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Jobs Commitment engages youth with workforce

Jobs Commitment
The number of youth engaged with the workforce has dramatically increased since the launch of Bundaberg Regional Council's Jobs Commitment Program. Pictured; Gin Gin State High School students taking part in a Jobs Commitment workshop.

The number of youth disengaged with the workforce in the Bundaberg Region is the lowest it has been in five years proving the success of Council’s Jobs Commitment program.

The latest data reveals the dramatic reduction in youth disengagement at local schools, from 29 per cent mid-2020 to 15 per cent in 2020.

Additionally, of the six state high schools throughout the region, youth engagement in further education or work after leaving school had increased to 85 per cent.

The Education Queensland statistics are taken annually from school leavers surveyed six months after completing high school.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said this dramatic turnaround in youth engagement with the workforce coincided with the introduction of Bundaberg Regional Council’s Jobs Commitment Program.

A collaboration between local employers, high schools, and the Council, the program aims to break the cycle of youth unemployment by providing a disengaged young person with a minimum of four positive exposures with an employer before leaving school.

Research suggests that this exposure reduces the chances of remaining disengaged when they leave school – and likely becoming unemployed – from about 50% to just 10%.

“I’m proud the Bundaberg Jobs Commitment has played a role in driving change,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“This is the best predictor that young people are likely to have a lifetime of full-time work instead of unemployment.

“This type of early intervention provides one of the largest social and economic returns on investment that any government could hope for.”

He said the Bundaberg Region had long held the stigma of high rates of youth unemployment but it was reflective of the level of disengagement with the workforce rather than a lack of opportunity.

“Almost every employer told us they had jobs available and were ready to give young people a start,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Every local education and training organisation had a willingness and funding to help train our young people.

“In response to this, and in partnership with local employers and high schools, Council designed the Bundaberg Jobs Commitment.”

The program involves recruiting employers to commit their time to engage with students. It also involves high schools connecting employers with schools on a larger scale than previously occurred.

“So far, more than 110 Bundaberg employers and all nine high schools have pledged to the Jobs Commitment,” he said.

“One of the most impressive elements of the Jobs Commitment has been the willingness and passion of local employers to support our youth.

“It’s an understanding and ownership of the challenge of youth unemployment as a community and business issue.

“This ownership reflects the great spirit of our region and is a testament to many local employers who volunteer their time every week to achieve the mission of the Bundaberg Jobs Commitment.”

Mayor Dempsey said the Bundaberg Regional Council Jobs Commitment model was now being adopted by other regions and he was hopeful that more funding and support could see the program expanded.

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