Hume named as youth unemployment hot spot

Hume suburbs including Broadmeadows, Craigieburn, Roxburgh Park and Coolaroo, have been named as hot spots for youth unemployment in a new Brotherhood of  St Laurence report.

The report, which tracked youth unemployment across the country, found that youth unemployment in Melbourne’s north-west, including parts of Hume, had reached 17.5 per cent in January up from 14.4 per cent in 2016.

The report found the north-western suburbs had one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Victoria, behind the western suburbs, where 18.7 per cent of young people are jobless.

The state’s youth unemployment rate is 13.1 per cent.

Brotherhood of St Laurence executive director Conny Lenneberg said the report exposed rising youth unemployment rates.

“In our prosperous country, it’s very worrying when we have more than a quarter of a million young people in the labour force who are unemployed,” she said.

“Youth unemployment hotspots in outer suburbs and rural areas are carrying the heaviest burden. Disadvantaged young people, in particular, are facing barriers in their effort to secure work.

“To meet this challenge, we need action from governments as well as tapping into effort of employers in local communities.”

Hume Whittlesea Local Learning and Employment Network’s executive officer for Hume, Nicky Leitch said youth unemployment in the north-west was historically higher than many other areas.

Ms Leitch said addressing unemployment issue was one of the “greatest challenges” for organisations working with young people.

Two Transition to Work programs that help young people develop job-ready skills are operating in Hume, while there are also 35 employment providers working to support the municipality’s youth, according to Hume Whittlesea LLEN.

“We are very much trying to break the stereotype. We believe postcodes don’t define us,” Ms Leitch said.

“We are seeing a number of graduates who are finding it challenging to find work. We want young people to realise their transferable skills … we need our schools to do more to ensure our kids are ready for the future work force.”