U-Turn Program Moonah

2 Station Street, Moonah, TAS, 7009

Established in 2003, the U-Turn Program Moonah is a structured 10 week car maintenance and body work training course that offers young people the opportunity to complete their Certificate 1 in Automotive. The program, part of Mission Australia’s Youth Services, works with young people who have been, or are at risk of being, involved in vehicle theft. In 2012, U-Turn worked with 80 students aged 15-20. The majority of participants have been male but female participants are welcome. The provision of supported accommodation enables young people from across Tasmania, as well as those in Hobart, to attend the course.

How this program works

u-turn-2-300x225Identified as a best-practice diversionary program for young offenders, U-Turn works with participants to empower them to build successful pathways to vocational skills and qualifications. Participants are provided with an opportunity to change their lives andfulfil their potential. Building on students’ interests in cars, the core component of the program is a ten week automotive course. The program also focuses on life skills and personal development issues adopting a case management model and linking participants to a comprehensive network of support. A cognitive behavioural approach is used to reduce levels of offending and anti-social behaviour. The program includes drug and alcohol awareness training and road safety education.

The program runs Tuesday to Friday at a dedicated workshop site equipped with a mechanical workshop, spray painting booth, training room and recreation room. Participants engage in hands on mechanical training, spray painting, panel beating, car maintenance and body work, and also take part in go-karting activities. Literacy and numeracy skills are delivered through the program in contextualised, practical and small group settings. A restorative justice component enables participants to work on community-orientated projects, e.g. servicing vehicles for community organisations or victims of car thefts, and offer a positive contribution to society. Work experience opportunities facilitate the future employment of students. Post-course support is available for two years providing the opportunity for participants to complete their Certificate 2 in Automotive.


Positive outcomes, indicating the success of this program, include: completion rates, reduced levels of offending whilst on, and after, the program, students re-engaging with their studies and/or securing employment, and improvements in student attitudes, relationships and behaviours.

Individual student achievements: In 2010, one of the program’s students was a finalist in the Tasmanian Young Achievers Awards.

Destinations and pathways: Include: gaining an automotive apprenticeship, securing employment as a Trades Assistant and returning to school.