The statistics are troubling: Nearly 30% of Australia’s young people are currently experiencing unemployment or underemployment. In fact, the unemployment rate for youth (ages 15-24) is 12% higher than for any other age group. But there is hope. And there is help.
United Way Australia, with support from the Citi Foundation in Australia, is mobilizing schools, community groups and businesses to improve school-to-work transitions and substantially increase youth employment. One way they’re doing this is through mentorship. Australians who have excelled in school and launched careers are volunteering to help students build the skills, confidence and connections necessary to successfully transition from school to work.
United Way-led collaborations in struggling communities are providing 1,100+ students with corporate mentors, connections to the business community and positive work experiences. Approximately 190 corporate volunteer mentors are teaching resume writing, leading mock interview workshops, offering industry tours and work-readiness training, and co-designing transition-to-work plans for students. These efforts are targeted at vulnerable youth in the seventh or eighth year of school, before they start to disengage. And it’s working.
“I’ve gone from thinking of work as a chore, to thinking of it as something I can’t wait to do. Now I’m actively looking for university courses and trying to picture my ideal career path,” said Jack, who is benefiting from United Way’s Ready to Succeed Toolkit, which helps students improve their pathways to employment.
Volunteers are finding similar value. Misha, an employee of Fuji Xerox Australia, adds, “Working with the kids has been phenomenal for me. If you can break through to one child and put them on the right path, it’s rewarding.”
Every year, United Way and our volunteers help more than 2 million youth worldwide gain the confidence and credentials they need to succeed in work, school and life. Your local United Way can help you and your company support the workforce of tomorrow.