Toggle navigation

Transition & Work


New strategy to help graduates become more work-ready


Key Australian industry groups have joined with Universities Australia to develop a national strategy that will enable Australian students to have better access to work-related training that ties in with the courses they are studying.

The new strategy, called Work Integrated Learning (WIL), will see an increase in initiatives such as work placements, internships, shadowing programs and practical projects. These are already an integral part of some degrees, like medicine and teaching, but Universities Australia says there is a pressing need to develop an overarching national strategy that will expand these types of activities to other degrees in order to ‘improve graduate job prospects and meet the skills needs of employers’.

The industry groups supporting this initiative are the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Collaborative Education Network.

The National WIL Strategy proposes action in eight key areas:

1. Provide national leadership to expand Work Integrated Learning (WIL).
2. Clarify government policy and regulatory settings to enable and support growth in WIL.
3. Build support – among students, universities, employers across all sectors and governments – to increase participation in WIL.
4. Ensure the investment in WIL is well-targeted and enables sustainable, high-quality experiences, stakeholder participation and growth.
5. Develop university resources, processes and systems to grow WIL and engage business and community partners.
6. Build capacity for more employers to participate in WIL.
7. Address equity and access issues to enable students to participate in WIL.
8. Increase WIL opportunities for international students and for domestic students to study offshore.

Find out more at the Universities Australia website:  This page has a link to a more detailed explanation of WIL and the eight key areas of action that are planned.

(Source: media release from Universities Australia, 11 March 2023.)

ADF Gap Year places to be extended


The Australian Defence Force (ADF) Gap Year program allows young people to train in one of the defence forces for a year after leaving school or college, giving them a taste of life in the forces; the program is about to be extended for 2023.

In the 2023 program up to 445 places will be available for young people, up from 260 in 2023. Of those, around 250 places will be in the Army, 120 in the Air Force, and up to 75 will be in the Navy. Gap Year places are being made available in the Navy for the first time in 2023. The popularity of the program is proven, with around 4,000 young people applying for places in the 2023 intake. Unfortunately, the 2023 intake has now closed. Check out the website below in coming months for information on the 2017 intake. 

To find out more, go to:

(Source: Australian Government media release, 22 February 2023.)

Just why do boys’ and girls’ attitudes to learning differ so much?


An OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report into gender differences in learning outcomes has found that students’ attitudes towards their learning and their behaviour while at school are the principal reasons why some students do better than others.

The ABC of gender equality in education: Aptitude, behaviour, confidence report includes data from 64 countries and economies. These are the 34 OECD countries and 30 partner countries and economies. Emphasis is placed on what the authors call ‘new gender gaps in education’, which include the fact that young men are ‘significantly more likely’ than young women to be ‘less engaged with school and have low skills and poor academic achievement’. However, young women are under-represented in the areas of mathematics, physical science and computing in higher education and beyond.

The report’s chapter headings provide a neat synopsis of the lengthy report’s contents: ‘Emerging gender gaps in education’ covers the above topic in detail; ‘Tackling under-performance among boys’ examines what out-of-school activities boys undertake and how this affects their attitudes; ‘Girls’ lack of self-confidence’ looks at the reasons why girls are often anxious about maths and science subjects; ‘Expectations and reality for school-leavers’ is a lengthy section on gender expectations in careers; ‘How family, school and society affect boys’ and girls’ performance at school’ looks at the role played by parents in their children’s schooling; and, finally, ‘Policies and practices to help boys and girls fulfil their potential’ posits ways in which gender gaps can be closed.

The report suggests that parents have an important role to play in encouraging equal participation in all subjects for their male and female offspring. And teachers should become aware of their own gender biases, which may affect the way they mark the work of some students. Opinion leaders also have a role to play in closing the gender gap.

To access the report (182 pages), go to:

(Source: ARACY eBulletin, 6 March 2023.)

Bright sparks from China and Australia will work together in global think tanks


Young innovators aged 18 to 35 from China and Australia will meet in June to take part in think tank activities with the aim of finding 'creative solutions to universal problems'.

The China Australia Millennial Project (CAMP), in partnership with Westpac, will be supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the NSW Government in bringing together 200 of the brightest young leaders and thinkers from China and Australia. These young people will take part in Digital Disruption and Global Talent think tanks, and will have the opportunity to gain financial support for their ideas by pitching them to Westpac and to venture capitalists.

CAMP founder Andrea Myles said: ‘As well as great cross-cultural skills and connections and the chance to get financial support for their ideas, participants will gain practical skills by developing and implementing an idea from concept through to reality’. Networking opportunities are seen as an important part of the experience.

