By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
We know the Bundaberg region has had one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the country for some time, and the rate of disengaged job seekers is a serious issue.
In June 2020 national youth unemployment hit a 23-year high of 16.4 per cent.
The Bundaberg Regional Council’s Bundaberg Jobs Commitment document states an estimated 10,000 Bundaberg residents are currently disengaged.
It found over a third of disengaged residents, an estimated 3,500, were youth aged between 15 and 24.
It is feared that if this section of the community continues this path, the inability to fill current job vacancies will constrain local business growth and encourage generational cycles of unemployment.
Not only does joblessness create economic uncertainty, but several unfavourable circumstances can be linked to unemployment.
Reduced savings and superannuation, and increased use of health services and pharmaceuticals have been identified at higher rates within the unemployed population; people have a reduced ability to buy nutritious food, housing and health care.
Lower self-esteem and loss of self-identity can also impact physical and mental health as well as reduce one’s sense of contribution to community, leading to a number of concerning behaviours including depression, domestic violence, relationship breakdowns and drug or alcohol addictions.
It comes as no surprise that a lack of employment becomes a gateway to many other social and societal issues that are also evident in our region.
Understanding the consequences of unemployment is what gives our Transition to Work team the drive to keep young people engaged in their employment journey.
Too many of our youth are leaving school and becoming comfortable in the ‘job seeker’ void between ‘school leaver’ and ‘engaged in employment’.
Proposed solutions in the council’s Jobs Commitment document involves connecting employers with the region’s youth to inspire and assist them in making work and education decisions after school.
Our Transition to Work program, an Australian Government initiative, assists school leavers and young people to understand what is expected in the workplace and develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours employers want.
We can also provide young people with access to our strong network of employers.
The dedicated team of Youth Coaches assist with identifying employment opportunities in the local area, developing practical skills to get a job, finding and participating in work experience placement opportunities, connecting with education or training, finding appropriate apprenticeship and traineeships and connecting with relevant local community services.
If you know of someone aged between 15 and 24 disengaged from education and seeking employment, phone IMPACT on 4153 4233.
Alternatively, if you are in a position to offer employment, please also get in touch.
Getting a job is pivotal to a young person’s ongoing success and wellbeing; let’s work together to improve our region’s future.