Try, Test and Learn Fund

Try, Test and Learn Fund, Ellen Holmes and Karlie Boutle at the Policy Hack

Ellen Holmes was one of 93 people who gathered in Melbourne for our Department’s first Policy Hack. The Hack was convened as part of the Australian Priority Investment Approach to Welfare.

As a young carer—Ellen represented one of three priority groups (alongside young parents, and students at risk of unemployment) that are being supported through the first tranche of the Priority Investment Approach’s $96 million Try, Test and Learn Fund.

For much of her life, including her school years, Ellen has had the responsibility of caring for her mother and two brothers who have a genetic disorder.

The Hack provided Ellen with a unique opportunity to voice her experience to experts who research, develop and deliver policy and programs assisting young carers.

“It was great to have people actually affected by decisions having their say as we brainstormed the issues and barriers they face, particularly to education and work,” she said.

“Sharing lived experience meant we could be both innovative and practical with our ideas”.

Innovative policy ideas were generated at the forum and the most promising of these were further developed during co-design activities involving key stakeholders, including young people from the initial priority groups. Once finalised, these initiatives will be tried and tested to see if they support young people to move from welfare to work.

“I truly believe this is an inclusive and innovative way to create ideas and solutions for a group of people who are often forgotten and overlooked,” Ellen said.

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