The 12-week program will help to grow business relations between the two countries with a view to expanding the ways in which young entrepreneurs and business people work together. For more, go to:

(Source: media release from China Australia Millennial Project/Westpac, 23 February 2023.)

BSL report highlights worsening youth unemployment figures



One in five unemployed Australians is a teenager, according to a report released by the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) in March.

The report The teenage dream unravels: Trends in youth unemployment examines the latest unemployment trend data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which indicates that the national youth unemployment rate (for 15–24-year-olds) was at 14.2% in January. This is more than twice the overall national unemployment rate (6.3%).

The BSL report highlights the ‘long-lasting and insidious’ effect of the Global Financial Crisis on the Australian labour market. In contrast to the recession of the early 1990s, when unemployment rates began to recover within two years, unemployment is continuing to rise in Australia today, more than six years after the GFC. In addition, the report shows that young people aged 15–19 have a lower probability of finding a job than the general population, as well as a higher likelihood of exiting a job.

An analysis of Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey data contained in the report shows an interesting development: while the proportion of unemployed people with less than a Year 12 qualification declined between 2010 and 2012, the proportion of unemployed people with tertiary education has increased since 2010.

According to the report: ‘These results provide some preliminary evidence to counter the hypothesis proposed by some economists that job-finding probability has been declining because of the changed characteristics of the pool of unemployed (the composition effect). This suggests that the explanation for the decline in Australia’s job-finding rate is far more complicated than just deterioration in the profile of the unemployed.’

These figures have prompted BSL to call for a national Youth Transitions Service to provide career advice, vocational training and work experience to young people in ‘unemployment hotspots’ around Australia.

BSL runs a pilot Youth Transitions Service in areas of high unemployment in outer Melbourne. This structured program ‘is embedded in local communities and harnesses the efforts of local businesses and service and sporting clubs’, and ‘offers an intense focus on building up the young person as a worker’ while providing support to employers who take on young people. The Youth Transitions Service has enabled 70% of its unemployed participants to successfully move into work, training or education. This fact sheet explains more about the program.

Commenting on the BSL report, CEO Tony Nicholson said, ‘Teenagers are in the eye of this social and economic storm, and with the official national youth unemployment for 15 to 24 year olds reaching over 14 per cent, we need a national strategy to tackle the crisis hurting communities across the country.’

‘Youth unemployment is a key intergenerational issue. We need to tap into the productive potential of young people to secure future economic prosperity. Whether as policymakers, parents or concerned community members we also have obligations to the emerging generation to better build their capacity to secure work so they can build a good life for themselves.’

To download the seven-page report The teenage dream unravels: Trends in youth unemployment, find out more about BSL’s pilot Youth Transitions Service program, and read Senator Ricky Muir’s words on his ‘soul destroying’ experiences of youth unemployment, click here read BSL’s March 2023 Youth unemployment monitor.

Click here to listen to a report from ABC Radio’s PM program on the BSL report.

Source:Brotherhood of St Laurence media release, 2 March 2023.

Applications now open for Spark Engineering Camps


High school students in grades 10–12 are invited to apply to attend this year’s Spark Engineering Camps, to be held in Melbourne and Brisbane in June–July.

Spark Engineering Camps are an initiative of the organisation Youth Without Borders. The camps provide high school students from ‘non-traditional backgrounds’ (e.g. those from minority groups, experiencing difficulties in mainstream schooling, or from communities with low participation in tertiary education) with an experience of university life and an introduction to the opportunities available through a career in engineering.

Participants in the camps will spend a week participating in lectures, hands-on activities and social events under the guidance of trained mentors who are university students or have completed degrees in engineering-related fields.

Applications to attend a 2023 Spark Engineering Camp close on Friday 29 May. For more information, visit:

(Source: email from Youth Without Borders, 5 March 2023.)

Business and community organisations can apply now for Industry Skills Fund financial assistance



The Australian Government’s Industry Skills Fund – Youth Stream now has two youth employment pilot programs up and running, and both are now inviting eligible organisations in eligible areas to apply for funding.

Training for Employment Scholarships and Youth Engagement Pathways aim to address youth unemployment by supporting businesses to employ more young people, and supporting community organisations to help young people return to school, start vocational training or move into work. Both programs are available only in specific regional areas of Australia and areas of high youth unemployment.

Training for Employment Scholarships supports training that meets the needs of businesses and assists young people who are ready for employment, but require further training. Businesses with less than 200 employees that hire an unemployed person aged 18 to 24 years after 1 March 2023 may be eligible for funding of up to $7,500 for the cost of up to 26 weeks of job-specific training.

