Politics & Policies

Youth Guarantee in Australia – The National Youth Commission Australia (NYCA) lays out a framework of reforms


Many young people successfully navigate their way from education to employment and independence, but many get left behind. This Inquiry by the National Youth Commission Australia (NYCA) was prompted by our concern that an increasing number of young people are struggling to make this transition. It also addresses the lack of any major initiative by Australian governments to investigate and address these escalating problems.
Australia’s future well-being and standard of living will depend critically on the next generation of young people. The Youth Futures Guarantee lays out a framework of reforms and initiatives that will support young people meet the great challenges of the future, but these also benefit Australian businesses and the wider Australian community.

The current labour market status of young people

The national unemployment rate for people aged 15 to 24 years is consistently double that of the average national rate for people aged 25 to 64.
Young people represent less than one-fi h of the total labour force yet comprise more than one third of all unemployed people. They are also particularly affected by underemployment, wanting more hours of work than they currently have.
Traditional employment pathways have eroded, with a sharp decrease in the number of young people in full-time work. Far from being a choice away from full-time work, recent research shows that young workers continue to desire full-time, secure employment.

As the economy recovers from the COVID–19 pandemic, young people will have to deal with a labour market in which secure jobs continue to
give way to casual and part-time work, short-term contracts and freelance work.

About the Inquiry

The National Youth Commission Australia Inquiry is an independent, non-partisan community Inquiry focused on the challenges faced by young people preparing to enter the workforce. The Commission has drawn together the lived experience and expertise of diverse young people from across Australia, along with input from local communities and professionals who study and work with young people.
This Inquiry has been independently funded and supported by over 130 community groups. The Commissioners, including Youth Commissioners, travelled to 23 locations across Australia over a total of 47 days, hearing testimony from 336 individuals and organisations.

At the same time, the Commission organised 70 discussion groups with over 800 people. Of the 1200 people whom Commissioners and workshop leaders met face-to-face, more than half were young people of school age or in early adulthood, both in and out of the workforce.

Purpose of this Youth Futures Guarantee paper

This is a discussion paper to inspire and inform a broad community conversation involving young people and other stakeholders about what the future needs to be for young people to have a supported transition to sustainable livelihoods and a career and life that they aspire to and deserve. This is a challenge to which we must rise. So much depends on getting it right.


The economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate many of the challenges facing young people today. Deterioration of the labour market and projected sharp increases in youth unemployment and underemployment will add to the long-standing structural obstacles that have prevented too many young people from making a successful transition from school to work.

As governments and businesses grapple with a long-term economic downturn and associated increase in unemployment, there is a high risk that a growing number of young people will lose contact with the labour force. Long periods out of the workforce result in the atrophy of vocational skills and a loss of confi Even after economic growth begins to return in Australia, many small businesses may be unable to take advantage of the recovery.

The labour market challenges facing young people are complex, and each person’s needs will be affected by various factors of their background that intersect. Responses must be informed by understanding such multi-dimensional circumstances, which can work either to strengthen or undermine successful transitions from education to work.
Throughout the NYCA inquiry some clear messages were reiterated over and over about the key foundational pillars required for young people to transition successfully through these critical stages in their lives: from school to further education and training, from education and training to a working life, and into independent living.

We propose that Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments agree to commit to – and resource – a Youth Futures Guarantee built on these nine pillars. This would call for a wide range of activities and interventions to address the range of factors negatively impacting on young people’s transition to independence. A critical factor will be the alignment and coordination of investment in training, skills and employment policies and programs to enable all young people to reach their full potential.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Youth Futures Guarantee: a new deal for young people

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