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Youth Take Over interns launch new Castlemaine Gift website

On Tuesday 4 April, nine interns from Youth Take Over Loddon Campaspe hosted an event at Castlemaine Contemporary Art Space (CASPA) to launch the creative outcome of their Youth Take Over project – a new website for local athletics event, Castlemaine Gift. The Castlemaine Gift has been running for over 100 years and is an important event on the town calendar but has never had its own website – the challenge of creating one was handed over to nine interns, aged between 15 and 23, who brought a youth lens to the project.

Youth Take Over offers group-based work experience for young people living in the Loddon Campaspe region. Local businesses approach Youth Take Over with an industry or community challenge that is then given to a team of interns to solve with guidance from industry experts. These programs are important for young people as many have not had the chance to work in a dynamic group setting since the pandemic.

The goal of a Take Over is to help young people become work-ready and find employment opportunities with a new project to showcase their skills.

“We know, from youth-led research, that young people in our region are not getting the local labour market information, work experience, or industry contacts they need to smoothly transition from school to the world of work,” says Ryan Hale, Project Director at Youth Take Over.

“Youth Take Over aims to fill this gap, through facilitated, team-based work experience opportunities - or 'Take Overs' - that connect young people to jobs in our local industries and build their work-readiness skills. Since it started in 2021, we've had over 50 young people come through our program, with several going on to find employment in the region.”

Nine young people, aged 15-23, put their hand up to join the Become a Digital Campaigner Take Over team, and take up the challenge of creating a new online presence for the Castlemaine Gift. The team comprised a mix of budding graphic designers, historians, artists, audio and visual producers, and SEO wizards, who all contributed their skills to the final product.

Mentored by Rob Jennings and Bradley Dawson from Castlemaine-based digital agency, We Push Buttons, the team of young people gained key insights into what it’s like to work in the digital media and design industries and how their individual skillsets and interests could be applied to the wealth of jobs available in the field.

At the start of their Take Over, the team met with their client, Darryl Nettleton from Castlemaine Gift, who briefed them about the event and his vision for the website and they set about bringing this to life. Darryl met with the group throughout the design process to offer feedback on their progress. Speaking at the launch, Darryl told the team “You’re all talented in your own ways…and you’ve done an excellent job and I think you should feel very, very proud.”

As well as developing the website itself, the team also designed a new logo for the event, 2024 event poster, social media content and video material that will sit on a newly created Castlemaine Gift YouTube page. One team member, Lilly McCarthy, an archaeology student, delved into the Gift’s rich history archives and composed several stories that feature on the website, alongside illustrations by another team member, Rowany Mills.

“[Youth Take Over] is a way for young people and people who might not necessarily have the confidence to go and get themselves out there or are just out of school and don’t know what to do… to find a project and find a community and a space, and get industry experience that you wouldn’t be able to get any other way. It’s a pathway,” explains Rowany.

Another intern, Storm, who worked on the graphic design elements of the project, said “[Youth Take Over] is a very big stepping stone to getting [work] experience…It’s a good way to focus your skills but it’s also a really good way of branching out and learning other things too.”

Explore the newly launched Castlemaine Gift website at

Youth Take Over is an initiative of North Central LLEN in partnership with the Loddon Campaspe LLENs and sponsored by the Agnico Eagle Community Partnership Program. Take Overs are happening all over the Loddon Campaspe Region. You can find out more at

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