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Twentysomethings still suffering GFC effects

A closer analysis shows lingering problems with the number of 20 to 24-year-olds who are struggling to find their feet.

A closer analysis shows lingering problems with the number of 20 to 24-year-olds who are struggling to find their feet. Photo: Jim Rice

The share of Australians in their 20s who are not learning or earning has remained stubbornly high, failing to ease to pre-global financial crisis levels, a new report reveals.

But there are some positive signs among youth in their mid to late teens, with an increase in 15 to 19-year-olds involved in full-time education and training over the past three years.

And participation rates among indigenous teenagers are rising at twice the rate of the rest of the population.

The results are outlined in the latest evaluation of the National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions, a $706 million program aiming to ensure young people are learning or earning.

The report says the share of 15 to 24-year-olds in full-time education or training rose from 69.5 per cent in 2009 to 73.4 per cent in 2012.

But a closer analysis shows lingering problems with the number of 20 to 24-year-olds who are struggling to find their feet.

In this age group, the proportion not fully engaged in education, training or work rose from 19.5 per cent in 2008 to 22.2 per cent in 2009, about the time of the GFC.

This figure has not yet returned to pre-GFC levels, remaining stubbornly high at 21.8 per cent in 2010 and 22.5 per cent in 2011.

The disengagement among those who had not completed year 12 was more than twice that of those who had done so.

The National Partnership, launched in 2009, provides funding for a number of career development and youth training programs, including the Salvation Army's Oasis education centres in Sydney.

The education manager at Oasis, Victoria Oettel, said it was tough for people to find work when they had not completed year 12 and this could lead to ''self loathing or despair''.

''I think it's pretty clear that the older people get the more entrenched negative coping skills are and the less that's there for them,'' she said.

''I think as time goes by it gets harder.'' Ms Oettel said her job was to connect with youth who had negative impressions of school and it was sometimes a case of building their self-esteem through music, drama and art.

She said students may drop out of school because of bullying, mental illness or responsibility for caring for a sick family member . . . ''We catch the kids that fall through the cracks.''

School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the federal government had invested $706 million over four years in the National Partnership.

He believed the programs were helping young people finish school with the education and qualifications required to move into a successful career.

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57 comments

  • It is the 1990's all over again. We X generation members have survived the 1990's recession and the GFC. Get over your yourself Y gen. You have the technology we didn't have....

    Commenter
    Julian
    Date and time
    January 25, 2013, 8:12AM
    • Agreed Julian!

      Sadly, Gen-Y will be supported by Gen-X. By the time Gen-Ys finally grow up they'll be too old and you'll be paying their pension.

      Clearly the above does not apply to the Gen-Ys without the hedonistic sense of entitlements :o)

      Commenter
      Pisces
      Date and time
      January 25, 2013, 8:57AM
    • Julian I think you're the one who needs to get over himself. The article is merely commenting on the state of youth employment and education. Personally I'm a bit concerned that the only option for young people leaving school seems to be indefinite low paid unskilled jobs which are becoming obsolete, or a decade of tertiary education. I'm glad I graduated from high school 10 years ago when things were a LOT easier, I don't envy the kids finishing up now.

      Commenter
      Mick
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      January 25, 2013, 10:00AM
    • The GFC and the past few years haven't been so rosy for a large slab of Gen X either.

      Trying working in building and construction, or heaven forbid, architecture. Declining growth with no effective government stimulus policies means few jobs and declining wages. For me, and plenty of other talented Gen X Architects and designers, most with Masters degrees, its been a really tough past few years, especially in Qld.

      Its not a problem limited to Generation Y....

      Commenter
      TJ
      Date and time
      January 25, 2013, 10:36AM
    • Back in the early 90s I resented the hell out of boomer hippy-crites referring to my generation as "slackers". Now that I'm rapidly becoming an old bastard myself I'll be damned if I'm going to turn around and hassle today's youf. Gen Y: I've worked with some good ones and some bad ones. Just like everyone else really.

      Commenter
      asmith1024
      Location
      Sunshine
      Date and time
      January 25, 2013, 10:39AM
    • Agreed. Gen Y are not victims, they are part of the problem. They have more resources available to them than any other generation courtsey of the previous generation but are too narsistic, needy and dependant to do anything with them but create fishbowl lives for themselves on social networking sites. Nobody ever went far doing nothing but whinging and now we have more whingers than ever before with larger, instant audiences.

      Commenter
      whatsup
      Date and time
      January 25, 2013, 10:51AM
  • Too much is made out of these statistics. They only record how many are working or studying full-time and ignore those who both work part-time and study part-time. There are many of these as Youth Allowance and Austudy payments are inadequate - for many the only way to pay the bills as they study is to cut their study hours and work more.
    The statistics are used to suggest that there are disengaged young people doing nothing. This reporter has fallen into the trap by equating those not working or studying full-time with those not 'earning or learning'. Catchy, but wrong.

    Commenter
    brutal frank
    Date and time
    January 25, 2013, 8:21AM
    • Does this take into account people doing part time study and part time work?

      Commenter
      Jen
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      January 25, 2013, 8:22AM
      • Two job ads found online just this week:

        1) "Intern" for a food van, 30 hours a week unpaid, selling tacos from a truck;
        2) Entry-level publication assistant, requiring five years of "paid experience" in journalism.

        It's no wonder Gen Y feel discouraged from gaining a foothold in a career when employers pull these sort of tricks.

        Commenter
        Observant
        Date and time
        January 25, 2013, 8:29AM
        • Print media has been dying for the last decade, anyone pursuing a career in it has to know the competition is fierce for mediocre positions. Which sucks if you're a seasoned journo in her mid 40's, retraining is going to be hard. If you're a young twenty something, you have no excuse. Look for a more lucrative field.

          Commenter
          James Hill
          Location
          Melbourne
          Date and time
          January 25, 2013, 9:10AM

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