Transport a barrier to youth employment

Finding a job can be hard enough, but new research shows it’s even harder for young people with little access to transport. 

A report released this week has shown transport is a major obstacle to young people finding work. 

Youth unemployment is a major problem in Tasmania, with the youth unemployment rate sitting at 16.1 per cent – compared to a 6.4 per cent overall unemployment rate. 

Avidity Training and Development business development manager Carmen Gumley said their experience working with jobseekers is that transport is a major barrier to finding work. 

“If public transport was more accessible, and just in some areas just to be available, it would certainly open up more opportunities,” she said.

“When you’re working with community members and trying to encourage them to consider employment pathways it can potentially be a barrier.”

She adds the cost of daily public transport to work can also be problematic. 

Minister for Infrastructure Rene Hidding said the government is committed to removing transport disadvantage, particularly for jobseekers.

Earlier this year Mr Hidding released the draft Transport Access Strategy, which was designed to improve social connectivity and improve access to employment, training, education and services.

“The strategy noted some of challenges around public transport, including for young job-seekers in our state with its decentralised population, and the government is currently considering all the submissions it received on this strategy before it is finalised in 2017,” he said. 

Shadow transport minister Craig Farrell said access to reliable and affordable public transport is limited  in rural and regional areas.

“Labor recognises access to transport is a major barrier to many Tasmanians seeking employment,” Mr Farrell said.

He said Labor’s aim is to increase the number of full-fare paying passengers by 50 per cent by 2028.

“Labor will invest $60 million over 10 years to modernise passenger transport in Tasmania, improve time tables and open up new routes,” he said. 

Avidity director Simon Wiggins said improving public transport would improve the youth unemployment rate.

“We are a geographically diverse population, as opposed to Melbourne and Sydney who have good infrastructure to transport people,” he said. 

“Transport infrastructure between [areas] and regular transport is going to alleviate so many issues.”

piia.wirsu@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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