(OT) Australia - A waste of talent

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I post on this forum to share articles of concern. Some of you have asked me to continue bringing to your attention stories of impact. The heatwave and power outages is general awareness information to talk about. I also discussed other community problems in Australia; things we are becoming aware about. One of these awareness things follows next, about another type of dislocation.

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A waste of talent

AN entire generation of talent risks being lost unless South Australia's "chronic" youth unemployment level is reduced, the Olsen Government has been warned.

The Youth Affairs Council of SA said yesterday the potential of many young people - particularly the well-qualified - would go unrealised, forcing them to leave the state. In a hard-hitting attack, the council has accused the Government of denying work to many teenagers through inaction and complacency. The council's executive officer, Kym Davey, said youth unemployment had been overlooked in a "natural rush to embrace improving job figures".

"General job figures are improving and we had the (Morgan and Banks) jobs day recently, but the other part of the story isn't being told," he said.

"We've still got a persistent and chronic problem with youth unemployment figures.

"Unless we act to give these young people their chance in the labor market we face losing an entire generation of talent."

The warning comes as the state grapples with the highest youth unemployment rate in mainland Australia.

The South Australian rate of 34.1 per cent compares with 23.3 per cent nationally.

Within the total, 8300 people in the 15-to-19 age group were searching for full-time work in December - an increase of 700 on the previous month. And while an extra 1700 people secured part-time employment, 5000 remain on the jobless queue.

Professor of Labour Studies at Flinders University, Dr Judy Sloan, said the most vulnerable were young people who did not finish school - and the proportion of people going on to Year 12 had fallen in recent years.

"There are really no full-time jobs for young people who leave early these days," she said. "The idea that we would have an adult unemployment rate the same as the youth unemployment rate - forget it."

However, Employment Minister Mark Brindal said there was "a misconception that the Government creates jobs."

"It can create an economic climate but not jobs," he said. "Unless you've got industry out there prepared to take them on and train them, you'll always fall short."

He said a high-level Employment Council within the Government had earmarked key areas for jobs growth. Information technology, agriculture, horticulture, mining and environmental sciences were emerging as the "jobs of the future".

Opposition Leader Mike Rann said only "the strength of SA industry and agriculture" would ensure jobs for young people in the future.

"But we can't sit back and just cross our fingers and that's why we need a range of positive initiatives to ensure we can create jobs for young people," he said.

Mr Rann estimated the Federal Government had cut more than $960 million from higher education and another $240 million from vocational education and training, over the past four budgets.

"You've got to try to attract people back to education and training," he said.

Mr Rann also pointed to the state's declining Year 12 retention rates as an area of concern.

Latest figures reveal the retention rate is one of the worst in the nation - at 67 per cent it has fallen dramatically since the 1992 high of 87.6 per cent.

Last week, the Federal Government announced it would add another four employment services - as part of its Jobs Pathway Programme - to SA.

Education, Training and Youth Affairs Minister David Kemp said the new contracts awarded to services in Eyre, the Far North, Salisbury Plains, and Whyalla/Port Augusta were part of an extra 15 projects around Australia.

However, Mr Davey said more was needed to urge the "Government and community to tackle the problem head on".


This story is one of so many of the changes in our rural life. The good thing is our willingness to discuss it at all.

Regards from OZ

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), February 07, 2000


The bottom line is that the Government in ANY State, has got it all wrong if they think hand outs in the form of workplace employment services will do any good. You cannot place a person if no job exists. I'm at the opposite end of Oz to Pieter, but the fact remains here as down there, that stimulus MUST be given to small and medium size business, as they are the regular employer of "most" of the Oz population work base. Scarlet (to my friends)

-- Scarletbreasted (scarletbreasted@hotmail.com), February 07, 2000.

Thanks Pieter, please don't give up if possible.

-- Kyle (fordtbonly@aol.com), February 07, 2000.

Same here, especially in inner city populations. Why? Because politicians care about their special interst groups and not their constituency. Yes, more than anything, we should do something for young people to claim them as part of our society and our future. Maybe it does mean giving incentives to small business to employ such populations... We do have tax credits here for some underemployed populations, but most businesses don't seem to notice.

-- Mara (MaraWayne@aol.com), February 07, 2000.

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