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Youth unemployment hits crisis levels

27 February 20140 comments

youth unemploymentThe rate of youth unemployment has soared across the country with the level in Victoria reaching 14%, according to recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The worst hit areas are Melbourne’s outer suburbs and the regions, including north-east Victoria where the youth employment rate is at 17.5% in an area that takes in Seymour, Kilmore, Wangaratta and Wodonga.

Over the year to January, youth unemployment reached 14.8% in Melbourne’s north-western suburbs, including Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges. The Geelong, Warrnambool and Bendigo regions also have youth employment rates above 13%.

The three worst national hot spots were a Tasmanian region encompassing Burnie and Devonport (21%), Cairns in Queensland (20.5%) and the northern suburbs of
Adelaide (19.7 %).

Brotherhood of St Laurence Executive Director Tony Nicholson said the new figures were alarming.

“What it means for all these young people is that they’re at risk of never being able to get a foothold in the world of work. And in our modern economy that means that they’re really being sentenced to a lifetime of poverty,” Mr Nicholson said.

“Overwhelmingly we know that these young people need advice about their career paths, they need opportunities to gain basic skills, they need mentoring, but over and above all that, what they need is an opportunity to gain work experience in a real work place with a real employer.

“In a modern economy, employers are being driven to be internationally competitive and as a consequence they are placing a premium on education and qualification and particularly work experience.

“We’re getting a picture that the task of making the transition from school to work is much more difficult in this modern economy than it has been,” he said.