City of Newcastle is working to tackle youth unemployment, with COVID-19 taking a terrible toll.
The Hunter Research Foundation says 18.7% of young people aged between 15 to 24 in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie are now unemployed.
On a whole, the unemployment rate for Newcastle and Lake Macquarie jumped from 3.6% in January to 7.7% in April, with 9,900 people estimated to have lost their jobs between March and April.
The COVID-19 City Taskforce is working to address the issue, through its team of 17 leaders and CEOs, who deliver localised responses to economic and social challenges posed by the pandemic.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said those employed in the city’s tourism, hospitality and retail sectors have been hardest hit.
“This has been a driving force behind the Taskforce’s advocacy work, directing support where it’s most needed,” she said.
Since its inaugural meeting on 17 April, the taskforce has jointly penned a letter to New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, urging the NSW Government to consider the plight of international students in the COVID-19 climate –many of whom have lost casual jobs and are unable to return home –and provide urgent financial assistance.
“No economy is prepared to deal with the fallout from a global pandemic,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
“However, owing to City of Newcastle’s strong financial position going into COVID-19, we are committed to delivering a record capital works program next year as part of our broader range of community support, which will help create local jobs and provide training to ensure our youth have the necessary skills to be employable in the emerging economy.
“This in addition to our joint advocacy work with the City Taskforce, neighbouring Councils and State and Federal members to attract stimulus funding for catalyst areas, including the Newcastle Airport expansion and Port of Newcastle diversification, on top of the City’s $2.5 million investment in graduate, apprentice and trainee recruitment this financial year.”