‘Death of Hope’ for Young Disadvantaged Jobless - NFP report
6 May 2014 at 10:00 am
Young people in families with no parent in employment are less satisfied in school, less likely to be working part-time or planning to go to university and are more concerned about family conflict, according to a new report released by Mission Australia.
The Not for Profit says the National Jobless Families Report also shows the ‘death of hope’ in these families with around 50 per cent of this group of young people reporting a lack of confidence in their ability to get a job in their community.
Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans said the findings provide a disturbing insight into the widespread impact of unemployment on families, beyond simply the expected financial stress caused by the absence of a regular wage.
“It also has profound implications for policy makers who face the challenge of reducing youth unemployment and supporting families in stress.
“Youth unemployment is now double the national average but what this report demonstrates is that for those who come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, their chances of getting a break are even worse,” Yeomans said.
The report looked at the views and experiences of young people aged 15-19 whose parents or carers were not engaged in work, compared with those who had at least one parent working.
The report found, youth in jobless families were:
- twice as likely to report feeling either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their studies;
- half as likely to be undertaking part-time or casual work;
- 15 per cent less likely to plan to go to university, and
- at least 10 per cent more likely to report family conflict as a major concern.
Young people from jobless families were also found to be twice as likely to rate their family relationships as poor, and nearly one in ten intended to drop out of school before completing year 12.
Yeomans said urgent action was needed to make funding for programs supporting jobless youth and their families a budget priority, to ensure they don't get left behind.
“When young people grow up in an environment of unemployment it impacts on their own ability to engage in education and work, increasing their chances of ending up long-term unemployed themselves. These young people are putting fences around their dreams before they even finish school, preventing them from living up to their full potential,” she said.
“We need to respond to this issue with intensive support programs, connecting schools, families and employment so these young people don’t fall through the cracks in the system.
“Government and industry must join forces with community organisations like ours to ensure these young people don’t get left behind.”
Yeomans said the solution is not as simple as just creating more jobs.
“The current lack of jobs vacancies is a major barrier to employment for our youth – they are the least experienced and therefore the least likely to be employed in a tough jobs market. However, we can’t be fooled into thinking it’s as simple as creating more jobs in the market,” she said.
“Many of our youth – especially those from jobless families – have multiple barriers to overcome before they can enter the workforce. When you consider the complexity of their lives on the home front, it’s easy to see an intensive program response is required to ensure these youth get the right support and don’t get stuck in the same situation as their parents.
“To break the cycle, we need coordination and investment from all levels of government, to ensure our most vulnerable young people make the transition from education to employment.
“We know that by intervening early to help young people stay in school, engage in training or find work, we can set them up for a better future and so they can participate fully in the workforce rather than languishing on benefits. And if we can reach out to the whole family, we can address the underlying factors that first created the problem.”
To view Mission Australia’s National Jobless Families Report, go to: www.missionaustralia.com.au