Transition to Work Welcomed
21 September 2015 at 11:07 am
A new Federal Government plan to provide assistance to young disadvantaged jobseekers has been welcomed by employment advocates.
The new Transition to Work program was flagged in the 2015 Federal Budget but details were not available until this month.
Jobs Australia, the peak body for community sector organisations that provide assistance to disadvantaged job seekers, said the program would plug a gap in services that had existed since the end of 2014, when the previous Youth Connections program came to an end.
Youth Connections was a national program delivered pursuant to a COAG agreement, at a cost to the Commonwealth of around $60 million per year.
“There has been a significant gap in employment services for young people and early school leavers and we’re pleased the Federal Government has finally filled it,” CEO of Jobs Australia, David Thompson, said.
“We know that young people are vulnerable to long-term unemployment if they don’t make the right start early – yet in a tight labour market, it’s young people who so often miss out on the jobs.
“Employers are crying out for programs to help young people to be better prepared for work and this program is a step in the right direction.”
Thompson said the new program has been funded until the end of the 2018 calendar year, and also costs around $60 million per year. It will cover all employment service areas around the country and includes strong incentives for service providers to meet and exceed employment targets.
Jobs Australia has previously argued that mainstream employment programs are not ideally suited to younger job seekers, because people entering the workforce for the first time face a different set of challenges.
The national youth unemployment rate has been above 13 per cent since April 2013 and now sits at 13.5 per cent.
Thompson said the national youth unemployment figures tended to hide regional disparities.
He said in some parts of Australia, youth unemployment rates were as high as 30 per cent and there were 15 Australian Bureau of Statistics labour market regions with youth unemployment above 20 per cent.
“Australia, like many other countries, has a very big youth unemployment problem. This represents significant, positive step for the young people it will assist,” he said.
“I will be interested to have further conversations with Government about what else needs to be done to ensure a bright future for all young Australians. We owe them nothing less.”