The ACTU welcomes Labor’s announcement of a $700 million program to guarantee jobs and training for young people in light of data showing the unemployment rate for early school leavers is up to 8 times higher than for those who complete year 12.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said:

“We have known for some time that the situation for young people who leave school early is very bad and yet very little has been done.

Only 80% of young Australians complete Year 12 or a VET qualification – this is well behind major OECD countries such as France, Canada, the US, Germany and Japan.

Research shows that seven years after leaving school:

  • The rate of unemployment for young women who leave school in year 9 is 60%.
  • For young men who leave school early, 21% are unemployed.
  • Whereas only 7% of young people that complete year 12 are
  • A low level of education has a long term effect on the life chances of young Australians and severely limits their job prospects.

    Low educational attainment also hurts the economy by limiting labour force participation and depriving industry of valuable skills development.

    Labor’s new Youth Guarantee program – ‘Learn or Earn’ – is a welcome new package of proposals that includes:

  • 20,000 new TAFE places, the abolition of TAFE fees for secondary school
    students and 15,000 new vocational training places.
  • 7,500 new apprenticeships for 15 – 18 year olds in areas of skills shortages
    or job vacancies ie, traditional trades, child care and aged care.
  • One-on-one mentoring to young people at risk as well as training incentives
    of up to $10,000 and wage subsidies to help early school leavers into
  • Labor’s commitment to new opportunities for young people contrasts strongly with the Government’s cut in funding for the New Apprenticeships Program in Tuesday’s Budget.”