12 August 2016

Secondary School’s role in encouraging youth employment

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National youth unemployment rates in Australia have stubbornly stayed above 2008 pre global financial crisis rates sitting at an increased 13.19 percent in June 2016.1

As the trends for Australia’s workforce continuously evolve and change, evaluation of how to best connect the current and emerging youth workforce with the changing skills and demands of the future workforce is key.

At a time of great change in the future of work, the most critical question is; how can we prepare our youth to transition effectively into the workforce?

Secondary Schools play a huge role in preparing students for the workforce. Principals, Teachers and, most importantly, Careers Advisers need to provide young students with the skills, advice and motivation to assist them in a positive transition into successful careers.

While the secondary school sector has established pathways programmes and advice strategies to prepare students for the workforce, there are still a number of burning questions on the impact and success schools have on youth transitions from education to employment.

What are the support systems for students at risk as well as for those struggling with workforce transitions?

Mentoring from a positive role model provides a nurturing pathway for teenagers to feel supported especially at times when they are at risk of disengaging and are unable to talk to other significant adults in their lives. Consider the power of mentorship in helping young people deal with ongoing challenges while staying engaged in education, work, and the community.

Focus on outcomes of for young people – reducing risks, enhancing self-esteem and resilience, setting goals, and enabling participation.

How can we engage our youth at schools on their strengths with effective career advice strategies?

The quality of school career advice strategies are critical in motivating, supporting and lifting aspirations in young students to transition to the workforce. Career Advisers need to look beyond preconceived notions of what students might want to achieve and see their strengths and aspirations to provide them with the most valuable advice.

“Aspirations are built by an individual having a positive attitude and belief in their own abilities, which is nurtured and developed by those around them. A young person who has strong aspirations is more likely to stay in education and employment after setbacks.”2

What are the government programmes and funding that can help expand the scope and scale of pathways programmes?

“The measures in the 2016-17 Budget build on the $330 million Youth Employment Strategy announced in the 2015-16 Budget, which introduced:
  • A $212 million Youth Transition to Work programme to assist young people who have disengaged from work and study and are at risk of long-term welfare dependence;
  • $106 million intensive support trials for vulnerable job seekers, including disadvantaged young people with mental health concerns and vulnerable young migrants; and
  • $14 million for an Early School Leaver policy to help improve education outcomes for early school leavers by ensuring they are working or studying.”3

The importance of supporting a youth transitions from education to employment is clear – it is vital for the growth of the Australian workforce.

For more insights from schools, community agencies, government, advocates and young leaders on challenges and drivers for the future of the Australian youth workforce, don’t miss Akolade’s upcoming 2nd Annual Future of Youth Employment Forum this 24th-25th August 2016 in Sydney.

After finishing University with a degree in Business Marketing, I decided to make a big jump across seas for the first time and move from the east coast of America to Sydney, Australia. I landed my first job in a sales position in the event industry and soon thereafter moved into a marketing assistant role – following I had the pleasure of interviewing with Akolade which got me to where I am today.

Akolade is a fun, innovative company that brings together people from different walks of life to implement change. As the Marketing Manager, I have the pleasure of wearing many hats which motivates me to succeed, reach people in an array of avenues, grow our events to their full potential, and raise our story. As for me, I am a kind dedicated woman who loves to work hard, exercise, cook, be social and have some fun.

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