Budget Not Preparing Young Australians for Work
12 May 2017 at 5:21 pm
The federal budget contained “glaring omissions” for building young Australians’ capabilities to thrive in an increasingly complex world of work, according to the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA).
FYA, the only national independent not-for-profit organisation dedicated to all young people in Australia, said they welcomed the latest investment in needs-based education funding through Gonski 2.0 and the support for young parents in the workforce through the expansion of the ParentsNext initiative.
But they said overall the budget had “missed an opportunity” to invest in Australia’s economic future.
“If young people are to take-up the challenge of growing an economy with an ageing population, and navigating a changing world that is more complex, global and flexible, they will need to be innovative, creative and enterprising,” FYA CEO Jan Owen said.
“The budget failed to acknowledge that our current education model is not preparing young Australians for work.”
Owen said changes to the HECs-debt recovery system as well as increased university fees would also place undue economic pressure on young Australians, and reduce their likelihood of ever owning a home.
“Over the past 30 years young Australians have seen only marginal increases in their pay packets compared to their older counterparts,” she said.
“Further, a three-year bachelor degree also now costs 2.5 times more than it did in 1991 and changes to HECS-debt recovery is likely to exacerbate rising debt for young Australians.
“These issues once again remind us that today’s young Australians are set to be the first generation to be worse off than their parents.”
FYA has called for a “renewed, comprehensive and intergenerational investment” in Australia’s young people which would encompass:
- a “nation-building” focused education strategy to redesign the learning system from pre-school through higher education (and beyond)
- a new skills, training, careers education and real jobs commitment to young Australians
- a promise and plan for the equitable intergenerational transfer of knowledge, resources and power in the new economy.
Owen said young people needed to become job creators.
“As FYA’s research highlights while young people are now staying in education longer, it is taking them an average of 4.7 years after finishing to find a full-time job,” she said.
“With up to 31.5 per cent of young people aged 15 to 24 unemployed or underemployed we need to be investing in a national enterprise skills and careers management strategy to better prepare young people for the changing world of work.
“We also need to prepare young people to be more entrepreneurial and innovative so that they can be job creators, not just job seekers.”