Jobs deficit and youth unemployment a consistent problem in Blacktown

BUCKING THE TREND: Holly, Jade, Lauren and Paige Brookland celebrate people month at Arndell Park McDonald's. Picture: Geoff Jones

BUCKING THE TREND: Holly, Jade, Lauren and Paige Brookland celebrate people month at Arndell Park McDonald's. Picture: Geoff Jones

Blacktown has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the state, according to the latest research from Western Sydney University.

The Youth Unemployment in Western Sydney report, commissioned by Youth Action, said more than 12.4 per cent of active young job seekers in Blacktown and Parramatta could not find work.

Failure to complete high school and a lack of tertiary education and training were the most common factors among unemployed and disengaged youth. Lower income and higher unemployment among parents was also a recurring indicator.

The four key sectors for young people across Sydney were retail, accommodation and food services, manufacturing, and construction. Western Sydney was under-represented in the former two areas.

Blacktown had the highest jobs deficit of any local government area, sitting at nearly 40,000.

Marayong siblings Jade, Paige, Lauren and Holly Brookland are an example of where young people are still finding employment. Each started working at Arndell Park McDonald’s at 14, where they sought training opportunities.

Jade, 20, earned her certificate II in retail through the company. She is now a senior manager and studying a double degree of business and communications.

“If I was working anywhere else I don’t think I would have had these opportunities at such a young age, to be in the position I’m in," she said. “It’s a very friendly and supportive culture.”

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