Youth Action welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Income Support) Bill 2021. We are calling on the Government to reconsider its announced minimal increased with a meaningful increase that lifts young people out of poverty. The ramifications of a social service system that continues to entrench poverty from a young age will lead to poorer educational, employment and social outcomes for all communities. A meaningful increase in Youth Allowance and JobSeeker will not only support Individuals but lead to stronger communities and empowered young people. This submission is informed by our ongoing advocacy in equity and poverty reduction, joint campaigning efforts with the Raise the Rate for Good campaign, and most significantly by the voices of young people and the services that support them.
Youth Action welcomes the invitation to provide a submission to the inquiry into the child protection and social services system (the System). We have welcomed the changes made as a result of various government’s increased focus on evidence based and trauma informed approaches to marginalised young people at risk of, or in contact with the System. However, too many young people still find themselves at a disadvantage.
There are continued calls for greater participation of young people in policy development and service provision. This is despite many reports, inquiries and commissions into the failings of the System recommending significant, system level changes. Youth Action is advocating for a NSW where every young person is valued, engaged and supported. The cornerstone of this objective is improving the decision-making processes in NSW through utilising the diverse range of expertise of both young people and the youth sector as experts in their own lives.
Youth Action welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control for their inquiry into coercive control in domestic relationships. Youth Action refers the Committee to the submissions of Women’s Safety NSW and Domestic Violence NSW, whom we support, regarding the introduction of a Coercive Control offence here in NSW. In making recommendations for change on behalf of young people, Youth Action’s submission focuses upon young people’s experience of Coercive Control and the non-legislative responses which should occur prior to, oralongside, the creation of a Coercive Control offence.
Addressing the changing nature of youth involvement in apprenticeships and the perceived value of apprenticeships in the market.
The decline in apprentices and the current ‘skills shortage’ faced by Australia is driven by a diverse number of factors. Historical reasoning points to a mixture of quasi-market policy in industrial relations in the 1990s and early 2000s, a steady increase in competition in the training market, the changing nature of youth involvement in apprenticeships and the perceived value of apprenticeships in the market.
Overall, retention rates are low as apprentices are often faced with many barriers while undertaking training. A range of factors contribute to non-completion of training which includes personal, demographic, structural, economic, educational, political and environmental conditions2. In short, many issues exist around overall productivity of the apprenticeship and trainee system and the problem as a whole is complex. Technological, educational and lifestyle advancements over the last 50 years mean that the apprenticeship and trainee system cannot continue to be antiquated and must modernise.
In order to support Australia through the current skills shortage, policy makers, employers, industry associations, not-for-profit organisations, unions and apprentices need to come together to provide their insights into successful and motivating programs for young people. This will act as a measure to increase the retention rates of young people entering apprenticeships and skills training, as well as encouraging young people to take up trades and training as an alternative to university or unskilled work.
Employment is essential to a young person’s wellbeing and future success. Having a job gives a young person the opportunity to attain financial security, independence, skill development and a sense of belonging. However, youth unemployment is very high across NSW and this has long-term detriments for those young people, the economy and the wider community. Youth Action made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into jobactive, to represent the voices of young jobseekers. We recommended that the government do more to tackle youth unemployment, especially for marginalised young people.
Understanding how issues affect young people starts with listening to them and hearing their perspectives. Many organisations and stakeholders try to work in the interests of young people without asking their views on the issues that affect them most.
That's why we surveyed 3,400 young people to seek their views on the issues that they care about and which have the greatest impact on their lives.
We overwhelmingly found that young people place a huge value on fairness, equity and equality within Australia. Their attitudes and goals on important issues such as education, employment and housing are most often altruistic and aimed at creating a better society for everyone.
On critical issues young people are seeing widening inequality gaps within society as a whole, between generations and even within their own peer group. They are also overwhelmingly disappointed by government's response to their issues, citing politicians' lack of vision and inability to listen to young people. They feel that governments are not acting in their best interests or the interests of future generations.
Our report, Inequality in Australia: A Young Person's Perspective, provides direct quotes from young people on issues that are having an impact on them.
Youth Action has made three pre-budget submissions to the NSW Government's budget process. These addressed career guidance, youth employment and youth suicide prevention. Our submissions outlined specific recommendations for investments the NSW Government could make in the 2018-19 state budget to improve outcomes for young people.
Download each submission here
Vocational Education and Training (VET) plays a vital role for young people in the transition from school to both further education and employment. Difficulties with this transition can result in unemployment, underemployment and social exclusion that may affect young people for the rest of their lives and have long-term undesirable social and economic implications.
Youth Action partnered with Uniting and Mission Australia to better understand the challenges faced by young people who want to complete a VET qualification by conducting community consultations and a sector stakeholder survey.
The VET sector is vital to create a workforce that meets the growing and unmet demand in different employment sectors. The NSW Government and the community will benefit from efforts to ensure young people are provided with opportunities to successfully pursue careers in their chosen employment pathways through a whole-of-sector approach.
While Greater Western Sydney is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia, jobs and training opportunities for young people are not keeping up.
Western Sydney is disproportionately affected by disadvantages that make the region vulnerable to macro changes happening to the broader employment landscape, making it tough for young people looking for work in the region to find it.
The report shows:
- There is a high concentration of young people in industries vulnerable to automation and change (46% are employed by high risk areas such as hospitality and retail) and many holding casual or part-time jobs.
- Nationally, the number of full-time jobs available for 15-19 year olds has halved since 2008.
- Education completion rates and young employees who work in jobs requiring post-school qualifications are lower in Western Sydney than the Sydney average.
- 6.9% of young people in Western Sydney are not studying or looking for work compared to 3.9% for the rest of Sydney. Once young people 'disengage' from full-time study or work, they become less likely to re-enter employment in the future.
If we take action now we can reduce the number of young people who become disengaged, who are more likely to become long-term unemployed, have poorer health outcomes, and lower educational attainment, and give those who are searching for jobs more opportunities that will actually work for them.
Youth Action calls on the NSW Government to:
- Make a clear commitment that young people have a right to education that prepares them for the future.
- Pay closer attention to labour market regulation in sectors that young people are over-represented, and interventions are made when required.
- Make a commitment to educating young people on their pathways to education and training.
- Commit to targeted efforts to lift secondary completion rates, especially in areas under-represented in education and training completion rates, and over-represented in youth unemployment.
Work is critical to wellbeing and good life outcomes. But getting a job is harder than ever before, and the employment landscape is increasingly challenging. The missing link is careers guidance.
The transition from education to further study or employment is a crucial point in time for young people. While this transition period gives young people the opportunity to consolidate skills, develop a sense of job-readiness and make decisions about their lives and career paths, it has become increasingly difficult for young people to gain employment after leaving education and training. Factors such as the reduction of entry-level job opportunities, job automation, the casualisation of the workforce as well as disengagement from education have caused the length of the transition period for young people to increase.
Effective career guidance in high schools can improve the transition from education to employment for young people, especially for those experiencing disadvantage. Benefits include increased engagement with education, improved employment prospects and an increase in social capital and wellbeing. Studies show that if young people can recall four structured career activities across their school life, they are five times less likely to be unemployed or disengaged from education or training. Despite this, approximately 50% of schools in Australia (with populations of over a 1000 students) dedicate less than $3 per student for career guidance.
To find out more and read our recommendations, download the report now.