Ladder Step Up Sydney

If you want help getting motivated, learning important life skills and getting job or study ready – we’ve got just the thing for you. The Ladder Step Up Sydney program is an 8 week program that will support you to live and work independently.

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

Step Up Sydney is an 8 week program that aims to support young people (15-20 years) living in out-of-home care (OOHC) in the following ways:

• Learn important life skills
• Improve health and wellbeing
• Get motivated and build self-confidence
• Get job or study ready
• Connect with and learn from leaders in the AFL industry
• Get to know your local community
• Set goals and reach them with the help of a mentor
• Meet new people and build positive relationships.

Ladder Step Up Sydney 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 one on one, to explore and participate in work placement opportunities, build further community links and are supported to explore further job, education and employment opportunities.

The program funding is supported by the NSW Government's Department of Family and Community Services. The GWS GIANTS are the community partner, and the program is supported by the Australian Football League (AFL) and AFL Players Association.

Who can join

To be eligible for the program, you need to:

• Be aged between 15 – 20
• Living in out-of-home care
• Have a Leaving Care Plan
• Be living in Greater Sydney
• Be ready to explore new opportunities.

Program facts

  • All training is provided FREE
  • Sessions run two days a week for 8 weeks and will include both group and individual activities. After the 8 week program, young people can access support and advice for up to 6 months
  • All young people will be able to participate in fun activities such as excursions, movie nights and community events
  • The program runs in select locations across Sydney
  • The program has Centrelink Approved Activity Status so you can continue to receive benefits
  • Ladder is the official charity of AFL Players and a national partner of the AFL. The GWS GIANTS is a partner of this program, which means program participants will have access to VIP opportunities and events and learn from AFL and AFLW players who support program sessions as special group mentors.

When can I start?

We have programs running now. You just need to get in touch with us and we will work out when there’s availability. The program is structured but we can be flexible around any relevant commitments, like school, TAFE or work. You don’t have to commit to the program straight away. You can come check it out first, and if you like it, keep going.

For further information, please contact text or call John on 0447 422 203 or email

What people said about the program

“It’s a great program to help young adults become independent”

“I have learnt that I can achieve anything I set my heart and mind to achieve. I’m doing better with each day”

“[I now] have what employers look for. I enjoyed the mock interviews because I’ve never been to a real job interview. It was good to get an idea”

“Moving out isn’t easy. I will I did this course before I went through almost living on the street”

“I have gained better lifestyle skills and how to be healthier”

“[I’ve learnt that] if I push myself, I can do anything. There are many things in the world to try and see and if I get out of my comfort zone, I’m fine”

Latest news

Ladder is hiring key staff for the Ladder Step Up Sydney program

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


Click here to view our answers to frequently asked questions.

For further information, please contact text or call John on 0447 422 203 or email

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