WORK IS WORK: Quinton Hutchinson, 23, is desperate for work to support his daughter Rosalie, who is 2 in July.
WORK IS WORK: Quinton Hutchinson, 23, is desperate for work to support his daughter Rosalie, who is 2 in July. Eliza Goetze

The epidemic facing our young people: unemployment

YOU don't have to look far in Bundaberg to find a young person struggling to find work.

Our region holds one of Australia's highest youth unemployment rates: 19.4% across Wide Bay.

For many, like 23-year-old Quinton Hutchinson, it is a vicious cycle.

He hasn't had full time work since he was 18, running trolleys at IGA North Bundaberg.

"I quite enjoyed that, but I started looking for other jobs when the hours dropped," he said.

Every Tuesday he now attends Job Crew, a support group at Impact, a not-for-profit community service provider.

"We all talk and try to help each other out, but we're all struggling," Mr Hutchinson, of Kalkie, says.

"There are a couple that are over 50 who are struggling, and a few my age.

"We all apply for what we can but a lot of jobs require a lot of experience - and you can't get experience if you don't get the job."

With his daughter Rosalie turning 2 in July, he's already thinking about how they will celebrate.

"With the little one to look after...we struggle as it is. Having to pay for bills and food - they come first."

With more pressing priorities, he also hasn't been able to afford to get his provisional licence, another barrier to employment.

While he enjoys gardening and landscaping most, Quinton has been applying for everything from retail to farm jobs.

"A lot of farms prefer backpackers because they've had trouble in the past with (local) people not turning up. A system where you meet somewhere, get ticked off, and a bus takes you there (would help) - as I've done with work for the dole.

"I don't care if it's seasonal - work is work."

NO LUCK: Summer O'Donnell, 18, and Joan Bowden, 19, are both struggling to find work in the Bundaberg region.
NO LUCK: Summer O'Donnell, 18, and Joan Bowden, 19, are both struggling to find work in the Bundaberg region. Eliza Goetze

Joan Bowden, of Burnett Heads, studies at Tafe and dreams of being a baker, but two years after finishing school the 19-year-old is still out of work. She moved from Tara, near Dalby, six months ago but has found Bundaberg just as difficult.

"I'm with a job agency where we apply for 20 jobs a month. I go and see people, ask if they're hiring and give them my resume - but still no luck," she says.

"You apply for so many jobs and you just get knocked back - it feels like there is no point."

Joan lives with her partner, who is also unemployed, and his sister Summer O'Donnell has also had trouble finding work while dealing with anxiety.



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