The number of young people facing long-term unemployment in Australia has tripled since the global financial crisis, according to a new analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data.
SMH, Konrad Marshall, 14 April 2014
In 2008 there were 19,500 long- term unemployed young people (aged 15 to 24) in Australia, compared to 56,800 now.
There are currently 257,000 unemployed young people in Australia. In Victoria alone, there are 81,900 unemployed young people, and 14,000 who have not worked at all in 12 months, according to a Brotherhood of St Laurence report released on Monday.
The average duration of unemployment has also risen sharply. In 2008, young people spent an average of 16 weeks looking for work, but by 2014 that figure had risen to 29 weeks.
The report – On the Treadmill: Young and long-term unemployed in Australia – also noted that the youth unemployment rate (12.5 per cent) is more than double the overall national rate (6 per cent).
Brotherhood of St Laurence executive director Tony Nicholson said the globalised economy is "coming down really hard on young people", especially those without work experience or tertiary education.
"It's as simple and complex as that," Mr Nicholson said. "Australia needs a new approach to assist unemployed youth to build their qualifications, skills and experience to obtain a job in the modern economy."
Rebekah Novak, 21, left school in year 11 and completed training courses in business administration as well as transport and logistics.
"Then I found a transport traineeship and completed that," she said. "I've always been passionate about trucks and trains and all that stuff."
After dealing with weighbridges, truck drivers and container numbers for 15 months, the company restructured and Ms Novak lost her job. That was December 2012.
"Now I apply for about 20 jobs a fortnight. I hear back from generally no one," she said. "It's usually about experience. I'm an incredibly fast learner, but they want to see time on paper."
Ms Novak lives on a Centrelink Youth Allowance, and some additional pocket money from her parents, with whom she lives in Werribee.
"You lose your self-confidence, wondering, 'Why don't they want me? What am I doing wrong?' I always give 110 per cent in interviews, but it can make you depressed."
She isn't giving up, though. Ms Novak is widening her search, applying for jobs in logistics, security and warehouse packing.
"At this point I really have to broaden my horizons," she said. "I want a career.
"I want to get somewhere in life. I want to get started."
Mr Nicholson warned that the growing number of people like Ms Novak, who are "locked out" of stable employment, could have consequences such as poor health.
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