Man standing alone

Call to improve services for the young

CORNERSTONE Youth Services chief executive David O’Sign believes the accessibility of services for young people should be a high priority.

Mr O’Sign was responding to a Mission Australia report released on Monday that looked at the aspirations of young people in relation to the socio-economic status of the area in which people live.

The report found that those from a lower socio-economic area broke the stereotype of being ‘‘lazy and lacking in motivation’’, and they desired things that all young people do, such as a good job and financial security.

But their environment can impact these desires, he said.

‘‘If these people are motivated to make a change to their situation, then they need to know what services are there,’’ Mr O’Sign said.

‘‘I don’t know if that is always clear, so it is something we could be doing better.

‘‘The challenge for us is to look at what programs we can put into place to assist with that.’’

Youth Network of Tasmania chief executive Joanna Siejka said she believed young Tasmanians, no matter their background, ‘‘were very motivated to achieve and to do their best’’.

‘‘[But] young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds may face challenges on a daily basis, such as bullying or family conflict, that make it difficult for young people to think that they are able to get through and achieve things such as financial security, making these aspirations very important for these young people,’’ Ms Siejka said.

‘‘If young people have a supportive environment, they have the ability to overcome some of these challenges and focus on realising their dreams.’’

Mission Australia state director Noel Munday said support should include more intensive career advice, access to mentoring and work experience opportunities.

Better access to extra-curricular activities to build young people’s networks and investing in young people from early childhood when ‘‘the returns are highest’’, particularly for vulnerable children, were other suggestions.

‘‘With a youth unemployment rate in Tasmanian of 17 per cent – higher than any other state – we should be ensuring young people have the skills and experience to take on the jobs of tomorrow when our economy picks up,’’ he said.

Courtesy of The Examiner