Maitland businesses are being encouraged to employ young people to help reduce an astronomical youth unemployment rate in the Hunter.
Youth Express CEO Julie Eldridge told a Maitland Business Chamber meeting last week that the youth unemployment rate for the Hunter, outside Newcastle, was 22.8 per cent.
She urged business people to join the Youth Express Learn To Work program and help the organisation provide work experience and training to young people who are looking for work.
In exchange for the yearly sponsorship, Youth Express provides advertising on its website for the business.
Ms Eldridge said the program would help young people and their parents learn about the requirements of being in the workforce.
“It’ll also allow [business owners] to link with education, and raise the profiles of your business with young people – your future customers,” she said.
“In 2010, here in the Hunter, our youth unemployment rate was less than five per cent – that’s one high school cohort ago. It’s nearly five times that now.”Julie Eldridge, Youth Express CEO
Ms Eldridge said the Hunter’s high youth unemployment rate was scary now and for the future.
“In 2010, here in the Hunter, our youth unemployment rate was less than five per cent – that’s one high school cohort ago. It’s nearly five times that now,” she said.
Ms Eldridge said there was a perception that young people lacked communication skills, commitment and were often distracted from their work.
She challenged the Maitland business leaders at the chamber meeting to remember what it was like to be young and new in the work force.
“Times are tough. I understand that. They’re ill prepared for the world of work and it’s easier sometimes, and a whole lot more productive, to just employ an older person. I get that,” she said.
“But can we, as a community, sustain that and what can we do?
“It’s very obvious that more needs to be done with young people while they’re still at school. More needs to happen to support schools to do a better job of preparing young people for work.”
Any business owners interested in finding out more about the Youth Express Learn To Work program can contact 4931 2777.