Published by: The Daily Liberal 

UNEMPLOYMENT in NSW is now well below 5 per cent and jobs creation over the past 12 months is at record levels. Mission accomplished? Not quite.


Businesses across NSW face a real challenge in securing qualified staff. Right across NSW skill shortages are one of the biggest issues facing almost every business. However, despite these shortages we have a youth unemployment rate in the double digits and in some regional areas of NSW, youth unemployment exceeds 20 per cent.


Fortunately, rates in the Central West are lower at 8 per cent and in the Far West and Orana it is 4.7 per cent. That said, there is always more that can be done to help our local youth secure meaningful employment and contribute to our regional communities.


Sadly more often than not young jobseekers don’t have the right raining or skills to secure job opportunities. To make matters worse, many young job seekers have incurred debt completing training that will not assist them in securing a meaningful career.


Providing the skills and training necessary to overcome barriers to securing employment should be the number one priority of the next government of NSW.


We need to address the perceptions of Vocational Education and Training (VET). This can be done by providing parents and students with the facts and more contemporary advice on where the job opportunities are today and in the future. Importantly, we need to provide more flexible pathways that promote the value, importance and opportunities provided by trades training.


Addressing skill shortages and tacking youth unemployment must be a priority for all sides of politics. The NSW Business Chamber is calling for additional measures to help address this issue these include a new $100 million dollar youth re-engagement fund to get young people back into training and into work, a target of 20,000 school based apprenticeships and traineeships to be delivered over the next four years.


Skilling NSW for the future and tackling youth unemployment is key to keeping NSW the Number 1 economy in Australia.


Opinion piece by: Vicki Seccombe, Western NSW Business Chamber

Published by: The Daily Liberal