Youth Digital Inclusion Project

What is the Youth Digital Inclusion Project?

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on many issues that already existed in society. One of these is the digital divide. During the height of the pandemic when schools and facilities closed and the majority of services went online, many of our State’s most vulnerable young people with no access to digital devices found they no longer had access to social and health supports.

The Youth Digital Inclusion (YDI) project has been developed to respond to the digital divide experienced by vulnerable young people across our State. The Department of Communities has given YACWA a grant to distribute approximately 300 refurbished ICT devices to young people aged 16 to 24 in need. The majority of these devices will be smartphones accompanied by 6 month data packages. Young people will be identified through eligible community organisations who will apply on their behalf through a time-limited application process.

At the centre of the YDI project is the understanding that access to technology in an increasingly digitalised world is a necessity. Young people are required to use technology to book appointments, use services, engage in education, and stay connected with friends and family.

For young people experiencing additional challenges, such as homelessness or other crisis, access to reliable digital devices and data will help them to engage or re-engage with services that will support them during the COVID-19 recovery period.

Expressions of interests were open from 26 August and closed on 9 September. Organisations can expect to be notified about their EOI on 21 September.

YACWA is a small office and we are unable to take calls on this initiative. We have developed answers to a list of Frequently Asked Questions. If you have further questions, please email ydip@yacwa.org.au.


How do young people apply for a device?

All applications for devices will be administered through community organisations that provide services for young people. This is to ensure that they go to young people most in need and so that young people are supported to maintain the devices.

We cannot accept registrations from individual young people.

How does my organisation get involved?

YACWA opened a short online application period from 26 August to 5pm, 9 September for organisations to apply on behalf of young people accessing their services. During the application process we will check the eligibility* of your organisation. Eligibility criteria will include:

  • Your organisation is currently providing youth specific services and/or working directly with young people aged 16 to 24 in some capacity
  • Your organisation is incorporated and not-for-profit OR unincorporated but applying through the auspice of an incorporated body OR a local government authority
  • Your organisation has the ability to fulfil the project’s guidelines and obligations

Once the applications have been assessed, organisations will be notified of the young people that are successful by 21 September. Delivery negotiations will be made between the 22 September and 9 October.

*Commonwealth or State Government organisations, and individuals will not be eligible to apply.

How will young people be selected?

Once the application period closes, an independent assessment panel will review all applications and make decisions. The decision-making criteria will include:

  • Age (young person must be between 16 and 24)
  • Location (young person must be currently residing in WA)
  • Current vulnerabilities
  • Short and long-term benefits of receiving a device
  • Young person’s capacity to understand appropriate use and care of the device
  • Service’s ability to support the young person to maintain a device

We know that demand is likely to outstrip the supply. As such, we will maintain a waitlist for young people who are unsuccessful.

If you have a young person that only needs the data that goes with the smartphone package (but not a device), you can still submit an application, but priority will be given to young people who need both.

What devices are available?

The YDI project will have approximately 300 devices to distribute. Most of these devices will be refurbished smartphones with six-month data plans. There may also be a limited number of laptops, tablets, and desktop PCs.

What commitment is required by participating organisations?

If young people that you apply for are selected to receive a device, we will get in contact and arrange for the devices to be delivered to your organisation. You will then be responsible for distributing these and accompanying resources to the young people.

We understand that community organisations that work with young people are time poor, however to maximise the success of the project, it will be a requirement of your organisation to engage with the young people who have devices twice during the six-month duration of the project (likely at 4 and 12 weeks). This engagement will probably be via a short survey (which you can do verbally). We will also require you to submit final feedback to YACWA at the end to assist with our evaluation of the project.

We may also ask you to nominate a young person who you think would be willing and able to complete a more in-depth interview with YACWA about their experience of being part of this initiative. We would require someone from your organisation to support this interview.

Is there risk to the young person?

All devices will come with educational resources including topics such as:

  • Device maintenance
  • Cyber safety
  • Where to find free Wi-Fi and charging stations
  • How to manage data and which apps consume a lot of data

We ask that organisations go through these resources with young people that receive a device.

All the data packages that young people have will be capped so that they cannot go over their data limit. Warnings will be issued when they are approaching their data limit.

Participation in this project is a safe way for young people to learn about how to space out their data usage whilst on a plan where they are capped and cannot get into debt. They will still be able to connect to Wi-Fi if they exceed their data limit as well as make calls and send texts.

All devices will be pre-loaded with antivirus software and privacy controls.

Young people will not be tracked in any way through the device.

Will the devices have coverage throughout WA?

All plans will be with Telstra for maximum coverage.

What about broken, lost or stolen devices?

There is a limited number of devices, so broken, lost or stolen devices will not be replaced. If a young person you are supporting finds themselves in this situation then you can contact YACWA and we will put them on a waitlist for a replacement device. If more devices become available during the project, we will contact you.

Most devices will come with a minimum of 6 months warranty and information will be provided to organisations about how to make a claim under the warranty.

What happens after the six months?

The devices given to young people will be theirs to keep and do not need to be returned. However, the data packages are for six-months only. Services should consider how they might support young people to access data after this time.

Can late registrations and applications be accepted?

No. This is a time-limited project which is likely to be oversubscribed, therefore we cannot accept applications that miss the deadline.

Will there be future opportunities like this?

This is a singular project. We cannot guarantee that there will be future opportunities. The success of the project will best be able to be assessed if the organisations who work with the young people who receive devices assist with the collection of survey data and stories. If evaluation demonstrates improved outcomes for young people, this will help make the case for more initiatives of this kind.