Young people desperately want to work and are very concerned that their futures have been compromised, particularly by COVID-19 and flow on impacts reducing jobs.

On Monday 24 August, the National Youth Commission (NYC) will be releasing its first major report about futures for young people in Australia, with a major focus on  Youth Employment and Transitions. This is the culmination of about three years of extensive input through processes that have been actively led by young people.

Uniting Communities is a partner of the National Youth Commission of Australia.

After hearings across regional and metropolitan Australia, the National Youth Commission overwhelmingly heard that young people want to work, they want to be an active part of their communities and they crave the independence that comes with working and reasonable wages. Young people also have the highest levels of mental health concerns and loneliness levels across the population.

COVID-19 adds to the challenges that young people face with jobs likely to be hard to find for some years after the economic decline and the opportunities to gain the experience required by employers expected be in short supply.

“Uniting Communities agrees that young people are likely to be the age cohort most adversely impacted by the virus,” says Mark Henley, Manager of Advocacy and Communication for Uniting Communities.

From listening to the aspirations, anxieties and challenges of young people, their families and communities, the NYC is proposing the development of a “Youth Futures Guarantee” for all young people. The Guarantee would focus on assisting young people as they make the transitions from school, to higher education and training, to work, to independent living.

“Measures would include paid on the job placements, particularly in emerging industries, recognition of entrepreneurial skills and linking arts and design with STEM learning. Adequate income support remains crucial as does affordable housing and support services, including mental health along with locally focussed employment transition services with a young person focus. The Youth Futures Guarantee is an excellent concept to be debated and developed to ensure that the futures for our young people are not compromised,” Mr Henley concludes.

Media comment

Mark Henley
Manager, Advocacy and Communication
0404 067 011