To create a job-ready generation, we need to work together to light the way for young Tasmanians.
There has been a gradual, yet noticeable shift in Tasmania over the past ten years. A decade ago Tasmania’s economy was lagging. Regardless of the measure Tasmania was almost invariably dead last compared to other states.
Yet, over the past decade Tasmania has managed to pull itself up by the bootstraps. The change has been steady, methodical and led by the private sector supported by governments of different hues at both the state and federal level.
Recently, there has been a flurry of reports backing up Tasmania’s reputation as the nation’s economic comeback kid. Tasmania has the best performing economy according to CommSec. We have considerable upside still to come according to Deloitte Access Economics. Even the ABS data show Tasmania powering ahead when it comes to indicators like unemployment. In fact, on that measure we have the equal lowest unemployment ever, with the current series going back to 1978.
However, not everyone has felt the warmth of the latest burst of economic sunshine.
One of the groups most often overlooked are young Tasmanians. The youth unemployment rate in Tasmania has hovered around double digits for most of the last forty years. That rate gets even higher in regional Tasmania.
It is almost unbelievable that at a time when youth unemployment in Tasmania is so high, there are record numbers of job vacancies according to the ABS. We have businesses crying out for employees, good jobs going begging and too many young Tasmanians unable to find an opportunity to really contribute to the community and earn a living.
The fact is, these young people are our future. They are the future of our communities, the future of our economy and they are our future leaders.
It is up to everyone in the community from our politicians right through to small business owners, to play their part in creating a truly job-ready generation. While there are actions that we can take right now, there are no silver bullets. Whilst the word ‘crisis’ gets thrown around a lot these days we simply can’t go looking for a quick fix.
Despite the crisis being here now, we need to play the long game. And many parties must play a role in it.
The first step has to be working closely with young people, schools, businesses and the community before students finish school. Unfortunately, we know that if we wait until young people finish school to display the skills and confidence to enter the world of work, for many of our young people that is too late. More needs to be done to prepare and guide our young people earlier and whilst they are still in the school system.
Beacon works with students and industry every day right around the country. We know what works and what doesn’t because we see it up close. So believe me when I say the more we can help students while they’re at school to explore career opportunities, the more likely students are to find something that they’re passionate about, excited about and motivated enough to take the plunge and do something meaningful that will help them establish themselves as strong members of our community.
We need to increase the number of job-ready, aspirational and motivated young Tasmanians and we need to do it now before it is too late. Too many young people are in schools with no direction. Their parents and grandparents were told to get an education and you’ll be ok but for many this has proved fruitless. So why build your child up for the same rejection? We need to work hard to break this cycle of welfare dependence so more of our young people experience the dignity and self-respect many of us are fortunate to experience every day.
Evidence shows that the more students interact with local businesses and industries, the more likely they are to either get a job or go on to further training or study that will unlock a world of opportunities. It’s simple cause and effect. I see it every day and I know how powerful it is. I also know that not enough of it is happening and so many young people are missing out. And that is not good enough in my opinion.
Programs and services that create multiple meaningful engagements for young people with industry will lift their awareness, aspiration and knowledge, which is key to helping young people to capitalise, for industry to be able to fill their roles and for the community to prosper.
But this only works if we do it together, as a community. A community that must rally behind our young people that need it most. At Beacon our job is to help make that happen. We’re working with the government, schools, business and industry and local communities to bring people together with the goal of creating meaningful pathways for young Tasmanians to help set them up for life and to create a job-ready generation.
If you would like to get involved, or find out more information about what Beacon does and how you can help, please get in touch through our website – www.beaconfoundation.org.au