Government Youth Employment strategy welcomed by sector leader
The announcement today by the Government that it will provide over $330 million to implement a Youth Employment Strategy has been warmly welcomed by leading youth employment advocate SYC.
The strategy includes a new $212 million Youth Transition to Work program which will assist young people who have disengaged from work and study and are at risk of long-term welfare dependence.
“This announcement by the Government is very welcome as it recognises that without the right support many young people disengage from education before they are ready or even equipped to enter the workforce and, as a result, become destined to long term or chronic unemployment” said SYC Chief Executive Officer, Paul Edginton.
“Programs that keep these young people from falling through the cracks contribute a great deal to the long term productivity of these young people as they re-engage with education and ultimately become employable” he continued.
“There’s no doubt that work is the greatest alleviator of a lifetime of poverty. So, frankly, if a young person’s first experience of the world of work is unemployment, then we have failed. We have failed as a community and most critically we have failed that young person.”
SYC has championed the issue of improving youth employment outcomes with its My First Job initiative (www.myfirstjob.com.au) which included the release in October 2014 of a White Paper prepared by a working group of employer, service providers and peak bodies that stepped out a plan for enhancing employment for young people leaving education and joining the workforce.
“For many young Australians, the bridge to gain and sustain employment may not be big, yet the hole that they land in by experiencing unemployment is very deep and challenging to climb out of,” noted Mr Edginton.
“There’s no doubt that reducing a stubbornly high youth unemployment rate in Australia will lead to positive economic and social outcomes for our community and I commend anyone who wants to be a part of solving this issue,” Mr Edginton concluded.
The Youth Employment Strategy also includes $106 million for intensive support for key groups of vulnerable job seekers, including disadvantaged young people with mental health concerns and vulnerable young migrants, and $14 million for an Early School Leaver policy, which helps improve education outcomes for early school leavers.
“The entire strategy is music to our ears and we congratulate the Government on being responsive and proactive on this very important issue” Mr Edginton concluded.