Special report: Western Sydney's youth increasingly struggle to find jobs

The youth unemployment figures for western Sydney according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The youth unemployment figures for western Sydney according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Young people are struggling to find a job as youth unemployment figures hit an all-time high.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the jobless rate have jumped from 6 per cent in June to 6.4 per cent in July — the highest it has been in 12 years.

The young have been hit the worst, with unemployment for people aged 15 to 24 reaching 14.1 per cent.

The jobless rate for the people aged 15 to 19 surged to 20.4 per cent and was 30.1 per cent among those looking for full-time work.

Youth Action director Eamon Waterford said the latest youth unemployment figures were shocking.

"It's clear we need a national strategy to improve job opportunities for a generation at risk of being left behind," Mr Waterford said.

"We know what sort of programs help young people get into the workforce — Youth Connections and Partnership Brokers.

"These programs were defunded in the latest federal budget, and it's vital that we re-invest in programs like these that have proven outcomes in reducing youth unemployment."

Nepean and outer western Sydney was one of 18 regions chosen by the federal government to run a trial of a revised work-for-the-dole program which aims to get people back into employment

Jobseekers aged 18 to 30 in high unemployment areas have been subjected to new conditions which started on July 1, requiring them to work 15 hours a week for six months to receive unemployment benefits.

Salvation Army social justice co-ordinator Casey O'Brien said the work-for-the-dole program would not help to reduce unemployment.

"Our aim is to assist people to take part in the community but we need to ensure that the opportunity for participation are meaningful and one that is not simply filling a quota or ticking a box," Ms O'Brien said.

"We recognise this is not a one size fits all approach.

"There are considerations which will need to be negotiated in this system."

It’s hard to find a job, very hard. I’m 25 and have a diploma in community service, a diploma in counselling and a diploma in childcare. I’ve been applying for childcare jobs for almost a year now. I get interviews but they never call me back or tell me the reason I didn’t get the job. In the past two months I did six interviews. The employers all say ‘‘I’ll call you’’. Sometimes I’d call them and their secretaries would say they’re not there. It makes you feel bad; you keep asking yourself ‘‘why? Is it because I’m not from here and looking different to them?’’ I have all the qualifications, but I ended up just applying for anything, like house keeping or kitchenhand jobs, which doesn’t suit me, but what can I do? I went to see a youth worker and he helped me apply for some jobs. After a while, I ended up just not applying any more. I’m doing my bachelor of psychology but even that I’m losing interest in. Am I going to study for years and not get the job I want? I’m worried about my university debt. I might study for four years then end up sitting at home or in a job that doesn’t suit me. They need more training; employers should let people prove themselves on the job . . .  I was working in childcare for three years but I had to leave when I started my degree, because my employer wouldn’t let me work part time.

As a teenager trying to find a job, I have faced many barriers. Most of the jobs available to youths get filled by people only just old enough to work, so that they can be paid minimum wage. As an individual, it can also be hard to impress the employers, as people less qualified and less motivated than me will get hired just because the other workers will feel more comfortable around them. So far, I have yet to come across a job in which my appearance has affected my working capability. Many other youths I have consulted have agreed  the employment agencies that help in getting a job are completely ineffective, as their staff are only required to do the minimum. I think if they were paid by the amount of jobs the had gotten people into that day . . .  the amount of young people out of work would dramatically change. The government could do much more but we can’t really rely on them, it’s our problem, not theirs.

READ MORE: Click here to read what Ian Palmer (pictured) of the Schools Industry Partnership really thinks of the work-for-the-dole scheme. SIP provides advice, programs and services to employers, teens, parents and schools in the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Penrith regions.  

Ian Palmer.

Ian Palmer.

Tell us what you think about the work-for-the-dole scheme.

This story Special report: Western Sydney's youth increasingly struggle to find jobs first appeared on St Marys-Mt Druitt Star.


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