City of Newcastle is calling on local organisations to expand opportunities for young people as youth unemployment approaches 20%.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes launched the Greater Newcastle Youth Employment Charter today on behalf of the City Taskforce, which was established to battle the effects of COVID-19.
“The local youth unemployment rate has hit 19.8%, well above the state’s 13.5%, and now two in five people under the age of 25 are not working the hours they would like to in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie,” she said.
“The Hunter has a higher proportion of people aged 15 to 24 years working in the accommodation, food, retail, arts, and recreation services than many other parts of Australia.”
Organisations across the region can engage with the charter by making five commitments regarding youth employment, youth training, youth voice, youth support, and youth celebration.
“Developed with our charter partners, we are hoping it will be recognised and signed up to by the businesses in Newcastle that are able to trade through COVID-19 successfully and then focus their business and activities on supporting young people and jobs for young people in the city,” Cr Nelmes said.
City of Newcastle is doing its part – it currently employs 30 apprentices and trainees, and is looking to take on more early next year.
“We already have a program in place, what we are looking to do now is expand that program and extend it to other areas in council,” Cr Nelmes said.
Several organisations have already pledged to prioritise professional development opportunities for young people by expanding trainee, apprenticeship, and graduate positions.
One of those is the Port of Newcastle.
Chief Executive Craig Carmody said it was important that the region’s businesses made a commitment to creating opportunities for young people.
“These are challenging times and our youth need opportunities to build technical skills and knowledge so they can contribute to the region’s economic recovery and long-term prosperity,” he said.
“By giving opportunities to new businesses coming to the port to use our land and resources, we want to grow other businesses through the port and, from that, hopefully part of the solution will be youth employment.
“Our vision is that youth trained in STEM disciplines can look forward to local, highly technical roles requiring years of training and attracting higher wages – these roles could be working directly at the new multi-purpose deepwater terminal or in any of the many associated businesses and operators spawned from its operation.”
All Greater Newcastle organisations are encouraged to sign the Youth Unemployment Charter.
Visit City of Newcastle’s website for more information.