Sweeten the deal for good start

Young peo­ple can find it tough get­ting into the work­force but Cara Jenkin dis­cov­ers help is at hand

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Trades -

TEENS and young adults need to know a good job does not al­ways come through a univer­sity de­gree, nor will op­por­tu­ni­ties fall in their lap.

As the youth un­em­ploy­ment rate con­tin­ues to rise, work­ers un­der the age of 25 must be pre­pared to work hard and choose the right op­tions for them – but em­ploy­ers, equally, need to give them a go.

The un­em­ploy­ment rate for those aged 15 to 24 is about dou­ble that of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion, Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics fig­ures show.

In Jan­uary, the youth rate was 12.7 per cent – less than the year high of 14.1 per cent in the same month the pre­vi­ous year but much more than the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion’s 6 per cent un­em­ploy­ment rate.

In some ar­eas, par­tic­u­larly coun­try or outer sub­ur­ban ar­eas, youth un­em­ploy­ment can be as high as 25 per cent.

In­sti­tute for Work­place Skills and In­no­va­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Ni­cholas Wy­man says univer­sity is the ‘go-to’ op­tion for too many young peo­ple who fail to in­ves­ti­gate the job out­comes at the end of a de­gree.

Wy­man, au­thor of the new book Job U, says of­ten they do not put in the hard work be­yond get­ting the de­gree to in­crease their chances of se­cur­ing a job at the end. He also says of­ten there are bet­ter op­tions for the job­seeker else­where.

“Aus­tralia still does gen­er­ally have this miopic fo­cus, as I put it, that univer­si­ties are a nat­u­ral path way or pro­gres­sion,” he says. “If a son or daugh­ter would go off to TAFE, peo­ple an­nounce that less proudly.”

He stresses he is not “anti-univer­sity” and higher education is es­sen­tial for some jobs, with many grad­u­ates find­ing a job af­ter study.

But too many will waste their time and money on a de­gree with fewer jobs than grad­u­ates.

“I think a lot of peo­ple drift off to univer­sity, hop­ing that some­thing will come to them about what they will do for the rest of their lives,” he says.

“You’ve got peo­ple who are go­ing (to univer­sity), rack­ing up this debt and grad­u­at­ing from univer­sity with a solid foot­ing in the­o­ret­i­cal sub­jects but have lit­tle or no ex­po­sure to the train­ing in tech­ni­cal and prac­ti­cal skills,

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