Report Highlights Youth Sector Issues
20 October 2010 at 10:40 am
A survey of people working in youth sector organisations in Australia has found the continuing themes of lack of funding and organisational stability as their top issues.
The national peak body for the youth sector, the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) has released its Strategic Directions report that summarises the findings from a national consultation of young people and youth sector representatives on a range of youth affairs issues.
Survey respondents were asked to rate in order of importance a number of issues for young people in Australia today, as well as the needs of the youth sector that supports them.
When asked to identify the number one issue facing young people in Australia today, the top five responses were mental health; education and training; drug and alcohol consumption; participation of young people in the community; and employment.
Regarding the needs of the youth support sector, the top issues identified included access to ongoing funding; organisational sustainability; partnership building; consultation; and communication with government.
Andrew Cummings, AYAC’s Executive Director says the report provides AYAC, and the youth support sector generally, with a wealth of information to help the peak body plan and prioritise its activities for the future.
Respondents to the survey described their organisations as one of the following: a peak body, local government, accommodation service, advocacy service, health service, or education sector.
Overall 86.7% of organisations provide services to, advocate for, or support Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders young people and 87.5% of organisations provide services to, advocate for, or support Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Young People (CALD). Small numbers of respondents further defined their organisations as providing specific services in the following areas – Disability, CALD Young People, Juvenile Justice, Aboriginal, Sexuality, Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol, Youth Policy.
When the respondents were asked to rate 13 youth sector issues on a scale from 1–10 (1 being not important at all, and 10 being very important), 12 of the issues were rated at 7 or above.
The top 5 issues rated above 8 from the highest rating down are:
- Access to ongoing funding
- Organisational sustainability
- Ability to form and sustain partnerships with other organisations
- Having the opportunity to contribute to / be consulted about policy
- Communication with Government.
The report recommends that AYAC, in its leadership and advocacy role, focuses on:
- More funding of youth services and programs
- Professionalism of youth work
- Young people and youth sector needs being central to public policy
- Consultation with young people and the youth sector, and
- Building awareness of young people and youth sector issues within the broader community.
The report is available now on AYAC’s website at www.ayac.org.au