How Young People in Australia are Faring – Report

While school retention rates have reached the highest level ever recorded in Australia, more needs to be done to help young people experiencing disadvantage and geographic isolation according to a new report. The annual How Young People are Faring report by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has called for more effective approaches to equip young people for what it describes as a changing and increasingly uncertain labour market.

The report says too many young people who are not in work or education and training, are from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly those from low income families, Indigenous youth, young people with a disability or health problem, those who struggle to do well at school, those who attain low levels of education, and those living in regional and rural areas.

It says young people living outside metropolitan areas are, for example, less likely to remain in school to Year 12, and have fewer pathways post-school opportunities.

“We need to think more deeply about the roles of schools and communities in preparing young people for their lives post-school,” the CEO of FYA Jan Owen said.

“For many, disengagement and ongoing social exclusion is not a stage in life but a way of life.

“The lesson that emerges is that traditional education pathways are not enough in themselves to help young people enter the world of work. New approaches are needed to provide young people with the skills needed to negotiate the new labour market. For this reason, a more robust national approach and strategy with regard to careers pathways is required.”*