Racheal Persico hands around something called the Work Readiness Skills Map. The young people at the table stare at the list of skills employers are seeking. Reading. Writing. Digital literacy. Then the more abstract ones. Flexibility. Problem solving. Planning. Persico is a coach and she goes from teenager to teenager, encouraging them to identify which areas they feel confident about and which need improvement.
It would be a confronting exercise for anyone, but these young Australians have extra challenges, even as they joke among themselves, sip on cans of Red Bull and ponder their future. One hopes to work with animals one day, another with computers, a third in retail.
Dylan Halpin, 18, wants to be a carpenter. “It needs to be physical,” he says. “I don’t want to be behind a desk.”
Halpin is on youth allowance, the unemployment benefit for those aged 16 to 21 who are looking for work. The government social security provider, Centrelink, referred him to this Brotherhood of St Laurence program in Frankston, south-east of Melbourne. It’s part of a $212m federally funded program to give vulnerable young people intense support to find a job…
SOURCE: Gay Alcorn. “Living on Newstart: ‘I don’t eat every day. That saves some money I guess’.” The Guardian, 15 May 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia