Data analysed through Phase one, provided evidence for both the strengths and in particular, the vulnerabilities of young people in the Local Government Areas (LGA’s) of Greater Shepparton, Moira, and Strathbogie.
Young people are particularly vulnerable when making the transition from school to further education and work.
Factors that make the transition more difficult include:
- Low educational outcomes. Strathbogie, Moira and in particular, Greater Shepparton are below the state average of young people aged 19 years, who have attained year 12 or equivalent.
- A dysfunctional family life. The proportion of young people living in families with healthy family functioning is considerably low.
- Limited support or role modelling to transition successfully from parents/carers. The percentage of young people living in Greater Shepparton, Moira, and Strathbogie Shires, with both parents not working, is above the state average.
- Welfare dependency. The number of young people in receipt of Youth Allowance (other) and JobSeeker (under 25 years), significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. While numbers have decreased, the number of young people still in receipt of Centrelink payments is still significantly high. There is also a significant proportion of young people who have no earnings in addition to their Centrelink payment.
- Levels of young people disengaged, and not in school or employment. The percentage of young people, aged 15-19 not in school or employment, is above the state average.
- A lack of understanding of education and career pathways and lack of essential employability skills, limits young people’s opportunity to transition successfully.
- Cultural factors. Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
- Shepparton and Mooroopna, within the LGA of Greater Shepparton, have the largest Aboriginal population in rural Victoria. 31.8% of young people in receipt of Youth Allowance (other) or JobSeeker payment, identified as Aboriginal.
- Cultural and linguistic diverse populations are higher than that of the state average, therefore must be considered in mentor model development.
- Social factors: Homeless or at risk of homelessness, mental health, and teenage pregnancy.
- Homelessness amongst young people is a significant issue in the Goulburn region. In the year 2020- 2021, there were 382 primary household members, aged between 15-25 years, of these 76.7% were in Greater Shepparton. 26% identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
- Teenage fertility rates are significantly above the state average.
- Young people’s mental health has declined, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Inability to access job services for six-months post completion of secondary school. Job Services such as CVGT Transition to Work, and Job Services Australia eligibility criteria, includes that a young person must be unemployed for 6months, post completion of secondary school, prior to being eligible for assistance. While there is a level of flexibility and creativity to assist young people to meet eligibility criteria, it may deter young people, at the 6-month point of unemployment, to ask for support, if they have previously been told they are not eligible.
In addition to the vulnerabilities identified above, the COVID-19 pandemic placed additional pressure on young people in relation to education and mental health. The disruption to education caused by COVID-19 restrictions is likely to have a particularly strong effect on students in their final year of study before they transition to further employment or education.
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