Helping early school leavers into jobs

Media Release
  • Minister for Employment
  • Minister for Women
  • Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
  • Senator for Western Australia

Young Australians aged 15 to 21 years, who haven’t completed Year 12 will need to continue their education or look for work to receive Youth Allowance, under the Engaging Early School Leavers initiative now underway.

Minister for Employment Senator Michaelia Cash welcomed the initiative and the outcomes it will deliver for at risk young job seekers.

“There is strong evidence that young people who disengage from education or the labour market are at risk of long term unemployment,” Minister Cash said.

The initiative is part of the Australian Government’s Youth Employment Strategy, announced in the 2015-16 Budget. By requiring early school leavers to study or look for work, we can improve their chances of finding long term employment.

Early school leavers will be expected to look for work if they are not undertaking:
• full-time education; or
• a combination of education and paid work for at least 25 hours a week (or 15 hours for principal carer parents and people with a partial work capacity).

These early school leavers will be given tailored assistance in their search for a job through jobactive.

jobactive will continue to support young people who want to complete Year 12. Under the changes, the $1000 payment to jobactive providers when an early school leaver achieves Year 12 (or Certificate III), will be extended from 15-17 years olds to 15-21 year olds.

“Currently, early school leavers are encouraged to gain a Year 12 or equivalent qualification; however, we know this pathway does not suit all young people on their journey into work,” Minister Cash said.

“That is why we’re investing $13.5 million in the Engaging Early School Leavers initiative to support young people who are not undertaking study to actively look for full-time work.

"More than two-thirds of early school leavers receiving Youth Allowance are not studying towards Year 12 (or equivalent). We are not prepared to stand by while a generation of young Australians remains without gainful employment.”

The Engaging Early School Leavers initiative is one in a range of programmes the Government is running to help young people get into work, including:

• $322 million Transition to Work service to help those aged 15 to 21 who are out of work and not engaged in education with intensive, pre-employment support to improve their work readiness, including apprenticeships, traineeships or education.

• $50 million Empowering YOUth Initiative to support young people at risk of welfare dependency into work by inviting not-for-profit community organisations to put forward proposals for innovative ideas that offer a different approach to those currently available.

• Work for the Dole, part of jobactive, helps people aged 18 and over gain the skills they need to become work-ready.

• The National Work Experience Programme which aims to build confidence and  real life work experience of job seekers and prepare them to meet expectations of employers by undertaking volunteer work experience with for-profit, not-for-profit and Government organisations for up to 25 hours per week for a maximum of four weeks per placement.

• $224 million over four years for the Job Commitment Bonus which provides up to $6,500 to Australians aged 18 to 30, who have been on certain income support payments for 12 months or more, to find and keep a job while remaining off income support.

For further information on the Engaging Early School Leavers initiative visit the Department of Employment or the Department of Human Services websites.

For more information

Media line: (02) 6240 8667, media@employment.gov.au