A key part of our campaign is the Monitor, an enewsletter which is a useful source of information and policy analysis. But it’s not all facts and figures. We present the human stories of youth unemployment and the challenges young people face today.
WISE WORDS Sara Caplan
Vocational skills champion Sara Caplan, from PwC, urges employers to broaden their view about the talent pool they draw on to benefit their business.
A story I like to share involves one young man who came from a small regional town and was working for a famous burger franchise, unsure of his next steps. Today, he’s flourishing in our graduate program and running the finances for my unit.
The twist in this tale is that he never went to university.
Robert, who is just 21, found his path by answering an ad for a program that PwC runs for ‘higher apprentices’, where we recruit people from school and offer on-the-job training. After completing 18 months building a range of skills in business and technology while concurrently working towards a diploma in business or IT, the apprentices are then eligible to enter the PwC graduate intake.
Alternative pathways – whether you call them apprenticeships, learning on the job or learning at work – should not just be about mastering a traditional trade. As a nation, we need to think much more imaginatively about creating new opportunities for our school leavers in areas including financial and professional services.
Quite frankly, if employers continue to narrow their view about the talent pool for their organisations – just focusing on university qualifications – they’re doing a real disservice to their workplace and the nation and stand to miss out on a huge number of young Australians who are talented, motivated and capable of becoming very skilled.
A broader approach is also good for business. At my firm, where we’ve been trialling recruiting school leavers not just in Australia but around the world, it has helped us diversify our workforce. We have successfully identified many talented people who would not have considered working in a tall tower of a global consulting firm as an option that was open to them.
Prosperity’s pressure point
Today, 46,000 young Australians are ‘long term unemployed’. And, as youth unemployment overall hits 12 per cent, some 265,000 young people are in the unemployment queue.
TikTok. A new round of the intergenerational debate has flared. We’re getting used to the phrase ‘OK boomer’, the riposte against the perceived privilege of older generations that has become
this year’s catchcry.
Baby boomers in Australia are not without their own retort: living in a nation that has experienced close to three decades of continuous economic growth, young Australians of the 21st century
bask in economic sunshine. Australia last had a recession in 1991 – that’s 19 years before Instagram was invented.
Yet for young Australians the long road of prosperity is pitted with potholes. And long-term youth unemployment presents as one of the key challenges. Nearly one in five unemployed 15 to 24
year olds today have been out of work for 52 weeks or more.
This stark figure represents an estimated 46,990 people aged 15 to 24 – and their predicament is clearly linked to a changing labour market.
Ten years ago, in October 2009, just under one in ten young jobhunters were unemployed for 52 weeks or more, equating to almost 21,000 Australians.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia