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Competitiveness Agenda: SMEs asked for input to tackle youth unemployment

The Australian Government wants small to medium businesses, training providers, community organisations and other groups to provide input on a discussion paper, titled Industry Skills Fund – Youth Pilot Programmes, released today.

A key part of the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, the Training for Employment Scholarships and the Youth Employment Pathways programmes were announced by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Industry in September 2014.

Training for Employment Scholarships is to provide up to 7,500 scholarships for unemployed youth aged 18 – 24 and will see employers’ costs covered for up to 26 weeks of employee training.

Youth Employment Pathways is to provide assistance to 3,000 school leavers aged 15 – 18 and will help transition youth back into school, the workforce, or a vocational education pathway.

Under the ‘Proposed Design’ section, the discussion paper states that SMEs located in the target regions will be eligible for a scholarship. SMEs, classified as a business with a maximum of 199 employees, are required to use the scholarship for new employees aged 18 – 24 who were previously unemployed and must demonstrate a training plan has been decided on with a suitable provider.

The two combined programmes make up a $44 million investment from the Government, which Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says will tackle regional youth unemployment.

“These initiatives will have a positive impact not only on the people living in regional Australia, particularly in a time of high youth unemployment, but also on their towns and communities,” Macfarlane said.

Regions under the spotlight include the South Australian Outback, which has a youth (15 – 24) unemployment rate of 29.8 per cent according the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and Tasmania’s South East region, which has a youth unemployment rate of 26.7 per cent.

The Department of Industry intends to issue the proposed guidelines for the initiatives before the programmes start on 1 March 2015. Respondents are encouraged to provide their feedback via email to VETTaskforce@industry.gov.au.

The discussion paper can be found by clicking here.

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Guillermo Troncoso

Guillermo Troncoso

Guillermo is the Editor of Dynamic Business and Manager of film &amp; television entertainment site ScreenRealm.com. Follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/gtponders">Twitter</a>.

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