Youth peak urges COAG to increase post-school support

MEDIA RELEASE – 30 October 2013

Australia’s peak youth affairs body has responded to today’s release of the COAG Reform Council five-year progress report on Australia’s outcomes in education. The report shows that more than 1 in 4 young people are not engaged in full time work or study – a figure that has worsened over the past 5 years. The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) urges governments across the country to redouble efforts to support post-school transitions for young Australians, particularly the most disadvantaged.

The report highlights that post-school transitions are “important for full economic participation in later years of life”, yet shows that 41.7% of those from the poorest backgrounds and over 60% of Indigenous young people were not fully engaged in study or work after leaving school.

AYAC’s Executive Director, Gabi Rosenstreich said, “Young people across Australia are looking for work that builds their capacity for independence and ability to participate in their communities, yet this report indicates that too many are falling through the gaps.”

“If we don’t act now, we run the risk of allowing more young people to fall into cycles of long term unemployment and poverty. Quite apart from the social impact of marginalising this group of people, as our workforce ages Australia simply can’t afford to do without these economic contributions. We need to increase positive youth development services that use proven strategies to get young people into jobs and keep them there”

In 2012, AYAC released a report highlighting the gaps in the previous government’s “Learn or Earn” policy that meant the barriers for young people in finding pathways to employment after leaving school were left unaddressed.

Ms Rosenstreich said “Too many young people we’ve spoken to are stuck in a jobs services system that doesn’t address the barriers in their lives that prevent them from entering the workforce”

“COAG members need to increase the availability of youth development programs to guide post-school transitions for young Australians, including our most disadvantaged. These programs will benefit both young people and the Australian community for years to come”

For further comment:

Mr Reynato Reodica, AYAC Deputy Director (Youth Sector) – 02 9212 0500

Additional information:

  • The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) is the national voice for young people and the youth affairs sector. AYAC’s vision is for an Australia in which young people are informed, empowered, encouraged and supported to participate in their communities
  • The 2012 AYAC report, Beyond Learn or Earn: Young People tell how policy can better support those who need it most, is available on the AYAC website – http://www.ayac.org.au/learnorearn.html