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Barriers Between Young People and Employment

30 November 2015 at 10:08 am
Xavier Smerdon
The majority of Australian young people believe they will face barriers that will prevent from reaching their career goals after school, according to major survey.

Xavier Smerdon | 30 November 2015 at 10:08 am


Barriers Between Young People and Employment
30 November 2015 at 10:08 am

The majority of Australian young people believe they will face barriers that will prevent from reaching their career goals after school, according to major survey.

The 2015 Mission Australia Youth Survey, which collected responses from nearly 19,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 19, found that young people have become increasingly concerned about alcohol, drugs and discrimination.

Of the respondents, 52 per cent felt there would be barriers to them reaching their study or work goals, with a greater proportion of females (55.5 per cent) than males (47.5 per cent) reporting the presence of these barriers.

The top three issues young people saw impacting the achievement of their study or work goals after school were academic ability, financial difficulty and lack of jobs.

Just over one in 10 respondents indicated that they saw family responsibilities and physical or mental health as barriers.

Mission Australia CEO, Catherine Yeomans, said it was important to listen to young people’s fears and for policy makers to respond accordingly.

“The prominence of financial difficulty as a barrier to young people’s goals after school is concerning as we know young people adjust their aspirations in response to financial constraints early in their school life and which may limit their options for the future,” Yeomans said.

“The fact that they are continuing to report the economy and financial matters as a national concern shows that financial issues are weighing heavily on their minds as they consider their futures.

“In 21st Century Australia we have to ensure the policies and supports are in place so children do not self-limit their aspirations because of financial concerns.”

Yeomans said the knock-on effects of the Global Financial Crisis had been felt most keenly by young people, with youth unemployment more than double the general unemployment rate.

“Transition to work programs are essential to bridging this gap, these must include training opportunities to allow young people to gain the skills that match the needs of the local job market. Flexible pathways need to be available for young people who too often get stranded between the bureaucratic silos of governments,” she said.

“More nuanced place-based approaches should also be utilised to link young people to local industries and to provide a more coordinated approach that is responsive to local needs.”

Yeomans said the survey showed young people were continuing to report equity and discrimination as an issue of national concern. She said this issue was among the top three concerns for both sexes, however it topped the national concerns for young women.

“This may reflect debates we are having at a national level, particularly around domestic and family violence. At the same time, disappointingly young women were more likely than male respondents to identify academic ability as a barrier to achieving their post-school goals,” she said.

“While we shouldn’t oversimplify such responses, it does concern me that young women – who academically achieve on par, if not better than, males – appear to be lacking confidence in their skills.

“It highlights the increased need to tackle wider gender equality. Despite some progress, women are still woefully underrepresented in leadership roles across all sectors. Without strong female role models I fear young women will continue to lack the confidence to aim high and attain their goals.”

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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