Finding work not easy for Launceston’s young people as research shows youth unemployment double national average

Job seeker: Casey Lees, 19, was seeking work for more than a year without success. Picture: Paul Scambler
Job seeker: Casey Lees, 19, was seeking work for more than a year without success. Picture: Paul Scambler

Long-term unemployment is a situation many young Tasmanians find themselves in, despite actively seeking work.

Launceston resident Casey Lees, 19, said she had accepted two casual jobs to survive, and was not alone.

“My current employer can only offer me casual work and that is not going to get me a house in the future,” she said.

“Full time jobs are declining at the moment … I know it’s a struggle for a lot of my friends too.”

Research from the Brotherhood of St Laurence shows the unemployment rate for young people – 12.4 per cent – is more than double the national average unemployment rate of 5.5. per cent.

Beacon Foundation develops links between students and business, conducting training and support for young people seeking work.

Chief executive Scott Harris said one of the challenges globally was the ever-changing “world of work”.

“Jobs that are here now, in five, ten years won’t be around. Trying to keep up with that is incredibly complicated,” he said.

“We need to start earlier with preparing young people for that career pathway, and sometimes it’s too late.”

Mr Harris said attention needed to be focused on students well before they reached grade 10 or 11 to start preparing them with essential job-finding skills.

Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff said practical job-seeking advice was provided through the My Education program.

Mr Rockliff said the state government’s focus on resolving unemployment was to increase educational attainment through extending schools to grades 11 and 12.

Opposition education spokeswoman Michelle O’Byrne said the state government’s scrapping of career advice program Pathway Planning in 2014 was “short-sighted” and removed a link between the education system and the workforce.

She said Labor was committed to restoring Pathway Planning.

Ms O’Byrne said Labor’s policy was to establish “true partnerships” through industry advisory councils that would develop new education system links to industry, with a $4000 apprenticeship bonus scheme to encourage business owners to hire young people.