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Apprentice Voice
Workplace Rights & Training

Apprentice Voice is an initiative by the Young Workers Centre Victoria. 

As an apprentice, it can be hard to know your workplace rights, what's normal at work and where to find information you can trust. Apprentice Voice campaigns for a fairer Victoria for all apprentices and runs workplace rights trainings in TAFEs for all first year apprentices.

When we know our workplace rights, we can address our workplace issues.

In 2022, 70% of YWC legal clients were apprentices. They reached out to us from a range of industries about often a hybrid of issues, including but not limited to, wage theft, bullying, harassment, and other Occupational Health and Safety issues. 

Apprenticeship completion rates are low, at around 53% in Victoria. Astudy by The National Centre for Vocational Education Research found that the way apprentices are treated in their employment is the core reason why apprentices are withdrawing from their apprenticeships, not the education they are receiving at TAFE.

Given apprentices disproportionate exposure to wage theft, bullying and unsafe workplaces in Victoria, knowing their workplace rights and where to get help are core life skills that young apprentices need to enter the workforce safely.

Apprentice Voice aims to create fairer and safer workplaces for all Victorian apprentices from the beginning of their apprenticeship to completion. Apprentice voice aims to educate all Victorian apprentices to know their rights at work and where to seek support if they need it.

We want to support apprentices to affect change in their workplaces, so that the workplaces themselves are more conducive to apprenticeship success, and so that apprentices are better aware of how to address issues that arise at any stage of their employment.    

Together we have the power to make every workplace better. 

The Young Workers Centre is a one-stop-shop for young workers, aged 30 and under in Victoria, who want to learn more about their rights at work or who need assistance in resolving workplace issues.

Our team of lawyers, organisers, educators, and researchers seek to empower young people working in Victoria with the knowledge and skills needed to end workplace exploitation and insecurity. 

We deliver workplace rights training to young Victorians as well as produce resources aimed at assisting young people to understand their rights at work and social events for young people who want to get involved in the fight for safe and secure jobs.

Since 2016 the YWC has delivered workplace rights training to over 50,000 students in Victoria, assisted 2400 young workers with workplace issues and recovered more than $2 million in compensation for young workers. 

The Centre is also an accredited community legal centre and provides personalised advice for young people who have come across issues at work such as unfair dismissal, bullying and harassment. 

We strongly believe that we can limit the risk to young people through education and the integration of comprehensive workplace rights education is key to equipping young workers to advocate for themselves at work and keep them safe early on in their working life.  

With their own experiences and perspectives each member of our team makes the Young Workers Centre as successful as it is in helping young workers. 
Whether it be support through a workplace issue or educating young people about their rights as they move into working life.

Acting Director: 

James Lea

James (he/him) began his union journey after reaching out to the Young Workers Centre for help while working in hospitality and is passionate about the role young people have in ending wage theft.

Since then he has participated in Union Summer 2018, volunteered with Hospo Voice and campaigned during the state and federal elections. James loves a good dinner party, plays Dungeons & Dragons every week and starts hobby projects faster than he can finish them.

Principal Solicitor: 

Kelly Thomas

Kelly uses her legal skills to work in service of working people and their unions. Dignity at work and dignity of work are important guides for Kelly’s approach to helping employees and ensuring that employers do the right thing. Prior to coming to YWC, Kelly worked for a national union and a national plaintiff law firm, as well as the Fair Work Commission.

She is proud of her advocacy for workers and highlights winning a huge compensation payment by the Supreme Court for a young victim of sexual assault. Working on the $100million class action for workers with an intellectual disability who were underpaid will always be an honour for her.

Outside of work, Kelly enjoys walking her dog, Harvey, having a laugh and is otherwise busy raising a future feminist.


Wallace Huang

Wallace (he/him) has always been a political nerd and passionate about workers' rights. It's no surprise that most of his working life has been dedicated to unionism and community organising. Prior to joining the Young Workers Centre, Wallace was an industrial organiser at the Migrant Workers Centre.

