Release type: Transcript


2CC Breakfast with Stephen Cenatiempo


The Hon Luke Howarth MP
Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services

SUBJECTS: ACT Jobs Fair; youth employment


STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Luke Howarth is the Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services and the man behind this Jobs Fair, and he’s with us in the studio. G’day Luke.

LUKE HOWARTH: G’day, how are you going?

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Very well. The employment situation is probably a lot better than you might have expected it was going to be coming out of this COVID crisis. And whilst we’re not quite out of it yet, things are looking like they’re moving in the right direction.

LUKE HOWARTH: Yes. Look, they’re definitely moving in the right direction with the national employment rate down to 5.8 per cent. But the youth unemployment rate is higher than that and we want to continue to see jobs and people take them up right around the country. Here in the ACT, doing better than anywhere else in the country, actually. The unemployment rate here is adjusted to 4.4 per cent, against the national rate of 5.8 per cent. But at the end of the day, we want to see everyone employed, everyone that wants to work into a job. And that’s what the Morrison Government’s focus is on.

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: But youth unemployment is not a COVID problem, it’s been an ongoing problem particularly in certain parts of regional Australia. Given that we've seen more and more people moving out of the cities into regional areas these days, is that having any impact or is it exacerbating the problem or is it improving the situation?

LUKE HOWARTH: It’s not exacerbating the problem at the moment because the youth unemployment rate has fallen recently from about 12 per cent down to about eight. So that's a good thing. It's moving in the right direction. But we all know that we want to get young people into work because it develops good habits earlier on and we want people to be self-sufficient. We want people to be able to wake up on a Monday morning, have somewhere to go. And I think it's just so important. The stats show that if people are unemployed and dependent on government and are for a few years, then they tend to be on it for life. So it's very important to get people into work as early as possible once they're unemployed.

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: So what's the purpose of this Jobs Fair? Is this literally about putting employers in front potential employees?

LUKE HOWARTH: Absolutely, because not everyone knows what employers look for when hiring. Like, it's so easy, and just to meet some of the mutual obligations to send away a resume. And if you're not successful, often you don't know, some employers won't write back and even tell you. So, putting employees directly with employers and understanding what employers look for when hiring is just so important. And for job seekers listening, they will learn a lot tomorrow. So if they can get to this ACT Jobs Fair with over 1100 jobs on offer, it'll be worthwhile.

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: So I think it's a fantastic idea and should probably be an ongoing thing. Talk us through some of the organisations that are involved in this.

LUKE HOWARTH: Yeah, well, it is actually an ongoing thing. I'll be rolling these out right around the country. We're going to Tasmania to do one in Davenport and Hobart soon. We're going to Perth. They'll be up in Brisbane. So, right around the country this year, I'll be at these job fairs. We've also done some online recently as well, last week throughout Queensland. But there's over 40, 42 exhibitors that will be there. 

There's the Australian Bureau of Statistics because the Federal Government operates a census, which will be done later this year, so that we're looking for field managers and field officers for the census. There's Apprenticeship Careers Australia, heaps of apprentices on offer tomorrow. I think there's at least 30 carpenter, butcher, landscaper and mechanics, apprentice bricklayers. There's Australian training companies with carpentry, aged care assistants, business admin, capital region community services. We're looking for group facilitators, room leaders, marketing, handypersons, Chemist Warehouse Group. So, pharmacy assistants, dispenser technician, intern pharmacists. Compass Group Australia are looking for chefs, kitchen hands, food and beverage attendants and wait staff. Early childhood education and support workers. 

We've got real estate agent, Luton Real Estate who are looking for sales agents, but also property managers. So, property manager’s a great role. People rent, need to be able to manage those properties for landlords, and that's very much a customer focussed type role. There's others as well, including aged care assistants, housekeeping, tyre fitters, cafe intern, apprentice hairdressers, door installers, MC truck drivers. There's Nishi Hotel, Ovolo Nishi Hotel, who are after breakfast supervisors, food and beverage assistants, and then the Snowy Monaro Regional Council too, the Regional Council, who are after admin officers, clinical support leads. And there's a whole lot of jobs there as well.

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: So people who are coming along, so prospective job seekers do need to register for this event, happening from 9am to 4pm tomorrow at the Coorong Pavilion at EPIC.

LUKE HOWARTH: [Interrupts] I mean, they could rock up on the day, but we'd prefer them to register. And so just with COVID safety and everything, so otherwise they’ll have to do it at the door. But the website where they can register is, which stands for ACT Jobs Fair. So I’ll leave that with you in case anyone needs it.

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Now, before getting into politics, you were involved in the music business. Do you advise anyone to get in music or politics?

LUKE HOWARTH: I was actually involved in the pest control business straight beforehand, which comes in handy down here…

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: [Talks over] Indeed. [Laughs]

LUKE HOWARTH: But I was in the music business. My first job out of school was at Toombul Music. I got that job because I had a black belt in judo and the employer there, Barry Bull, anyone who lived in Brisbane who- it was a great music shop in the ‘80s and ‘90s. He said to me, Luke, if you've got a black belt in judo and you've stuck at judo for 20 years, you must have a bit of commitment and you're going to be a good employee. So, he gave me my first start at 18, 19, and that was great. I learnt how to sell. It’s helped me in everything that I do.

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Well, I hope this job fair goes well, and I wish you the best of luck with the others that are rolling out around Australia. So, it's happening tomorrow, 9am to 4pm at EPIC in the Coorong Pavilion. Register at DESE, The ACT Jobs Fair on tomorrow at Exhibition Park.

LUKE HOWARTH: [Interrupts] And there’s one more thing, I’d just- I thank the DESE staff, the department I work in. They've done a great job pulling all this together. But also if people have applied for jobs and missed out and never heard anything back or got an interview, bring your resume along, because we're going to actually be teaching people about what needs to go in that resume. Sometimes less is better. If you're not giving an interview, that says to me there's something a matter with the resume. So, you know, we'd love to see you tomorrow. I'll be there. Also, Minister Michaelia Cash will be there, and Senator Jim [Molan].

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Excellent. Luke Howarth, good to speak to you this morning.

LUKE HOWARTH: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: That’s Luke Howarth, the Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services.