22 April 2016

One in Five Australian Teenagers: Unemployed.

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Australia is facing one of it's biggest problems in generations, with a reported one in five Australian teenagers unable to find work.

Latest unemployment trend data shows the national youth unemployment rate (for 15–24-year-olds) was at 14.2% in January 2015, more than twice the overall national unemployment rate (6.3%).

Governments, employers, job service providers and educators are seeking better integration around policy and strategy to help young people manage the transition to work.

Under new funding initiatives, the Commonwealth has earmarked $330 million for its National Youth Employment Strategy. This high-profile initiative supports transition-to-work programs, better support for job service provider and funding at the grassroots.

Former federal Treasurer Joe Hockey conceded youth unemployment was 'way too high'; concern's echoed by industry bodies including: the Business Council of Australia, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the ACTU, Australian Council of Social Services and other advocacy groups. Collectively, they’re calling for nationally-consistent programs to tackle Australia's youth unemployment levels (one of the highest in the OECD).

In an uncertain job market for young people, job service providers are under pressure to better match job access with employer needs and workplace demands whilst ensure marketplace readiness for young people who are seeking job placements.

The goal: to match employers’ needs to tailored placement programs and help Australia's youth transition to work, while helping them plan and prepare their career paths. 

There are also calls for clearly-defined Youth Transitions Services to offer better career advice, vocational training and work experience to young people. This is especially needed across the ‘unemployment hotspots’ within disadvantaged  and regional areas, including; Outback Queensland where youth unemployment reached 28% at the beginning of 2016, making it the worst in the country, and the New South Wales Hunter Valley at 23% and just over 20% in Wide Bay and Cairns.



 Youth unemployment hotspots – Source: ABC News

In an exclusive interview with Chrissie Berryman, General Manager of Skills Tasmania, we asked her what are the important factors that training and workforce development professionals should consider when it comes to getting youth into employment and what are the greatest challenges for policy makers and service providers.

“A training provider who is trying to help young people into work needs to understand their individual barriers. Then work from an approach that all barriers are challenges that can be overcome. We also need to work with local markets- in the schools and communities of these young people. We need to understand what work looks like from young people’s perspective. We need to adopt a shared responsibility approach to this - a holistic system approach.”

“Our challenge as policy makers and service providers is to realise that we can’t do this alone. It must be a collective effort. To support our young people we need assistance from the sports coach, the big brother, the man down at the pub and employers. We also need to help employers remember what it was like to be young looking for employment. It’s vitally important to know who your target market is- it’s not just young people but the people in their lives.” 

Being brought up in a typical Chinese family in Australia, Vivian takes pride as an ABC (Australia-born Chinese) where she happily embraces both the Chinese and Australian cultures. 

In high school, Vivian wanted to become a fashion designer, however she has developed a passion for running events after working backstage for multiple live shows. Prior to starting at Akolade, Vivian worked 4 years in the wine industry and she misses the wine tasting sessions and openly drinking on the job. As the Marketing Coordinator, Vivian enjoys using her creativity to design unique and fun campaigns for each event. In her spare time, Vivian loves to spend time with her two adorable cat and dog. 

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