Published on Nov 30, 2015
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More than 100 people packed Kurri Kurri TAFE’s conference room last week to find solutions to drive down the Hunter Valley’s youth unemployment rate which currently sits at 21.2 per cent.
Cessnock City Mayor Councillor Bob Pynsent opened the Hunter Valley Youth Unemployment Symposium, with an outline of the statistics and facts from the symposium discussion paper before asking attendees to reflect upon the human side of youth unemployment.
“When we talk about youth unemployment we are talking about our children, our grandchildren, nieces and nephews – the stewards of our region’s future,” Cr Pynsent said.
Cr Pynsent highlighted the strengths of the region and the opportunities for employment offered by Australia’s growing international tourism market and demand from the services sector before delivering a message of hope.
“While we can trace our current predicament back to a number of factors including the legacy left behind by reliance upon the mining industry, we do not have to allow this legacy to be the author of our youth’s future,” Cr Pynsent said.
“That is why we are all here today – to lay the foundation for a robust strategy and action plan to tackle youth unemployment, to work together to create long-term solutions.”
Five key themes emerged as delegates worked to identify the issues:
• Mobility and transport
• Youth transitions and pathways
• Supporting business to hire more young people
• Skills, training and education
• Generational disadvantage
As work turned toward finding solutions, the need for coordinated inter-agency collaboration and communication was highlighted.
The symposium wrapped with pages of potential solutions including innovative ideas around using technology to create carpooling networks and establishing community-based technology, training and resource hubs.
In her address at the symposium, the NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs praised the detail contained in the discussion paper and said resources were available to implement an innovative strategy with effective tactics.
A strategic plan is being prepared and will be based upon detailed analysis of all issues and solutions conceived by symposium delegates on the day.
Read the 2015 Hunter Valley Youth Unemployment discussion paper.
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