Ladder Step Up Western Sydney

Ladder Step Up Western Sydney is an Education, Employment and Training (EET) engagement model to help young people leaving care better identify and test educational and vocational activities which are of interest to them, and that they are motivated to further explore.

The Ladder Step Up Western Sydney program has approved activity status with the Department of Employment, meaning that any young person in the program registered with a Job Network provider meets their mutual obligation requirements, and will subsequently receive Centrelink payments as a registered program participant.

About the program

Ladder Step Up Western Sydney is an Education, Employment and Training (EET) engagement model to help young people (15-20 years) who have had an out-of-home care (OOHC) experience transition to independence.

The program is designed to identify and test educational and vocational activities which are of interest to them. The program is based in Mt Druitt, western Sydney and supports young people across greater western Sydney. The program funding is supported by the NSW Government's Department of Family and Community Services. The GWS GIANTS are the primary community partner, and the program is also supported by the Australian Football League (AFL) and AFL Players Association.

Ladder Step Up NSW uses a strength based coaching approach to engage and work with young people. As part of the program, self-supporting teams of young people work together to identify and build on their skills, clarify vocational pathways, build foundational inter-personal and employability skills, and undertake community based activities. Activities include an 8-week group program, combined with an individualised and tailored development plan where young people continue working with Development Coaches, participate and explore work placement opportunities, build further community links and are supported to explore further job, education and employment opportunities. Up to six programs will run annually and Ladder will accept ongoing referrals.

For further information, please contact the NSW office on 02 9832 3469 or email us at

Latest news

Former AFL player tells of gratitude to his foster carers and importance of Ladder Step Up Program

AFLW players give at risk youth a step up

Inspirational visit to the GWS GIANTS HQ

Ladder Step Up Western Sydney is taking referrals

Employment leads to confidence building

Seeing snow for the first time

Ladder Development Coach to take leading role in AFL Female Diversity Championship

I wish I did this course before I went through almost living on the street

Step Up is a stepping stone to independence

Young person experiences their first AFL match thanks to the GWS GIANTS

Ladder officially opens its doors in Western Sydney

Launch of The Ladder Step Up Western Sydney Program


To be eligible for the Ladder Step Up Western Sydney program you must;

  • Be aged between 15 and 20 years of age
  • Be exiting or nearing exiting out-of-home care
  • Be based in Greater Western Sydney
  • Be available to attend up to 8 weeks of training
  • Have the capacity to participate in programs offered and be committed to doing so

How to Refer

Young people are able to self-refer or they can be referred by a caseworker or carer.

To refer, please complete the following form and return as per the instructions on the last page.

Ladder Step Up referral form

Ladder Step Up Mentoring

Ladder Step Up Mentoring provides an opporunity to become a role model for a young person, have a positive impact on a young person's life, provide perspective and understand youth homelessness. A mentor becomes a trusted support and advocate and motivates the young person to achieve their goals.

Ladder Step Up Mentoring involes a twelve month relationship that focuses on developing a positive and meaningful relationship with a young person. As a guide a monthly face-to-face catch up is a appropriate with regular phone or sms communication in between.

Ladder Step Up mentoring handbook

Get in touch

We would be happy to answer any of your questions. Please email or call the office on (02) 02 9832 3469


Click here to view our answers to frequently asked questions.

Got other questions? Feel free to get in touch with us at any time by emailing or call the office on (02) 02 9832 3469

Further information/ resources

Promotional poster

See how the Ladder Step Up Western Sydney program was developed:

Watch this short video about the program launch

Former AFL player, Brad Murphy shares his story of growing up in foster care from 16 months old. He reflects on the importance of having organisations like Ladder and why young people who grow up in care can achieve anything they set their mind to.

Funding supported by FACS