Transport woes hitting young job-seekers, says study

by L&D22 Nov 2016
A new study has found that the efforts of young people to find and maintain work are being thwarted by transport limitations.
The report, titled U-Turn: The transport woes of Australia's young jobseekers, showed that 61 per cent of people aged 25 or under did not have a drivers licence, and that up to a quarter cited transport issues as a major barrier to finding employment.
According to the study, the greatest concentration of unemployed young people live on the outskirts of cities or in rural areas where jobs are scarce. For many of these young people, accessing the jobs market in cities is dependent on public transport options. Youth unemployment is nearly 13 per cent, double the national jobless rate.
The report, which surveyed 13,000 people nationally, was compiled by the Brotherhood of St. Laurence. Executive director Tom Nicholson pointed out that a young person's education and willingness to work counts for little when their transport options are limited.
"The issue about transport to get young people connected to jobs is as critical as their training and education to match them to employers," said Nicholson.
"If they don't have transport to look for work then maintain it, their education and training counts for nothing. This hasn't been given enough attention in strategies to tackle youth unemployment.
"This research highlights the extent of the problem and the fact that if we are going to be successful in reducing youth unemployment we need to have a multi-pronged attack on it. One area that hasn't been given enough attention is the transport challenge that is faced by young people."
The fact that affordable housing is concentrated in the outer suburbs of cities, means that youth unemployment, poverty and exclusion are likely to among the hardships facing young people as they seek to join the workforce in the coming years.
In criticising the lack of attention given to transport as a factor in youth unemployment, Nicholson also pointed out that attaining a drivers licence can be a costly, difficult process for some young people in these areas.
"I think we need a fundamental relook at the way in which the burden of getting a drivers licence is falling heavily upon disadvantaged households and young people in the outskirts of city and country areas," he said.