Department of Youth Justice

In 2019, Canvas3 was engaged by the Department of Youth Justice to focus on the attraction and recruitment of Indigenous workers in detention centres across Queensland.

These centres hold a disproportionate number of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, so the department recognised the need to increase representative detention workers in order to deliver better outcomes. Up until that point, there had been limited success in attracting the right candidates and the department was keen to take a fresh approach.

Canvas3 began by developing a profile of the most desired applicants, to inform campaign messaging and channel delivery. Our theme was based around changing the story for kids in youth detention by helping them reconnect with culture, find a place in community and follow a better path.

While filming interviews at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, we met Darryl, a proud Djirbalngan man from Far North Queensland who had built a close rapport with the kids in his care. As a Cultural Liaison Officer and Youth Worker, Darryl runs daily interactions around cultural knowledge and impact, as well as didgeridoo sessions designed to sew the seed of change and empower young Indigenous kids in custody. 

Darryl became the focus of our campaign, which was distributed through a range of bespoke Indigenous advertising channels that included both and print and digital platforms. We also created a kinetic text animation to complement Darryl’s video, specifically targeting social media feeds. This served as a more general message around kick-starting a meaningful career.

As well as attracting a large volume of talented candidates from multiple Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, the campaign won ministerial support and was celebrated by communities as being culturally safe and effective in increasing indigenous participation.