Solution to North-West Tasmania’s Youth Unemployment must be a priority

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The Cradle Coast Region is not currently being recognised for its stunning backdrops and breath-taking views, but for a different reason – youth unemployment.

Recently the area reluctantly found itself in the spotlight, being highlighted to have the worst youth unemployment rate in the nation.

This blog will investigate the reasoning behind these statistics and what actions can be taken.

Workforce development for Cradle Coast Region

The Cradle Coast Region, situated on the North-West and West Coast of Tasmania comprises 22% of the total population of Tasmania.  The area has seen a very modest growth of people, with only 5,000 new people moving to the area in the last decade.

According to the Cradle Coast Authority, the mainstays of the Cradle Coast region’s economy are agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, mining, retail and tourism.  Manufacturing is the biggest employer in the region, with more than 5,500 residents working in the industry at the last census date.

Sustainable development and increasing youth employment are two key areas highlighted as being high on the agenda.  With youth unemployment in the area being critically high, the question has been raised by the Cradle Coast Authority – why aren’t youth being employed in the North-West?

Current state

The Cradle Coast Authority, working with other key stakeholders, convened a one day Youth Jobs Forum as a response to the reporting of the region’s youth unemployment being the worst in the nation.

The following areas were highlighted as being fundamental to the problem:

  • A lack of meaningful work experience – too much regulation and liability around bringing a student into the workplace. Those who did often exploited the scenario, with some employers mistaking ‘work experience’ for free labour.
  • A lack of higher education. Numeracy and literacy confidence in students ranked low, with youth indicating they “didn’t know how” to complete tasks in these areas.
  • Low confidence and soft skill development. Youth expressed they didn’t know how to conduct themselves in a workplace and needed more confidence to take on a job as they didn’t believe they could complete it based on their skill levels.
  • Low aspiration and a lack of exposure to career pathways. No awareness around career opportunities.
  • Level of network support and preconceived perceptions – e.g. belief of being too young, inexperienced or disconnected – a feeling job acquisition was based on “who you know”.

Workforce solutions

Workforce BluePrint has extensive experience in designing workforce development strategies that engage and inspire young people and employers which you may wish to adopt including:

  • Implementation of ‘Inspire Days’. A full day workshop specifically designed to inspire young people to take control of their career and empower them in their decision making. The day would consist of a blend of soft skill development including building confidence, changing perceptions around support, and national speakers coming to speak about career pathways.
  • Support young people from the region to participate in BO$$ camp 2015 Hobart.
  • Work in collaboration with state government to increase funding for education programs, skilled development and bridging courses to increase the statistical standard of basic skills in young people.
  • Deliver education programs for employers around the benefits of having a student taking on work experience and/or School Based Apprenticeships.
  • Assist employers in navigating compliance issues and insurance around having students in the workplace.
  • Parental education. Provide information and programs for parents that help them support their children in developing a career strategy, education plan or pathway.

If you would like to know how you can increase youth engagement, or implement some of these solutions at your school, workplace or in your community, contact Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner at wendy@wb.switchstartscale.com.au.

May 2015.

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