Issue 225, May 2015
The new Youth Employment Strategy has been allocated $330 million in funding in order to help specific groups of young people transition into work; it aims to stave off the risk of long-term unemployment for young people who are in danger of becoming welfare dependent.
The funding will cover a $212 million Youth Transition to Work program, which will help young people who are disengaged from work. Under this program support will be provided by community-based organisations that already have a proven track record in assisting youth to help young people ‘find and maintain’ a job, an apprenticeship or a traineeship. Support for young people in this category could include one-on-one mentoring, confidence building, literacy and numeracy training, as well as help to overcome personal barriers to entering the workforce or education.
In addition to the Youth Transition to Work program, there will also be a $14 million Early School Leavers program and Intensive Support Trials for Vulnerable Job Seekers ($106 million). This last program will include assistance for disadvantaged young people with mental health concerns as well as vulnerable young migrants.
The Youth Employment Strategy replaces, in some measure, the Youth Connections program that had similar aims and was highly successful.
Commentators in the social sector have voiced their concerns about the gap in assistance for young people: Youth Connections had its funding withdrawn last December and it will be several months before the Youth Employment Strategy is up and running, leaving young people in limbo with no current assistance. For example, CEO of Mission Australia, Catherine Yeomans, said: ‘We could have made a seamless transition from Youth Connections to a new program rather than losing staff through redundancies, and losing skills and expertise from the sector. But at least the government has recognised its mistake’.
Source:Australian Government Budget website, viewed 26 May 2015