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Youth Unemployment Rising

2 March 2015 at 11:42 am
Xavier Smerdon
One in five unemployed Australians is a teenager, according to a new report released today by national welfare agency, the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Xavier Smerdon | 2 March 2015 at 11:42 am


Youth Unemployment Rising
2 March 2015 at 11:42 am

One in five unemployed Australians is a teenager, according to a new report released today by national welfare agency, the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

The Teenage Dream Unravels: trends in youth unemployment report found that more than 290,000 Australians aged 15 to 24 were unemployed in January.

Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) CEO Tony Nicholson said the unemployment rate for 15 to 19-year-olds had hit 20 per cent, a level not seen since the mid-1990s.

"Teenagers are in the eye of this social and economic storm, and with the official national youth unemployment for 15 to 24 year olds reaching over 14 per cent, we need a national strategy to tackle the crisis hurting communities across the country,’’ Nicholson said.

“Youth unemployment is a key intergenerational issue. We need to tap into the productive potential of young people to secure future economic prosperity. Whether as policymakers, parents or concerned community members we also have obligations to the emerging generation to better build their capacity to secure work so they can build a good life for themselves.”

The report also found that:

•              Nearly 160,000 Australians aged 15 to 19 were unemployed in January, out of an overall pool of 780,000.

•              The proportion of unemployed Australians with less than Year 12 has fallen, while the proportion with some tertiary education has risen. People with less than Year 12 made up more than 44 per cent of the unemployed in every year from 2005 to 2010, then dropped sharply to 32 per cent in 2011 and 36 per cent in 2012. The proportion of unemployed with some tertiary education rose over the same period.

•              Unemployment is still rising more than six years on from the GFC.

The BSL also interviewed Motoring Enthusiasts Party Senator, Ricky Muir, about his experience as an unemployed teenager in which he described some of the formative years of his life as “soul-destroying”.

Senator Muir revealed he left school at 15 in the mid-1990s. Without financial support from his parents, he applied for many entry-level jobs, including abattoir work, near where he lived in Gippsland in Victoria.  

"I couldn’t catch a break for a long time. It was soul-destroying," Muir said.

The BSL said effective solutions must include implementing a national Youth Transitions Service – providing early career advice, targeted vocational training and, importantly, work experience – in youth unemployment hotspots across the country.

The full report can be found here.

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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