employment program

Green Gap Year engages youth, people experiencing vulnerability in accessing employment and learning and people wanting a values aligned for-purpose job or gr...

australia > VIC > metro
01/01/2024 > 30/11/2025


  • Education/training and employment
  • Environment conservation and climate change


  • Unemployed people
  • Young people (6-25)


Green Gap Year engages youth, people experiencing vulnerability in accessing employment and learning and people wanting a values aligned for-purpose job or green career change.

The Green Gap Year takes participants through 4 stages of learning, experience and professional practice:
– Head- learning & gaining knowledge
– Heart- Connection to self, others & a purpose
– Hands- Applied skills & real-world experiences
– Earth Service- Initiative, innovation, self-management & professional practice

CERES has an amazing mosaic of opportunities for people to learn about and for the earth, and build networks and skills. We piloted the program in 2023 and found that the Green Gap Year fosters agents of change, and creates connected, confident and supportive cohorts of young humans equipped to work for the earth. With your support in 2024 we will offer more curriculum options and flexibility in our personal green pathway design, core subjects, electives and skill based work programs. Topics we will focus on include: climate change; new economic models; policy and advocacy; green careers and skills; environmental education; behaviour change; regenerative agriculture; landscape restoration; horticultural therapy; social enterprise; first nations knowledge; accredited green skill sets.

We are seeking funding in 2024 and 2025 to continue to deliver and build capacity to scale up this innovative program. We have an opportunity to double philanthropic funding through an offer of matched funding. CERES would love your support to help build skills, confidence, connection and wellbeing in young people to live, learn and earn for the earth.


Outcomes of the program:
Positive flow-on effects to the wellbeing, resilience, connection and confidence of participants
As a result of being in the program in 2023:
>87% of respondents noted that their overall wellbeing had improved (agreed or strongly agreed, 13% slightly agreed).
>93% feel an increased hope for the future (remainder slightly agree)
>81% shared that their confidence and resilience improved in terms of being more able to overcome and manage challenging situations
>87% have an increased sense of belonging and welcoming.
100% feel more connected to nature, country and other people
>93% have increased feelings of love and wanting to care for the earth
100% of respondents felt the program supported them to think about Indigenous perspectives and/or connect to country
>93% feel an increased hope for the future (remainder slightly agree)
>87% have an increased sense of belonging

Participants who completed the Green Gap Year program, have gained transferable skills and experience, and move into purpose-driven green employment or further study.
The program in 2023 successfully supported individuals in identifying green pathways and are working towards their next steps to further study or work. They were connected with industry knowledge, practice and mentors in the sector. People are either shifting to a university or further study option, continuing connection with work experience program at CERES and external organisations or applying a green skills lens to their current field.
94% of participants have identified a green pathway.
100% of respondents have secured or planning to secure work, study or continuing their professional practice in volunteering in the green sector
>87% have gained a greater sense of direction and understand their purpose and goals

Creates more job opportunities at CERES and beyond for first-round and future participants and the community.
We have created jobs for participants and the green sector through delivering the Green Gap Year. CERES has employed a green gap year graduate that worked/volunteered with our Social Enterprises at CERES as part of the program. We have 5 participants that want to mentor and contribute to the program next year and gain paid employment at CERES. Other participants have secured work experience and jobs externally.

A sustainable and scalable business model.
We are approaching local councils, businesses and partners to fund scholarship places.
For non-marginalised participants we are modelling fee-for-service tiered pricing.

CERES is an environmental education centre, community garden, urban farm and social enterprise hub spread across four locations, linked by the Merri and Darebin Creeks on Wurundjeri Country, Naarm (Melbourne). Our vision is for people to fall in love with the Earth again and to that end, our work spans environmental, social, economic, spiritual and cultural dimensions. We receive around half a million visits per year to our original park in Brunswick East, and reach nearly another million through our other locations, school outreach programs and online services. The CERES School of Nature and Climate is the evolution of our education programs into a focused response to the climate and ecological crisis we are facing.

Our environmental education offerings at Brunswick East, in schools and online, are designed to reconnect people to each other and the Earth, developing the practical skills, knowledge, leadership qualities and community resilience that will be needed in the coming decades.


TOTAL BUDGET: $330,000
Funding sourceAmount
Funding Gap (unconfirmed) $50,000
Fee for Service and funded places (2 years) (unconfirmed)$200,000
ACFE subsidised hours (25K per year = 4275hours of learning) (confirmed)$50,000
Local council and organisation funding (unconfirmed)$30,000
Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation (unconfirmed)$25,000
Expense itemAmount
Program design review & new Accredited Curriculum Design$30,000
Admin and Coordination (2 years)$90,000
Program Delivery (2 years)$200,000
Evaluation and Communication (2 Years)$10,000

Support Green Gap Year: A values-driven learning and employment program

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