WORKING IT OUT: Rhylee Wiedman and Tayla Dennis are now increasing their skillset through training.
WORKING IT OUT: Rhylee Wiedman and Tayla Dennis are now increasing their skillset through training. Alexia Austin

Finding a job is tough work

IF you are struggling to find a job then the bad news is you are not alone.

And it is even harder if you are looking for your first job.

Youth unemployment in the outback is reaching critical levels with a recent report indicating that two in three people aged 15-24 were out of work.

It's a reality Golden West Apprenticeships CEO Camille Johnson sees every day.

"Since 2013, apprenticeships for commencements for the Maranoa region have declined by over 63 per cent.”

Golden West Apprenticeships is a non-profit organisation specialising in the group employment of apprentices and trainees and their data shows a large decline in training positions that are essential for non-skilled youth to enter the job market.

Over a three year period, the number of young people starting traineeships and apprenticeship in the Maranoa has dropped from 785 in 2013 to 282 people in 2016.

Ms Johnson said the decrease was due to a multitude of factors with one of the main causes of instability to the apprenticeship system was the reliability and relevancy of training delivered by registered training providers.

"One of the greatest obstacles is the accessibility of higher level education and training opportunities through regional service providers.

"The local training programs need to be relevant and linked to employment opportunities, particularly where there are skill shortages.”

The government's small area labour market report reveals the unemployment rate in the Maranoa region has increased from 2.4 per cent in 2016 to 3.4 per cent in 2017.

It's a similar story in Balonne and Charleville.

The Balonne region has seen an unemployment increase of 1.6 per cent, from 3.7 per cent in 2016 to 5.2 per cent in 2017, while Charleville has seen little fluctuation over the same period, remaining at 8 per cent.

Ms Johnson said the increase could benefit employers in smaller communities, as it increased the number of possible candidates applying for work.

The recently released Brotherhood of St Lawrence found that two in every three people aged 15-24 in Queensland's outback were out of work, with the unemployment rate topping 67 per cent for that age group.

But the news is not quite as bleak as it first appears.

The outback classification encompasses a large geographical area, which includes St George and Charleville, as well as northern towns such as Mt Isa and Cape York.

"The further west you get there are lessened opportunities,” Ms Johnson said, helping put the statistics into perspective.

"As a community if we continue to demonstrate strong leadership around skills development and employment opportunities we can grow together - but there are some issues we need to solve.

"The current rate of skills development, investment and attraction is not sufficient to replenish the labour and skill shortage caused by youth migration and retiring persons.

"If investment is not made to address the future demand for skills, opportunities for future development and also regional liveability will be impacted.

"As a community if we continue to demonstrate strong leadership around skills development and employment opportunities we can grow together - but there are some issues we need to solve.”

Ms Johnson added that although prospects were unsteady, the start of 2018 had brought with it some good news for job seekers.

"On a positive note - our apprentice and trainee commencements for the first quarter of 2018 have increased by 38.8 per cent compared to last year. So we are seeing the start of a greater appetite for skills development and training opportunities locally.”

GETTNG STARTED: Tayla Dennis and Rhylee Wiedman have taken on traineeships after months of job hunting.
GETTNG STARTED: Tayla Dennis and Rhylee Wiedman have taken on traineeships after months of job hunting. Alexia Austin

Tayla Dennis

Tayla Dennis turned to a tourism traineeship after months on the job hunt.

"I'm a tourism trainee with the Maranoa Regional Council and I worked at the local IGA previously,” Ms Dennis said. "Before (working at IGA) I was applying for jobs for quite a while, cold calling up to 20 businesses a month.

"I couldn't get anything, and I felt anxious, because I knew most of the jobs I was applying to they wanted a certain skills set I didn't have.

"At that point I decided to go back to study, to better my skills, and started a Cert I business traineeship with Golden West. "I know of a few who have had issues getting work, it all depends on what you want to do.

"For some of my friends looking for more meaningful jobs, rather than part time positions, it's more difficult.”

Rhylee Wiedman

School leaver Rhylee Wiedman shared a similar tale, speaking on her decision to join a traineeship program in business administration.

"I graduated last year, and because I hadn't had a job before I thought it was a good idea to go for a administration traineeship, which would help to give me options,” she said.

"A heap of my friends have left town, there's only a couple still here and quite a few are still looking for jobs. Most of them left to go to uni or the main cities.”


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