Currently, almost a quarter of young Queenslanders are not in full-time study or work, more than four times the proportion of unemployed Australians within the total work force, according to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).
Improving employment outcomes for younger Australians is an important step forward that could help benefit local businesses and the economy through decreasing the skills gap and reducing the reliance on government benefits.
However, the COAG believes it is not as simple as increasing education outcomes among younger candidates. A recent report on education and skills show many young people are struggling to transition from school and study to employment.
“We’ve found that more than a quarter of young people are still not fully engaged in work or study after they leave school, and this largely due to the fall in full-time employment,” COAG Deputy Chairman Greg Craven said in a October 30 media release.
Mr Craven explained employment outcomes were even worse for those from disadvantaged backgrounds or Indigenous ancestry, with more than 40 per cent not fully engaged in “learning or earning”.
However, an answer may lie in encouraging more young Australians into apprenticeships and traineeships in Queensland and other states.
The proportion of individuals aged between 17 and 24 who found employment after completing a Vocational Education and Training (VET) course had reached 68.3 per cent in 2012.
This is because completing a VET qualification can better prepare young Australians to face challenges in the workplace.
“A lot of young people don’t really have sufficient skills and if employers have got a couple of candidates and some people have the skills and are work-ready and others don’t, then the choices get made accordingly,” Megan Lilly, a spokesperson for the Australian Industry Group, told ABC on October 30 last year.
One way to ensure young Australians are learning the necessary skills for a smooth transition into the workforce is to offer school-based apprenticeships. This enables the individuals to develop the skills and knowledge employers require before completing their secondary education, which encourages them to obtain a positive pathway to employment immediately after graduating.
Supporting young Australians into work within a shorter time frame is crucial to avoid a culture of unemployment among the younger generation, Ms Lily explained.
“Evidence tells us the longer you’re out of the labour market, the harder it is to get back into it again,” she said.
“And so these young people are at risk of just being locked out of the labour market totally.”
By Leanne de Toerkenczy, Public Relations Coordinator