16 November 2015

Empowering YOUth Initiatives: Federal Government announces $50 million funding

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Australian Federal Employment Minister, Senator. The Hon Michaelia Cash announced on Friday, 13 November 2015 the funding of the $50 million Empowering YOUth Initiatives, designed to seek fresh and innovative ideas to help vulnerable young Australians find, and importantly keep, a job.

The grant guidelines invite organisations to apply for funding to deliver initiatives that help young people at risk of welfare dependency to break the cycle of entrenched disadvantage by helping them into the workforce.

“The Coalition recognises that the best form of welfare government can provide is to help people find and keep a job,” Minister Cash said. “However some young people face greater barriers to finding and holding onto a job than others and therefore have a higher risk of long-term unemployment and a life of welfare dependency.”

The first round of funding for the initiative focuses on young people who are living in regional areas, with high levels of social disadvantage, early school leavers, Indigenous, or from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.

Statics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), show youth unemployment is at its highest level since 1998, with 14.2% of 15 – 24 year olds looking for work, and one in five 15-19 year olds currently unemployed.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald in February 2015, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Officer Kate Carnell addressed the dire outcomes of the epidemic of youth unemployment in Australia.

We think there’s a very real chance that unless the youth unemployment issue is addressed – and it will need to be addresed quite aggressively –  we will end up with a generation of young people on the fringes of the economy.”

As part of the $331 million Youth Employment Strategy announced in the 2015-16 Federal Budget, the Empowering YOUth Initiative provides forward momentum on addressing the risks of long-term welfare dependency on Australia’s youth.

The Empowering YOUth Initiative follows the release of guidelines in October 2015 for the new Transition to Work service, a further Government initiative to tackle youth unemployment.

“We really want to encourage not-for-profit community organisations to think outside the square and run innovative initiatives to engage with those who are most at risk of being consigned to a lifetime of welfare dependency,” Minister Cash said.  “This could be an innovative way to prevent unemployment, remove barriers to employment, or just as importantly, sustain employment.”

The first round of initiatives will commence from March 2016 with the Government stating the learnings from these initiatives will be used to shape future service delivery to achieve better employment outcomes for Australia’s at risk youth.

To read the Minister’s press release and to find out more information on the eligibility details, please click here.

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

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