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Federal finances: $46.8m program to help ‘disengaged’ youth start work

“Disengaged” young people will be given mentoring and hands-on learning experience to help them enter the workforce under a new $46.8m pre-employment program to be included in the upcoming federal budget.

The new “ReBoot” program will aim to help 5000 people aged 15 to 24 by providing up to three months of initiatives through not-for-profit organisations to help them overcome barriers to getting a job.

The $46.8m funding commitment over four years equates to an investment of about $9300 per individual at a high risk of long-term unemployment.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the ReBoot program was a “historic opportunity to get more people off welfare and into work” after the unemployment rate fell to a 14-year low of 4 per cent.

Employment and Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert said the program – to be rolled out from early 2023 – would directly target teens and young adults who didn’t show a “positive attitude” or “reliability”.

He said these traits were the highest priority for employers when deciding whether to offer a young person an entry-level job.

“Young people who do not exhibit characteristics such as a positive attitude and reliability are generally disengaged and not actively participating in employment or training pathways, however the Morrison government’s ReBoot will directly target this group,” he said.

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Camera IconThe ReBoot program would aim to support people who are disengaged and disadvantaged. Credit: News Corp Australia

“ReBoot will engage with disadvantaged and disengaged young Australians in initiatives of up to 12 weeks, to build their capability and aspirations.

“It will provide tailored, community-focused early interventions, which may range from hands-on learning and mentoring to work experience through engagement with industry, thereby supporting those most vulnerable to long-term unemployment.

“Participants will then be in a better position to engage with existing youth employment programs to continue their pathway to training or employment.”

Mr Frydenberg said the wanted to make sure young Australians could overcome barriers to starting a job, especially since the pandemic put off young people’s opportunities of beginning work.

“The government’s economic plan is working and this announcement builds on our commitment to deliver generational skilling for our young Australians, not generational scarring,” he said.

Camera IconTreasurer Josh Frydenberg said the aim was to bring unemployment down even lower through tailored support. NCA NewsWire/Sarah Matray Credit: News Corp Australia

“Good physical and mental health, exercise and social connectedness are critical to maintaining wellbeing, resilience and the positive attitude necessary to overcome the challenge of long-term unemployment.

“With job advertisements at their highest level since August 2008 and more people getting into work, the government is delivering on our plan for a stronger future.”

A federal Education Department analysis of people looking for work found that many were not ready for a job because they lacked confidence, had high levels of anxiety and poor communication skills.

Camera IconEmployment Minister Stuart Robert said the program would be directly targeted at people who didn’t exhibit a positive attitude or reliability. NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services, Luke Howarth, said the ReBoot program complemented other measures like the Youth Jobs PaTH program, which pays businesses $1000 for every intern on a Centrelink payment they train.

The plan would be for a person to move into a program like this after they completed ReBoot.

A competitive procurement process will select expert not-for-profit organisations to deliver ReBoot initiatives.

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