The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor, today met with a delegation of young carers and heard about the challenges they face in balancing work and caring responsibilities.
The young carers are attending the Bring It! Young Carers Forum 2008 at Parliament House, Canberra.
Mr O’Connor said young carers play a major role in the community but often face difficulties in gaining or maintaining employment and undertaking study.
A recent Access Economics study found just 19.2 per cent of all carers worked full time compared to the Australian average of 42 per cent.
“Young carers have a very important role in the community caring for people who are unable to care for themselves,” Mr O’Connor said.
“However the cost of their caring responsibilities is they often are unable to balance work full time or study and young carers are at high risk of not making the successful transition from school to further education or work.
“All Australians should have the opportunity to build a rewarding social and economic life and having a job is one of the best routes to social inclusion and well being.”
Mr O’Connor said a lack of vocational skills was a significant barrier to employment.
“To help people, such as young carers, to gain the vocational skills needed to gain lasting employment, the Government has allocated 253,000 training places over five years to people outside the workforce under our Productivity Places Program.”
“The Government is also introducing new employment services from July 1 2009 that will provide more tailored assistance for each job seeker.
“The new employment services will provide the right mix of training, work experience and other support to help job seekers find a keep a job.”