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New Norlane: Building a Future for apprentices

Apprentice house -cropped03Sam Edminston with (from left) Hamlan Homes’ Andrew Carroll, Housing Minister Martin Foley and Member for Lara, John Eren.

Northern Futures’ collaboration with the Victorian Government’s New Norlane Building for the Future initiative is creating pathways to employment success for young people in the northern suburbs.
With support from Northern Futures, the New Norlane project has provided apprenticeship placements in construction, carpentry, plumbing and cabinet making with three builder partners, Burbank Australia, Hamlan Homes and Porter Davis.
And the model is delivering exceptional results. The project’s building partners were so impressed by the eagerness and work ethic of the first six apprentices they have since found room for another five apprentices.
Northern Futures Project Manager, Helen Long, says the New Norlane apprentice program has been a huge success for all apprentices involved.
“These dedicated young individuals are helping build a brighter future for the northern suburbs as the New Norlane Initiative delivers 320 new affordable homes,” Ms Long said.
Carpenter apprentice Sam Edminston received the ‘apprentice of the year’ award in 2014 and is now looking forward to becoming a fully qualified carpenter.
“Life is great – my girlfriend and I have just had our first baby and I absolutely love my job. The past three years have been a huge learning curve and I’m so honoured to be a part of changing the future for Norlane through the New Norlane Initiative.”
For more information on the New Norlane housing initiative head to

Case studies

  • Cotton On
  • McColls Transport
  • New Norlane
  • Coralee Gundogar

The Northern Futures approach to supporting and advocating for the northern suburbs is unique and highly successful. An outstanding example of this approach has been the Work and Learning Centres supported by the Victorian Government. The Geelong centre is an inspirational example of what this approach can achieve.

It is well known that the current model of contracted employment services replicates the strengths and weaknesses of the bureaucracy it replaced: very efficient at delivering stock standard, one-size-fits-all products but weak at engaging more complex cases, especially those needing serious community engagement.
In Geelong there are suburbs with high numbers of unemployed people which the standard services fail to touch effectively. With the support of the Victorian Government, the Brotherhood of St Laurence teamed up with an inspirational community organisation called Northern Futures.
The group is spearheaded by leading business people with a vision for a Geelong with a strong economy in which no neighbourhoods are left behind.
With a small crew of paid staff and a larger number of volunteers, they are getting great results with the people whom the mainstream system has failed.
You could not have a better example of how mobilising the ‘social self’ can empower the individual.

Paul Smythe
Head of Research and Policy
Brotherhood of St Laurance