When Wallace is not spending quality time with his two cats, he can also be found around Melbourne chasing the best cheap eats and latest food trends.

Shannen Bethune 

Shannen is a junior lawyer passionate about worker’s rights. Prior to bopping over to YWC, she worked at the United Workers’ Union for over 5 years, primarily assisting Cleaners and Early Educators. Off the clock, she loves a cult doco, a drink with friends, and alternating between reading theorybro books and memoirs of the chaotic female genre. 

Alessandra Galletti 

Alessandra (she/her) had no idea what area of law she wanted to specialise in after completing her legal studies until she became involved in the union movement. She developed her passion for unionism and workers rights whilst working as an Industrial Advocate.  

She has the title of owning the most cats in the Young Workers Team (three) and spends her free time with friends and family watching, playing and talking about sport. 

Advocate Team Leaders:

Bree Booth

Bree (she/her) has been a union member all her working life, but really came to be involved in activism during her time at university through community organising and student politics.  She was an advocate at the Young Workers Centre in Semester 2 2021 and participated in Union Winter in 2022. She has since completed her law degree and is now pursuing a law masters.

Outside of YWC, Bree works as a research assistant and spends her spare time hanging out in her local coffee shop, catching up on reading.

Maddy Spooner 

Maddy (she/they) has been a union member for their whole working life, but became more of an activist during their time as an Advocate at the Young Workers Centre in Semester 2 of 2023. Maddy is currently completing their law degree and practical legal training, and spends their free time learning how to sew. 

Outreach Organisers: 

Madi Roof

Madi (she/her) has dedicated herself to the union movement since 2018 when she was 19, serving as a union delegate in the Market and Social Research Call Centre industry. Her primary focus is on inspiring young workers to join unions and actively participate as rank-and-file members within their workplaces. Madi possesses a passion for social justice and firmly believes in the power of working people to drive meaningful societal transformations.

Outside of her union work, Madi is pursuing a degree in Sociology and loves to spend her leisure time with her Greyhound, Polly.

Monique Vitiritti 

Monique (she/her) has worked with Youth for many years, primarily helping young people who have experienced disadvantage, marginalisation, and a range of barriers to employment. She came to be involved with the Union whilst being surrounded & inspired by people in her life who showed her the power of the Union movement.

She is passionate about helping young people have a positive, not only first experience, but career in employment and hopes to educate young workers on their rights & safety whilst in employment, as well as support workers to create positive experiences while in the workforce.

Outside of YWC she enjoys spending time with her puppy Toby, weekends at the snow and slow rainy days at home.’

Siane Grant-Hayes

Siane (she/her) has a background in education and is passionate about young people’s wellbeing. Far from just a morning journal and a walk (though she is partial to both those things), Siane sees wellbeing as a structural issue and is passionate about young people leading the changes that effect them.

Siane’s also had her fair share of dodgy bosses and is proud to be helping young people have positive experiences at work. Outside of the YWC Siane loves sitting in the sun, eating and swimming.

Katie Hanh-Vo

Katie (she/they) is experienced in youth-focused work, especially youth from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. A great part of Katie’s work and activism has been on assisting and empowering newly arrived youth and adults to connect with their community.

Outside of the YWC, Katie loves hanging out with their cat, Sushi and making their own clothes as a form of protest against the fast fashion industry.

Nina Mountford

Nina (she/they) has a background in theatre making and a strong commitment to unionism. Dedicated to worker’s rights, accessibility, and the arts, Nina joined the YWC excited to help young people reach safe, secure, and well-paying employment through education and support.

Outside of their union work, Nina can be found making and watching theatre, reading, lounging, and gesticulating wildly.

Olivia Baldwin

Olivia (she/her) has a background in political science and has been involved in social justice advocacy since high school. After spending her early years in the workforce in retail and hospitality she learnt the importance of standing up for yourself and organising in the workplace. Having also spent time at the Fair Work Ombudsman, Olivia also has insight into how complex understanding your rights can be but also how important it is to fight for them!

Outside of work you can find her at a concert, a gig, or just watching music videos on the couch with her friends.