The number of young Australians out of work has reached ''crisis point'', as more 15 to 24-year-olds struggle to find jobs in the ripples of the global financial crisis.
The Age, by Aisha Dow and Chloe Booker, 24 Feb 2014
Welfare group the Brotherhood of St Laurence has identified new data that shows national youth unemployment grew by more than 3 per cent in six years to 12.4 per cent in the year to January.
Last month youth unemployment in Victoria hit 14 per cent.
The unhappiest youth job markets are in the outer suburbs and regions, including north-east Victoria where the youth employment rate is at 17.5 per cent in a region that takes in Seymour, Kilmore, Wangaratta and Wodonga.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence is calling for a new national strategy to help young people into jobs, labelling the figures ''a scandal for our young people, our communities and our economy''.
In the Victorian border town of Wodonga, Sharnna Hogan has lost count of the job applications she has submitted in the past five years. The 21-year-old has never worked and has survived on government welfare since she turned 16. ''I'm sick of relying on Centrelink. I want to be able to own my own house and my own car,'' she said.
Ms Hogan has been looking for a job since she finished school after year 9, but is told by the bottle shops, restaurants and takeaway store managers that they want someone with experience. ''But they don't give us that chance.''
Her dream job was to become a hairdresser, yet no one would take her on as an apprentice when she finished her TAFE course about two years ago. She has since embarked on training for a job in the building construction industry.
Meanwhile, she searches for part-time work.
Brotherhood of St Laurence executive director Tony Nicholson said the Australian government employment services system was failing young people. He said some job seekers were submitting hundreds of applications and ''getting nowhere'', despite having gained three or four certificates through training courses.
Mr Nicholson said the employment climate was placing a premium on skills, workplace know-how and qualifications, but ''often young people haven't had the opportunity to gain those skills''.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence is calling for a new youth employment strategy, to replace the $80 million national Youth Connections program, which they say is not funded beyond 2014.
Mr Nicholson said that strategy should including mentoring, vocational training and structured work experience.
Over the year to January, youth unemployment reached 14.8 per cent in Melbourne's north-western suburbs, including Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges. The Geelong, Warrnambool and Bendigo regions also have youth employment rates above 13 per cent.
The three worst national hot spots can be found in a Tasmanian region encompassing Burnie and Devonport (21 per cent), Cairns in Queensland (20.5 per cent) and the northern suburbs of Adelaide (19.7 per cent).
The welfare group's ''My Chance, Our Future'' campaign has the support of former News Ltd chief John Hartigan.
Click here to read the original article at The Age.