Regional Jobs, Underemployment and the Future

Catherine Cusack is keen to see young people engaged in training to be skilled for the jobs of the future. Photo: Marian Sampson.

 

JOBS are a hot topic across the globe as some countries and regions reopen and others are plunged back into lockdown.

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Fortunately for Australia we are seeing positive results with Victoria showing that the virus can be combated and that numbers can be reduced to manageable levels.

This week the federal government has announced that they are starting to manufacture the Oxford University vaccine at CSL Laboratories.

The hope is that all Australians will be able to access the vaccine by the end of 2021.

However jobs are what keeps food on the table and the economy moving.

Here in Port Stephens and on the Myall Coast we are seeing a return of visitation with weekend numbers up creating many part-time jobs particularly in the hospitality and tourism sectors.

For many a part-time job simply isn’t enough to cover the expenses of their household budgets.

Kate Washington member for Port Stephens told News Of The Area, “I feel the hardship is yet to come, there is a lot already and more to come as people lose federal support and people who haven’t got a job or enough work, it is going to become hard for families to get through.”

Historically we can see that recession sees young workers at risk of unemployment and we know that the impact of the economic downturn has been felt hardest by youth and women.

Ms Washington believes that more needs to be done to support these cohorts in the workplace.

”Women have lost more than men and talk of recovery is largely focused on male dominated industries,” she said.

She believes that investing sectors like construction supports the creation of jobs in male dominated industries, while women and young people have also lost work opportunities.

“Giving young people the skills that they need to have fulfilling jobs and to get jobs is critical,” said Washington.

Catherine Cusack MLC for the Hunter also spoke to jobs and the importance of education for youth.

She believes it is important to educate youth and help them to become resilient in the changing job market.

Cusack recognises that women are facing greater employment challenges than men post pandemic.

“There has been a real focus on apprenticeships for young people to try to get over lost opportunities, if a generation of young people miss out and go one or two years unemployment they can face a lifetime of unemployment and hopelessness.

“Port Stephens region is tradie heavy being the workshop for the region and it is great to see that industry supported with apprenticeships.”

Ms Cusack believes there is going to be increased demand for trained staff for homecare packages and in aged care.

“There is, rightly now, a full on focus on aged care and training, and everybody is saying we haven’t done enough to upskill the staff and pay the staff in this sector,” she said.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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