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Budget’s JobTrainer Fund extension only one step towards addressing youth unemployment

As part of its push for job creation, the government announced an extension of the JobTrainer Fund in the federal budget. The fund was established in response to COVID-19 and provides young people with subsidised training to learn skills for jobs in demand.

In his budget address, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he would double his commitment to the fund, supporting a total of more than 450,000 new training places to upskill job seekers and young people.

Mary Malak, CEO of Humanity Matters, responds to the budget announcement regarding the extension of the JobTrainer fund. Mary has worked with youth communities for over 30 years.

“Directing young people to sign up for training doesn’t solve their immediate needs to pay their bills or secure stable and safe accommodation. Young people living independently or in families unable to financially support them need jobs not just training.

“While increasing young people’s skills is a positive initiative, these skill development opportunities need to be linked directly to jobs. Many young people being funnelled through training opportunity after training opportunity, are equipped with multiple certificates and qualifications but still don’t have work. Among those young people fortunate enough to get work, there are many whose jobs are insecure or that have so few hours that they are unable to cover their day to day living expenses, let alone consider saving for their future.

“Investment in workplace training and mentoring will address the skills shortage while enabling young people to earn a living while they learn.”

Read more: $250 million to support NSW businesses

Underlying social issues need to be addressed

“Consideration needs to be given to the complex and entrenched issues many long-term unemployed people are struggling with. Untreated mental illness, domestic violence, insecure housing, limited access to transport and living below the poverty line for many presents insurmountable challenges in getting trained or securing employment. Connecting and supporting people where they are to address these complex and multiple challenges is needed. A one size fits all approach won’t cut it.

“We need greater investment in reaching the hard-to-reach young people where they are. Expecting that all young people will turn up to agencies for training opportunities is unrealistic. Many young people who have had negative or disappointing prior experiences with education, service and training providers are reluctant to engage with these services. 

“We need to re-establish the confidence of these young people to re-engage. We have seen over the years, cutting young people off income support when they fail to meet the training obligations only serves to push young people towards illegal activities in order to survive.”

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Mary Malak

Mary Malak

Mary Malak, CEO of Humanity Matters, has dedicated over 30 years to advocating for young people. Her role involves breaking down barriers that exist for marginalised and disadvantaged youth.

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