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Pathways to Employment

22 November 2018 at 8:00 am
Optus is encouraging not for profits to get involved with its Pathways to Employment program, which seeks to address youth unemployment in Australia.

Contributor | 22 November 2018 at 8:00 am


Pathways to Employment
22 November 2018 at 8:00 am

Optus is encouraging not for profits to get involved with its Pathways to Employment program, which seeks to address youth unemployment in Australia.  

At Optus, they create sustainable and long-term growth for its business, while leading and shaping positive change across the four pillars of its sustainability strategy: The Most Connected Communities, The Smallest Footprint, Our Greatest Asset and The Best Experience.

As part of its Most Connected Communities strategy, the Pathways to Employment program provides disadvantaged and vulnerable high school students with retail knowledge, employability skills in job interviews and the confidence to find and keep a job.

The main objective for the program is to prepare students for future job opportunities both within Optus and the broader retail sector. The program seeks to address youth unemployment, and in doing so, aligns with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal eight, “Decent Work and Economic Growth”.

The youth unemployment rate is the number of unemployed people between the age of 15 – 24 and is expressed as a percentage of the youth labour force. Unemployed people are those who report that they are without work, that they are available for work and that they have taken active steps to find work in the last four weeks. Youth unemployment in Australia during 2017 was on average 12.4 per cent of the youth population, according to OECD (2018).

Combating youth unemployment is a complicated task. It’s a global phenomenon that has become more severe since the crisis broke out in 2008. Young people have been one of the social groups most seriously affected during this past decade, and on many occasions, will have adjusted and compromised their personal and professional ambitions. One of the solutions to youth unemployment is a strong alliance of the public-private sector and civil society. Pathways to Employment is one example of such an alliance, and how partnerships can support the future of work for young people.

Pathways to Employment participants are determined and selected by participating not-for-profit partners of Optus, including core partner Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN), plus The Smith Family and Kids Helpline.

The NFP organisation involved will already be skilling and supporting the participants in many ways, and Pathways to Employment provides another way to ensure the participant obtains the skills and experience needed to transition from school to work. The NFP organisation may recommend participants with an interest in retail to participate in the program, or those simply wanting to strengthen their employability skills.

Pathways to Employment provides all participants with the opportunity to apply for casual employment at an Optus retail store, of which there are 381 as at 31 March 2018. Since 2016, 362 students have participated in the program nationally, and 18 people have gone on to obtain employment at an Optus store. Once the 2018 program concludes in December 2018, 38 people are expected to have commenced employment with Optus.

If your NFP organisation would like to find out more on how to potentially get involved in the program in 2019, please email Optus at

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