SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Thankyou for coming along today, this is an important announcement by the government detailing the pilot regions where our youth employment programmes will be run. These programmes are a very important component of our industry skills fund which is about helping to get more people in to employment around Australia, especially more young Australians. What we’ve seen over the years is too much training for trainings sake, too many people churned through programmes where they’re given some sort of training, but there’s no job at the end of it.
The type of programme we’re supporting now and rolling out as a pilot around Australia is because we want to be innovative in the way we support getting people in to work. We want to try new ways to find the best way possible to help young people get the training required that gives them a job at the end of their training. So, these programmes will be run across two separate types of activities: One is an industry based employment activity that will be run across eleven pilot locations around Australia, where an employer can take a young unemployed person, give them up to $7,500 worth of training and from that training they will then commit to employ them for a 12 month period. The other is an opportunity, an opportunity for a community or service organisation to, again, connect with a young disengaged, unemployed person and give them the training and the funding support to steer them back either in to employment or back in to school or in to some form of vocational education and training.
Together, we will be supporting 22 sites of activity for the youth pilot and 11 sites of activity for the industry pilot, with some overlap between the two, so we can test whether a combination of those models potentially works best. In total we’re investing more than $40 million in this activity, which we hope will support around 10 thousand young people, young Australians, in areas outside of the inner cities in outer metropolitan areas and in regional areas in Australia where we see serious problems of youth unemployment. These areas have been targeted and selected because they have the highest levels of youth unemployment, because they have large numbers of unemployed youth, but also because we think there is the opportunity and the potential to place these young people in jobs if we give them the right skills, the right training and the right support. As an example, Cairns has the worst youth unemployment of any of the areas we have selected. In excess of 20% of young people in the Cairns region are unemployed, that is completely unacceptable. There are, of course, opportunities in regions like Cairns; the tourism industries, the agricultural industries, the education industry. Real opportunities to try to give people a leg up and a helping hand in to work, and that’s what these programmes are about, giving young people the skills required to be able to get a job, get off on their first job and get a start in life. I look forward to visiting many of the regions, we of course will be undertaking a proper evaluation of these pilot programmes and if they are successful then I hope that we will be able to roll them out to further locations around Australia. Thank you.