Youth unemployment at crisis level says Brotherhood of St Laurence

A Blacktown organisation that has helped thousands of young people find work has called on the federal government to act.

Marist Youth Care chief executive officer Cate Sydes talked about the crisis in youth unemployment at the launch of My Chance, Our Future program by the Brotherhood of St Laurence last week.

‘‘MYC supports the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s campaign and findings on youth unemployment and urges the federal government to continue funding the Youth Connections program to develop the capacity of unemployed and at-risk young people to find employment,’’ she said.

‘‘In the past year, youth unemployment has reached 16.8 per cent in western Sydney, with other areas of Australia as high as 21 per cent.

“Young people are especially vulnerable to long-term unemployment and need support to assist them to find sustainable employment.

‘‘Provision of funding for vocational and job readiness skills, case management to overcome personal barriers and long-term mentoring support is required to halt the burgeoning problem of youth unemployment.”

Marist Youth Care’s Youth Connections program provides case management assistance to around 250 young people each year, and has helped more than 1000 young people through their outreach activities.

At the launch, 19-year-old Troy (surname withheld) spoke about his frustration in looking for employment without work experience or knowing someone who could help.

‘‘I am not a bludger,’’ he said.

‘‘I want to build  a future for myself.

‘‘If given a chance I’ll be able to prove my worth.’’

Troy said he started to look for a part-time or full-time job after completing year 12 in 2012 but met with no success.

‘‘I have lost count of the number of job applications I have written and unsuccessful interviews.’’

He is more hopeful after having enrolled in a hospitality course with the help of the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

The Brotherhood is spearheading the campaign to improve youth unemployment.

“It’s a disaster for the national economy and for taxpayers who will end up paying the bill,” executive director Tony Nicholson said.

‘‘It is a new campaign highlighting the crisis in youth unemployment and the need to preserve funding for such vital programs as Youth Connections.’’

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