Transformational – improving the lives of the critically vulnerable

The 2018 National Employment Solutions Conference will be held at Twin Towns Services Club, Tweed Heads, NSW over the 8th – 9th October.

Joining us at the conference is Mr Gerry Georgatos, National Coordinator at ISJHR who will present on ‘Transformational – improving the lives of the critically vulnerable – from prison and homelessness to employment’.


More than 40,000 Australians are incarcerated, with more than 10,000 of the prisoners comprising Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders. Nearly half a million Australians have been to prison, with an estimated 100,000 comprising Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders. Nearly three quarters of Australia’s homeless are of working age and capability.

86 per cent of the national prison population did not complete Year 12; 50 per cent did not complete Year 10; and 40 per cent did not get past Year 9. For Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders prisoners nearly 100 per cent did not complete Year 12.

While in the tertiary sector I supported individuals post-release from the situational trauma of incarceration through alternative pathways into university education. I established programs to further support the cohort I galvanised to undertake education, supporting them psychosocially and educationally from the point of entry to the point of exit.

One of the projects I am involved with is the Ngalla Maya prison to training to employment program. Ngalla Maya was founded by Mervyn Eades, an individual who transformed his life after a number of times incarcerated. Ngalla Maya was unfunded for the first three years of its success story. I secured them funding after evidencing their unparalleled successes. Ngalla Maya thrives with relentless practical and psychosocial support; with a “never give up” attitude and with a “if we believe in others, they will believe in themselves.”

We need to distinguish the vulnerable from the critically vulnerable. The individuals we outreach to and vet into training are individuals are not considered stable enough by just about every training provider and would be “vetted out”.

In the last year, Ngalla Maya has transformed the lives of former prisoners, setting a cracking pace, setting a national record for the most recently released prisoners into fulltime employment.


Gerry Georgatos is a suicide prevention and poverty researcher who is also the National Coordinator Support Advocates for the National Indigenous Critical Response Service. He is also the Project Coordinator for the National Migrant Youth Support Service. Gerry is a trauma recovery expert with a focus on improving life circumstances through education and employment. He has developed programs to assist the most vulnerable to radically transform their lives. He champions the work of the Ngalla Maya organisation which is leading the way with recently released people from prison to training to employment despite the various seemingly overwhelming barriers.

For more information on the 2018 National Employment Solutions Conference and to secure your spot, please visit