Collaboration Needed to Address Youth Unemployment
26 August 2014 at 11:40 am
Not for Profits have called for a major collaboration between community, business and Governments to address the alarming increase in youth unemployment.
The average Victorian youth unemployment rate for the year to July 2014 was 13.8 per cent, up from 12.3 per cent from the same period a year earlier. The figures place Victoria as the second worst Australian state for youth unemployment after Tasmania.
Victoria’s peak welfare organisation Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) says Victoria needs to bring together community, business and government to develop a comprehensive workforce participation plan and begin to reorient the economic development towards employment-intensive growth.
“If we do not, the long-term effects of growing unemployment on our community will be devastating,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said.
“Victoria’s youth unemployment rate has worsened sharply in the first half of 2014 and is now at its highest monthly average level in 15 years.
“A VCOSS analysis of ABS Labour Force figures shows that Victoria’s year-on-year monthly average unemployment rate for 15-24 year olds is running at 14.7 per cent – when examined from January to July 2014.
“This marks the highest average monthly youth unemployment rate since 1999 and has jumped by around five per cent in the last five years. So far in 2014 alone it is running more than two per cent higher than the 2013 monthly average of 12.5 per cent.
“Unless we take concerted action to assist young people into meaningful employment we risk losing a generation of younger Victorians to poverty, social exclusion and limited life opportunities.
“This year, parts of the state are recording average monthly youth unemployment rates of almost 20 per cent. These areas include Geelong, Warrnambool and the South West, Bendigo, Shepparton and the North Western suburbs of Melbourne. These are areas where there is already a concentration of social disadvantage.
“It is imperative that we develop a plan for workforce participation that incorporates community services, vocational education providers and potential employers, which connects people with skills and jobs alongside other support, and which builds on successes such as Work and Learning Centres and Youth Foyers.
“This plan needs to be complemented by young people having access to stable and appropriate housing, a genuine social safety net, and the adequate vocational education and skills training that give young people the best opportunity to compete for those jobs that are available.”
National welfare organisation, the Brotherhood of St Laurence also warned that Victoria is "hurtling towards a social disaster" over youth unemployment.
And BSL’s Executive Director Tony Nicholson says that very quickly youth unemployment will be a significant handbrake on the national economy.
"We are facing a situation where in a few years unemployment rates of more than 25 per cent won't be uncommon,” Nicholson told The Age newspaper.
"The economy has changed from a closed economy, that was a lot more manufacturing based, to a more service-based, knowledge-based and competitive economy.”