Jobs & Employment Strategies a Good Start
13 May 2015 at 10:56 am
The Federal Budget’s new Youth Employment Strategy has been described by the Not for Profit sector as an encouraging move that begins to address the crisis of youth joblessness.
Welfare NFP, the Brotherhood of St Laurence said the the Budget had begun to take necessary steps to tackle the steep challenge youth unemployment posed.
New measures announced in the Federal Budget include:
The Growing Jobs and Small Business package to assist employers to employ young Australians. Through the $1.2 billion national wage subsidy pool, eligible employers will receive up to $6,500 if they hire an eligible young job seeker under 30 years of age.
A $331 million Youth Employment Strategy which includes a $212 million Transition to Work program to help disengaged young people, aged 15 to 21 years, become job-ready. This program will commence on 1 January 2016.
The Transition to Work program will be supplemented by $106 million for intensive support to vulnerable young people most at risk of long-term unemployment, including migrants, parents and those who experience a mental illness.
An $18 million National Work Experience program for around 6,000 job seekers annually, particularly young people.From 1 October 2015 eligible job seekers will be able to volunteer to undertake work experience in businesses for up to 25 hours per week for four weeks. Participants will continue to receive their income support payment and a supplement to assist with the costs of participation.
Employers who go on to offer a young person paid employment can receive a wage subsidy of up to $6,500 over 12 months..
A $14 million Early School Leaver program to improve educational outcomes and employment prospects for those who have not completed high school, by ensuring they are either looking for work or studying.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence said it had been pushing for policy action on youth unemployment, a problem which has only escalated since the Global Financial Crisis.
“Measures in the new Youth Employment Strategy, including provision for work experience while on income support and intensive interventions for highly disadvantaged young job seekers, appear to tick many of the boxes required,” Brotherhood of St Laurence Executive Director Tony Nicholson said.
"Funding of $212 million over four years for community organisations to deliver intensive support to young people aged 15 to 21 at risk of long term unemployment also correctly recognises the value of locally based solutions.
"As the Treasurer has acknowledged in his Budget speech, ‘the level of youth unemployment in Australia is too high'. But a real hurdle for these new steps is how they are implemented. We need to move away from top-down bureaucratic solutions and harness the local community effort and the goodwill of local employers.
"Based on our practical experience working with young jobless in youth unemployment hotspots we know that young people today need strong supports in a much tougher labour market to gain even entry level jobs,” he said.
Nicholson also welcomed the Government's move away from last year's radical approach to withdraw benefits from under 30s for six months at a time. But he warned new plans to impose a four week waiting period for income support on many under 25 jobseekers risks harsh unintended consequences for some, especially those who did not have family support.
Welfare peak body, ACOSS agreed the Government’s Youth Employment Strategy was a move in the right direction.
“Investment in school-to-work transition programs to help vulnerable unemployed young people shows the Government has listened to community concerns about the ending of the Youth Connections scheme,” ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said.
“Regrettably, instead of reversing last year’s proposal to make young unemployed people wait six months for income support, it is reduced to one month and applied to a younger cohort (under 25). There is no justification for this measure.
“We are also pleased to see more flexibility in Wage Subsidies for unemployed people. Together with the BCA and ACTU, we have advocated for the expansion of this program.”
Budget papers on Jobs and Employment are HERE