Boosting the youth employment rate in rural Australia

Youth unemployment is a problem across Australia, but rural areas are hit particularly hard. Part of the reason is the decline of traditional industries, but what can be done to create new opportunities in these regions? Talent Rise and our partners are doing our best to find a solution.

Aus unemplyment youth rate

Youth unemployment is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges facing Australia, and one we at Talent Rise are passionate about. A decade ago, over 65 percent of Australians between the ages of 15 and 24 were employed, but by 2016, this had fallen to just under 59 percent, according to the recent OECD report entitled Investing in Youth: Australia.

This might not seem like too significant a drop, particularly as these numbers also include those who are studying while not working. However, when you consider that over the same period, employment among over-25s only decreased by 0.7 percent, the severity of the problem becomes a lot clearer.

One in every two schools in Australia spends just $3 per student on career education. Here is what needs to change in our education system to reduce youth unemployment in Australia: #YoungPeopleMatter

— Talent RISE (@TalentRISEorg) November 8, 2017

There are rural and regional parts of Australia where youth unemployment is a serious issue.

Youth unemployment in rural Australia

The last few years have seen some improvement in the overall rate of youth employment, but the problem simply cannot be treated as consistent throughout the country. Instead, there are parts of Australia where youth unemployment is a much more serious issue, and these are overwhelmingly rural or regional areas. A 2016 report on Australia’s Youth Unemployment Hotspots, compiled by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, revealed that:

“The malaise of unemployment persists in many rural and regional locations. New analysis identifies four regional areas where youth unemployment rates cluster above 20 percent. For the worst performer – in the outback of Queensland, including the mining hub of Mount Isa – the rate reached 28 percent.”

This is in comparison to a national youth unemployment rate of roughly 12-13 percent over the last couple of years, highlighting just how much more severe the circumstances are in certain parts of the country. As a result of this youth unemployment, rural poverty in Australia has continued to increase, with the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ growing wider and wider.

Find out how Australia’s unemployment record compares with the rest of the world here: #YoungPeopleMatter

— Talent RISE (@TalentRISEorg) August 17, 2017

How can youth unemployment be improved in rural Australia?

The question, then, is why is youth unemployment so high in rural Australia? There are a variety of factors at play, but the most significant is the changing nature of the industries rural areas rely on. With technology having a huge impact on these sectors, there is no longer a guarantee of traditional opportunities for young people. Education and increased competition from a growing urban population have also played a part, but fortunately it is possible to get involved and make a difference.

The key to improving rural poverty and youth unemployment in regional Australia is to know how best to help. This comes back to understanding the reasons for youth unemployment in these areas – primarily a lack of opportunities. There are all sorts of different ways individuals or organisations can do their part to create new ones. Many of Talent Rise’s partners offer job placements or work experience, while others provide support through fundraising or sponsorship. For young people in rural areas, who don’t always have the same support or options as other Australians, the work of our partners can make an enormous difference.

Help us ensure young people have access to technology and the skills they will need to find employment.

To find out more about how you or your organisation can get involved, contact the Talent Rise team today.