The national peak body for Not for Profits that assist unemployed people into work, Jobs Australia, has warned that the Federal Coalition Government may end funding for a specialised youth service that helps address the youth unemployment crisis in Australia.
Funding for the Youth Connections program, which provides funding to local youth services to support young people at risk of disengaging from education and work, runs out at the end of the year.
Jobs Australia CEO David Thompson said the service was needed more than ever and should be extended or replaced with a similar service.
“There is a growing crisis in Australia of youth unemployment and disengagement. Some young people need a lot of support to successfully overcome the challenges and issues in their lives that are holding them back,” Thompson said.
“Cutting this program makes no sense from an economic perspective: with an ageing population, we need more young people participating in work.
“It makes no sense from a social perspective: because if we don’t make the effort to keep young people engaged in education and work, then there’s a greater risk that they’ll engage in anti-social behaviour.
“And it makes no sense from a Budget perspective because giving up on young people means more of them will end up on the dole, costing the Government money, rather than paying taxes.
“Youth Connections fills a critical gap in services and with youth unemployment at crisis levels in some areas, it’s just not the time to be cutting a programme like this.”
Jobs Australia’s call comes as Youth Connections released new data this week, coinciding with Youth Week, that showed that the program was very effective at helping severely disengaged young people.
“This is a highly successful program, supporting 30,000 young people each year. When we have national youth unemployment at 12.2 per cent and many regions as high as 20 per cent we cannot afford to end assistance now,” Youth Connections National Executive Officer Rebekha Sharkie said.
“What’s more, 93 per cent of young people in the program who had reconnected with education, training or employment for at least 13 weeks, were still working or studying six months after Youth Connections…(continues)
SOURCE: Blog Post, “Youth Employment Program on the Chopping Block”, 08 April 2014
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