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Education First Youth Foyer - Wangaratta

Home >About Us >Major Projects >Education First Youth Foyer - Wangaratta

At GOTAFE, we aim to improve the quality of life for young people in our region by providing evidence-based solutions to keep disadvantaged young people in education.

As such, we're actively working to achieve the funding to build an Education First Youth Foyer (EFYF) in Wangaratta.

The Education First Youth Foyer supports young people aged 16 to 24 years who want to study but are at risk of or are experiencing homelessness. It has a 24/7 staffing model and staff support the participants to set goals, build skills, and meaningfully engage in learning and the community.

A site at 31 Docker St Wangaratta has been identified for the development of a youth foyer to allow for participant access to employment, education, and transport within the Wangaratta CBD.

Read our EFYF one-pager

Did you know?

Youth homelessness is one of the biggest issues facing Australia and it can have life-long impacts, including on mental health, social engagement and civic participation, education, and employment.

Homelessness in Wangaratta

NESAY Inc. supported 98 youth who were experiencing homelessness in 2020-2021.

Family violence

Wangaratta has some of the state’s highest levels of child protection investigations, family violence incidents, teenage pregnancies, and youth not completing year 12.

Youth homelessness

Youth homelessness impacts negatively on the community through reduced community participation and increased engagement with the justice system.

Hear from the students

GOTAFE has a proven track record of operating a Youth Foyer in Shepparton. More than 200 young people have been supported to complete their education since the Foyer opened five years ago.

In this video, residents of the Berry Street Youth Foyer discuss how the Foyer has set them up for success in both their study and personal lives.

The solution

We need to build an Education First Youth Foyer in Wangaratta because:

  • They are proven to effectively address the key challenges impacting young people.
  • They provide integrated learning and accommodation for young people aged 16-24 who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
  • They support young people who are motivated to engage with education and training in a supportive environment.
  • Stable housing is a means of ensuring young people can commit fully to their education.
  • The model is based on the principle that educational attainment is key to providing a route out of disadvantage for young people.
Education First Youth Foyer Wangaratta Mockup

Hear from the staff

Watch why staff believe an Education First Youth Foyer in Wangaratta would positively impact young people.

How can I find out more?

Community sessions

GOTAFE is hosting several sessions for the community to find out more about the proposed Education First Youth Foyer. These include:

Community drop-in sessions

When: Thursday 6 October, 6-8 pm | Friday 7 October, 1-3pm

Where: GOTAFE Restaurant, 23 Docker St Wangaratta

Community pop-up engagements

Friday 7 October 10am-12pmInformation Kiosk (Crn Reid & Murphy Streets, Wangaratta)
Saturday 8 October  10.00-11.30 amInformation Kiosk (Crn Reid & Murphy Streets, Wangaratta)
Saturday 8 October 12.00-2.00 pmWangaratta Sports & Aquatic Centre (41 Schilling Dr, Wangaratta)

If you are unable to make the engagement sessions or have any other questions, please email GOTAFE's Marketing Team or contact Natasha McCormick on 0408 525 568.

Frequently asked questions

Education First Youth Foyers

Homelessness is an increasing challenge in Wangaratta; in 2020-21 Wangaratta-based NESAY supported 98 young people who were experiencing homelessness. Education First Youth Foyers break the cycle of homelessness and welfare dependency through the provision of stable, supported accommodation and education.

There are 13 accredited youth foyers operating in Australia. GOTAFE partners in operating another Education First Youth Foyer in Shepparton, opposite their campus, which has been in operation since 2016. The Brotherhood of St Laurence, a partner in this project and the Shepparton site, also delivers the Education First Youth Foyers in Glen Waverly and Broadmeadows.

The Education First Youth Foyer Model has a 24/7 staffing model. Staff support participants to set goals, build skills, and meaningfully engage in learning and the community.

Cusack House was unsupervised student accommodation. The Education First Youth Foyer Model is a completely different approach; it has a 24/7 staffing model. Staff support participants to set goals, build skills, and meaningfully engage in learning and the community.

Docker Street site

The site has been selected to allow for participant access to employment, education, and transport. Participants will be supported to obtain employment during their stay and are unlikely to have transport, so the jobs need to be within walking distance.

We have considered a range of options for the existing building including retaining the building, moving the building, or incorporating the building into the development. To retain or incorporate the current building a four-five storey building would be required, rather than the proposed three-storey development.

In other Youth Foyers operated by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, it has been shown that having around 40-50 participants allows for positive group dynamics, meets individual needs, and is economically viable. Given the limited land footprint available at 31 Docker St, a three-storey 40-participant foyer has been designed.

It is likely that the current building at 31 Docker Street will be demolished to make way for the new Education First Youth Foyer building.

Car parking has been allowed within the Youth Foyer for staff and participant vehicles. This will be provided to avoid impacts on available street parking around Docker St. The parking lot owned by GOTAFE to the rear of the existing building will be within the footprint of the new building and no longer available for use.

Cusack House has already been earmarked as a Country University Centre, a facility that regional students can use to study tertiary courses locally delivered by distance from any Australian institution. This project is a partnership between the City of Wangaratta, Towong Shire Council, and Mansfield Shire Council. Cusack House is, therefore, unavailable for this development.


A consortium has been formed to lead the project; this includes GOTAFE, Uniting Housing, and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

We’re in the concept design stage. The development aims to complement the award-winning ‘Railway Precinct Enhancement Project’ and will comply with relevant standards including energy efficiency, open space, landscaping, waste, and stormwater management.

No funding is currently available to proceed with construction. The concept plans will help direct future efforts to secure funding to support at-risk young people in Wangaratta.

To understand the heritage requirements for the current building, GOTAFE has worked with planning departments in the Rural City of Wangaratta and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. GOTAFE has also engaged a heritage advisor who will provide a report and recommendations on what action should be taken.

GOTAFE is funding the planning of the project. The construction of the project is currently unfunded. GOTAFE is seeking external funding to deliver the project.