RE­PORT: JOBS IN WEST

Western Times - - FRONT PAGE - Alexia Austin Alexia.Austin@west­ern­starnews.com

IF you are strug­gling to find a job then the bad news is you are not alone.

And it is even harder if you are look­ing for your first job.

Youth un­em­ploy­ment in the out­back is reach­ing crit­i­cal lev­els with a re­cent re­port in­di­cat­ing that two in three peo­ple aged 15-24 were out of work.

It’s a re­al­ity Golden West Ap­pren­tice­ships CEO Camille John­son sees ev­ery day.

“Since 2013, ap­pren­tice­ships for com­mence­ments for the Mara­noa re­gion have de­clined by over 63 per cent.”

Golden West Ap­pren­tice­ships is a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion spe­cial­is­ing in the group em­ploy­ment of ap­pren­tices and trainees and their data shows a large de­cline in train­ing po­si­tions that are es­sen­tial for non-skilled youth to en­ter the job mar­ket.

Over a three year pe­riod, the num­ber of young peo­ple start­ing trainee­ships and ap­pren­tice­ship in the Mara­noa has dropped from 785 in 2013 to 282 peo­ple in 2016.

Ms John­son said the de­crease was due to a mul­ti­tude of fac­tors with one of the main causes of in­sta­bil­ity to the ap­pren­tice­ship sys­tem was the re­li­a­bil­ity and rel­e­vancy of train­ing de­liv­ered by reg­is­tered train­ing providers.

“One of the great­est ob­sta­cles is the ac­ces­si­bil­ity of higher level ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties through re­gional ser­vice providers.

“The lo­cal train­ing pro­grams need to be rel­e­vant and linked to em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly where there are skill short­ages.”

The gov­ern­ment’s small area labour mar­ket re­port re­veals the un­em­ploy­ment rate in the Mara­noa re­gion has in­creased from 2.4 per cent in 2016 to 3.4 per cent in 2017.

It’s a sim­i­lar story in Balonne and Charleville.

The Balonne re­gion has seen an un­em­ploy­ment in­crease of 1.6 per cent, from 3.7 per cent in 2016 to 5.2 per cent in 2017, while Charleville has seen lit­tle fluc­tu­a­tion over the same pe­riod, re­main­ing at 8 per cent.

Ms John­son said the in­crease could ben­e­fit em­ploy­ers in smaller com­mu­ni­ties, as it in­creased the num­ber of pos­si­ble can­di­dates ap­ply­ing for work.

The re­cently re­leased Brother­hood of St Lawrence found that two in ev­ery three peo­ple aged 15-24 in Queens­land’s out­back were out of work, with the un­em­ploy­ment rate top­ping 67 per cent for that age group.

But the news is not quite as bleak as it first ap­pears.

The out­back clas­si­fi­ca­tion en­com­passes a large geo­graph­i­cal area, which in­cludes St Ge­orge and Charleville, as well as north­ern towns such as Mt Isa and Cape York.

“The fur­ther west you get there are less­ened op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Ms John­son said, help­ing put the sta­tis­tics into per­spec­tive.

“As a com­mu­nity if we con­tinue to demon­strate strong lead­er­ship around skills de­vel­op­ment and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties we can grow to­gether - but there are some is­sues we need to solve.

Ms John­son added that al­though prospects were un­steady, the start of 2018 had brought with it some good news for job seek­ers.

“On a more pos­i­tive note our ap­pren­tice and trainee com­mence­ments for the first quar­ter of 2018 have in­creased by 38.8 per cent com­pared to last year.

“So we are see­ing the start of a greater ap­petite for skills de­vel­op­ment and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties lo­cally.”

PHOTO: ALEXIA AUSTIN

WORK­ING IT OUT: Rhylee Wied­man and Tayla Den­nis are now in­creas­ing their skillset through train­ing.

PHOTO: ALEXIA AUSTIN

Camille John­son.

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