News

Tough work finding jobs

By Kimberley Price

ECHUCA-MOAMA has one of the worst youth unemployment rates in Australia, according to a new report.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence report has ranked the Murray region — which includes the twin towns — as having the fourth highest youth unemployment across the nation for 2018.

Meanwhile, the Shepparton region which also includes Echuca has been listed as the second highest in Victoria.

Campaspe Cohuna Local Learning and Employment Network (CCLLEN) executive officer Anne Trickey said LLENs were concerned about youth unemployment.

“CCLLEN brings together schools, industry and community to help build this awareness in young people, especially of local opportunities,’’ she said.

“We have local businesses hosting students in their workplaces, participating in careers events, doing mock interviews and being guest speakers in schools.

“All of this is aimed at demonstrating to young people what is available here.”

According to the report, 17.5 per cent of youth are unemployed in the Shepparton region. That is well above the Victorian average of 11.4 per cent and the national rate of 11.2 per cent.

It also estimated 58,200 people aged 15 to 24 were unemployed in Victoria in December 2018. Sureway Employment and Training Echuca area manager Scott Thomson said changing their future was a ‘‘community effort’’.

“We have a major focus on youth employment throughout our business,” he said.

“Initiatives like the Australian Government’s Youth Jobs PaTH program have been excellent and we always offer youth education opportunities from short skillset or a full certificate course.

‘‘Sureway has great relationships with the local apprenticeship organisations, as we really focus getting our youth into sustainable long-term employment,’’ he said.

“We encourage businesses to work with us to help find the best fit for your workplace and start to bring our youth unemployment rates down.’’

The Brotherhood executive director Conny Lenneberg said she was concerned about young people without qualifications, skills or a family network.

‘‘To secure the future labour force and create opportunities for decent work, we need structural solutions that drill down to local job markets and infrastructure challenges,’’ she said. ‘‘We know all young jobseekers need access to a specialist youth employment service, whereas we have a fragmented response to employment services for young people.’’

According to the Brotherhood the national youth unemployment rate is 12.2 per cent which is equivalent to a quarter of a million unemployed young people.

But the statistics for our region are far worse. In Murray, youth unemployment has risen 7.7 per cent to 21.5 per cent — one of the worst in the 20 highest youth unemployment rates in Australia as of January 2018.

The Brotherhood report said there needed to be more incentives.

“Young people are growing up in a rapidly changing world of work and are not aware of the many opportunities and pathways available,” Ms Trickey said.

“I would like to encourage local business to get involved; to capture the attention of young people.

“We need to grow our own future employees. Take young people on, skill them up, show them a pathway to advancement.”

To see the report, visit bsl.org.au/advocacy/youth-employment/youth-unemployment-monitor/