Youth Employment Pathways supports community organisations to assist disengaged young people, aged 15 to 18, to get back into school, start vocational training, or move into work. Community service organisations may be eligible for financial support to purchase or provide services to meet individuals’ needs such as intensive case management, job search, mentoring and other services relevant to young people.

Both programs – Training for Employment Scholarships and Youth Employment Pathways – are available until 29 February 2023 in selected regional areas and areas of high youth unemployment.

For more and to apply for funding, visit the website.

Source:CommunityNet e-news, 11 March 2023.

Government review of welfare system under scrutiny



In late February the Australian Government released A new system for better employment and social outcomes, a report into a review of Australia’s welfare system that advocates a simplified approach to welfare payments but support for those who are trying to get into the workforce.

The review is built around the idea that the welfare system should undergo four ‘pillars’ of reform. These are:

•    Simpler and sustainable income support system
•    Strengthening individual and family capability
•    Engaging with employers
•    Building community capacity.

Although parts of this review (generally referred to as the ‘McClure Review’ after the principal author, Patrick McClure AO), have been welcomed by the social services sector, the country’s youth peak bodies have been quick to point out what they see as inadequacies in the review as regards young people.

The review recommends for young people a new ‘age of independence’ as being 22 because young people are living at home for longer. Under the new model proposed in the review young people under 22 would have any Youth Allowance-type payments paid straight to their parents unless they could be deemed to be fully independent. The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) has commented that this ‘runs contrary to the government’s own rhetoric that young people should take responsibility for themselves’. The assessment process for young people to be deemed fully independent is not clearly outlined in the report.

In addition, AYAC and the country’s youth peak bodies broaden the argument about young people remaining at home living with their parents into a wider discussion about the reasons why they are doing this, and say that it is because they ‘can’t access the housing market or can’t find enough secure employment’. Leo Fieldgrass, AYAC’s national director, said that the severe shortage of affordable housing for younger people needed to be addressed, and that young people ‘are trapped into depending on their families because there aren’t enough jobs for them to earn in their own right’.

On page 22 of the executive summary under the Pillar Two (‘Strengthening individual and family capability’) recommendations, the report says ‘Ensure young people remain engaged in education or training until they are able to transition into sustainable employment’. Katie Acheson of Youth Action NSW has commented that putting young people through training programs for the sake of it without any tangible job prospects at the end of them is not a ‘sustainable long-term employment strategy’. 

The youth peaks have jointly called on the government to ‘design a comprehensive youth jobs plan’, but note that there is no formal mechanism for the government to engage with youth since the defunding of AYAC and the Australian Youth Forum. 

Download the full McClure review or a 36-page executive summary. This page also contains some useful background on the review.

Read AYAC comment on the McClure Review.

Read an ABC report about the review.

Source:ARACY eBulletin, 27 February 2023.

Federal funding announced for National School for Travelling Show Children



The Federal Government has announced extra funding of $200,000 over two years to provide mobile classes for students of the National School for Travelling Show Children (NSTSC).

The funding, which is additional to existing funding provided by federal and state governments, will support children from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria whose parents are performers in travelling shows, to access face-to-face classes.

To read the media release visit The Department of Education and Training Media Centre website.

Source:Christopher Pyne media release, 26 February 2023.

New resources to help young people transition into their first job



A new set of online resources for young people setting out into the world of work for the first time has been released by Generation Success and is available now for download.

The resources include information about settling into the workplace, workplace rights and responsibilities, using a first job as a stepping stone to further work, and what to do if you leave your job. A set of videos and quizzes called 'Starting a new job' and a guide for young workers from the Fair Work Ombudsman are also part of the package. There are links to information about safety at work, finances (including pay and working conditions), apprenticeships, wellbeing and many other topics.

Generation Success is an industry-led initiative of Woolworths and News Corp that aims to highlight the plight of young, unemployed youth and help them get into work. 

Register to receive ongoing Generaton Success content updates: [email protected]

Access the new resources for young people here. 

Find out more about Generation Success and its aims here.

Source:CommunityNet e-news, 8 April 2023.

Money management training for budding contractors and entrepreneurs



The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has produced an online training resource to help VET and senior high school students learn money management skills to support their future careers in small business or as contractors.

The Be MoneySmart resource offers modules on saving, budgeting and spending; personal tax; superannuation; debt management; and insurance. The modules feature real-life examples and video case studies of young people from a range of occupations.

Visit the ASIC website for further information on Be MoneySmart.

Source:ASIC website, viewed 16 April 2023.