With statistics indicating youth unemployment has risen sharply since the GFC and shows no sign of abating, attention is increasingly turning to initiatives which will address the skills, confidence and ability of young people entering the workforce.
Based on the Youth Unemployment in Australia report and the Mission Australia Youth Survey 2015, here are four of the major issues which need to be addressed to fix youth unemployment in Australia.
In the Centre for Independent Studies report, “Youth Unemployment in Australia”, Dr Patrick Carvalho argues better literacy and numeracy skills in school leavers would improve their employability. These skills provide the basis for jobs of all types and, once improved, are solid foundations for young employees to build on in the workforce.
With Australia’s job market rapidly changing due to automation and specialised information systems, he also advocates job training for specific skills and additional education.
This concept is supported by Mission Australia but their study goes further to suggest an expanded variety of vocational training options that extend beyond the traditional trades and reflect growth industries like aged care and child care.
Over the next few decades health and aged care will be stretched to the limit in Australia as the Baby Boomers move beyond the workforce and retirement, and into care, meanwhile child care requirements continue to grow as financial pressure requires both parents to remain in the workforce. These factors will see a huge demand for workers requiring specific skills and training.
Work Experience and Mentoring
A major factor in youth unemployment is lack of experience in the prospective employee. Mission Australia notes work experience during and post school is essential. While educational institutions are often the gateway to internships or work experience, new government initiatives such as the Transition to Work program will also feature work experience opportunities for young people aged 15 to 21.
Meanwhile mentoring programs are also noted as valuable, providing support pre-employment and assisting with staff retention during employment, while also raising the confidence and skill level of young workers.
Youth specific employment programs
A series of barriers were identified that impeded young people’s ability to enter the workforce. From lack of job availability and skills to housing requirements and financial concerns, Mission Australia argues specific programs should be targeted at addressing these barriers along with their job needs, with additional attention paid to disadvantaged regions.
Building confidence in young people in terms of providing them not only with job skills, but life skills such as problem solving and resilience will also assist in creating a can-do generation that overcomes its challenges.
What we do
The Father James Grant Foundation addresses a number of these issues, partnering with business to specifically train and skill disengaged youth. To be part of the solution and see how we work, click here.