More graduate positions in the public service and incentives for businesses who take on young workers will be introduced as part of the ACT government's plan to aid the generation hardest hit by the pandemic.
Young people looking to enter the workforce were staring down the barrell of difficult years ahead as the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis could scar job opportunities for the next decade, economists said.
The ACT government announced on Wednesday the ACT Public Service graduate, cadet and apprenticeship program would be extended over the next two years to employ around 120 people.
A payroll tax exemption will also be on offer for businesses who take on new or additional apprentices or trainees.
The exemption would apply to six months of wages for eligible employees hired between August 1 and January 31.
Young people have been hardest hit by job losses throughout the pandemic. In the ACT, 11.9 per cent of people aged 20-29 lost their job between March and May.
There was a 20.4 percent decline in ACT workers aged under 20 in the same period, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The ACT government also announced further mental health support for young Canberrans, and financial assistance to those in foster care.
One-off payments of $300 for each young person in foster and kinship care would be available as part of the $1.7 million package.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the payments would ease financial stress for carers.
A carer subsidy for people in out of home who turn 18 in 2020 would also be extended.
Mr Barr said the graduate scheme would target larger businesses in the ACT.
"While the health effects of coronavirus are disproportionately among older Australians, the economic impacts disproportionately affect younger people," he said.
"It's a chance for those larger businesses to take on trainees and apprentices."
The ACT government is the second largest employer in Canberra, and Mr Barr said the graduate roles would be across a wide range of areas.