Dapto's Zoe Cromie is a hard worker and educated but needs employers to realise that as an 18 year old she can't have 30 years' experience.
Ms Cromie completed a law firm traineeship and certificate three in business administration at TAFE after high school.
She soon realised that she wanted to work in the community services sector and completed a certificate four.
"I started applying for jobs online straight away," Ms Cromie said.
"I soon realised that when you apply for jobs you are going up against hundreds of other people and I didn't have any work experience.
"I know I can do a job, and do it well, if given the opportunity. A lot of managers want young people to have work experience which we don't have if we have just left high school or TAFE.
"I then started with Konekt Employment."
But when a new job program started in April, Ms Cromie jumped at the opportunity to work with a mentor at not-for-profit SYC Limited.
On Thursday, Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee helped officially launch a $10 million social impact investment project to tackle youth unemployment in the Illawarra.
The state government has teamed up with SYC and Social Ventures Australia to help 18 to 24 year olds secure jobs.
The project, Sticking Together, is the first time a social impact investment model has been used to fund a 60-week youth employment program.
There will be 868 participants over four years with 75 from the Illawarra each session.
"Ten million dollars [will be spent finding out] how we can get youth into employment and how we provide mentoring for young people so they get meaningful jobs, financial security and make aspirational change in their lives," Mr Lee said.
"Whilst youth unemployment is at record lows in decades, it is still far too high."
The government has allocated the $10 million but 33 investors have given $5 million to kick start the program.
Once the government sees the program's results they will invest the money and investors will be repaid.
Ms Cromie's coach, Candice Wall, said the program was different to other employment projects because it took a holistic approach to finding out which job the participant wanted and helped them get job ready.
She took the time to build rapport with participants by finding out about their hobbies, home life and school experience in order to motivate them to get a job.
Coaches also provide workplace and life guidance as well as support for the participant and employer once employment is secured.
She said the program was about setting goals, teaching communication skills and resume writing and interview techniques.
Ms Cromie has completed job trials and interviews in the employment sector and highly recommends the program.
"I would recommend the program. I can't stress enough how supportive it is," she said.