Youth Unemployment in Bendigo
In March 2019, the Brotherhood of St Laurence published a report that showed that the Bendigo region had the highest rate of youth unemployment in Victoria at 18.3 %. Those numbers are only going to rise as the economic consequences of the pandemic hit home.
I have been speaking with businesses that employ young people, and this is a serious issue. In addition, it is a priority of the Bendigo youth council, who named youth employment as a key area of the youth strategy.
There are not only the economic consequences of long-term unemployment of young people, but also the mental health consequences, and the likelihood of more young people leaving Bendigo to look for work.
Exactly how council plays a constructive role is difficult to say: local government does not set employment law, nor does it have the resources to provide financial incentives to employers to take on young people. However, I think there are few things local councils can do:
- To ensure existing traineeships and apprenticeships do not fail, council should play a co-ordinating role to ensure TAFE, job agencies, mental health agencies, and employers communicate with each other.
- To give young people much needed work experience, council needs to rapidly expand its traineeship program for young people.
- To equip businesses who do employ young people, council needs to fund free workshops to businesses that train managers in relating to young people.