Phillip Pullen and Brenton Stephens participate in The Career Training Company’s course, which covers skills in the hospitality and retail trades.
Phillip Pullen and Brenton Stephens participate in The Career Training Company’s course, which covers skills in the hospitality and retail trades. Scottie Simmonds

One in five youths out of work

MORE than one in five 15 to 24-year-olds in the region is out of work, according to the latest figures.

The September statistics show full-time unemployment in the Wide Bay Burnett for people in that age group was 22.7%.

Member for Hinkler Paul Neville said overall, the unemployment rate in the Wide Bay Burnett region was 9.3% in September.

That was four percentage points higher than the September average for Queensland, which was on 5.3%.

Mr Neville said he was disappointed by the figures.

He said training opportunities were important in improving skills, but strong support for small business and new enterprises was the key to creating jobs in regional areas.

The unemployment crisis in the 15 to 24 age group was being targeted by agencies trying to get people into work.

Employment Services Queensland spokesman Gwilym Lewis said it was a priority group.

“If they know what they want to do with their lives that's fantastic,” he said.

“But we have training programs where we go to schools and start talking to them when they're in years 10 or 11 about what they're going to do when they finish school.”

Mr Lewis said the course focused on getting young people to think about what work they wanted to do before they left school.

He said if young people were going to compete in the jobs market, it was important they had some skills.

A spokesman for the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation said 42% of participants across the Skilling Queenslanders for Work range of programs were in the 15 to 24 age group and were one of their main target areas for assistance.

Employment Minister Andrew Fraser said one Skilling Queenslanders for Work program being conducted for young jobseekers in Bundaberg was giving 15 people accredited training at the Bundaberg Basketball Stadium.

Mr Fraser said the state government was committed to tackling unemployment and had allocated $1,619,960 to fund 12 employment projects to help 570 people in the Bundaberg Regional Council area this financial year.

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