Friday, October 17, 2014

We Must Tackle Youth Unemployment

I believe that local communities working together with local businesses, local government and social services can play an important role in helping build meaningful partnerships between young people and job opportunities in the current economic climate.

I support the Jobs for Youth Campaign which will be running across Moreland, Darebin and Yarra in October, which aims to match 100 people aged 16 to 24 with local employment opportunities, and attempt to stem joblessness in our region.

The Jobs Expos being hosted as part of the campaign will put young people directly in touch with real employers and real job opportunities, including McDonald’s, Aplus Apprenticeships, Traineeship services along with other businesses and agencies. Young people are encouraged to bring along their resumes, or can seek help by making one there. The Darebin Jobs Expo will be held on Tuesday, October 21 at NCAT Preston, Yarra Expo on Wednesday, October 29 at The Reading room Fitzroy, and the Moreland Expo will be held on Friday, October 31 at the Coburg Town Hall.

The Real Industry Job Interview (RIJI) Program has recruited volunteers to participate as interviewers this coming Friday, October 17. The Program will engage almost 700 young people from local schools from the Cities of Yarra, Darebin and Moreland; to assist and guide them in resume, job interview and job application preparations. This sort of program is highly beneficial for young local jobseekers and students as they seek to enter the a very tight and competitive job market. I will be participating in the interview day and am looking forward to helping give young people some hints and tips about effective ways they can apply and succeed in looking for work.

In April I met with local Youth Connections providers, and wrote to the current Liberal Government to support the Youth Connections program that was set up by Labor in 2010 to stop young people falling between the cracks. Youth Connections has already helped 75,000 young people reengage with education and employment. The program helps young people who drop out of school either head back to the classroom, or complete an alternative year 12 qualification, combined with work. It is disgraceful the Liberal Government has refused to support ongoing investment in such programs.

These are great initiatives and I commend Moreland City Council, City of Darebin, City of Yarra, Youth Connections, Darebin Youth Commitment, Moreland Youth Commitment, Yarra Youth Commitment, and Inner Northern Learning, for spearheading the need for more young people to be employed and engaged locally. More information on these initiatives can be found at

Victorian Labor’s Jobs Plan which will help create 100,000 full time jobs for the unemployed through the $100 million Back to Work Act, payroll tax relief, incentives for business to hire long term unemployed, retrenched workers and unemployed youth, the Premier’s Jobs and Investment Panel, a Future Industries Fund of $200 million, a Regional Jobs Fund, Super Trade Missions, and through the removal of 50 level crossings, build the Melbourne Metro Rail, removing 5,000 trucks from the Westgate Bridge, creating 10,00 construction jobs and guaranteeing $2 billion for country and suburban roads. These are all worthy initiatives that will begin to kick start job opportunities for our unemployed young people.

Along with investing in our manufacturing, skills and education sectors, supporting our local community initiatives, the Federal and State Victorian Liberal Governments would be better off cutting back our migrant worker programs that are placing unfair competition on local young people’s chance of getting a job.

Under the current approach they’re adopting, youth unemployment will get a lot worse before it gets better. Providing young people with good quality job opportunities from an early stage helps our overall economic and social wellbeing by giving our next generation hope. Hope that they can make a good income, hope they can hold a decent standard of living, hope that they can one day buy their own home, raise a family, and live a comfortable, safe and healthy life. Giving young people the chance to build their self-respect, resilience and dignity, is incredibly important and goes hand in hand with giving young people the chance of having a job.

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