Youth employment and mental health support for children and young people remain much needed national priorities for 2015, according to youth charity BoysTown.
BoysTown CEO Tracy Adams said the charity’s recently released Annual Report demonstrates that employment training and support, and mental health services for Australian youth are much needed priorities for 2015.
“Last financial year, more than 9,800 young people accessed the BoysTown Employment Service. Around 2,500 accessed our work transition, vocational training and work experience services,” Ms Adams said.
“An evaluation of some of the most disadvantaged job seekers in our Blacktown New South Wales Employment Service showed many faced significant barriers to employment.1
“We found 90% were feeling unsure and anxious about their future, 72% had difficulty solving everyday problems, 62% lacked relationship-building skills, and 44% lacked the skills and experience for jobs.
“In addition, 48% were dealing with mental health issues, 27% had severe issues with alcohol or drug misuse, and 19% had very low functional literacy and numeracy skills.
“It’s not enough to only offer a service to look for work. To address the wide range of challenges young people face, we are dedicated to offering programs that place a strong emphasis on providing life skills development, work experience as well as support to find ongoing employment.
“Of the more than 223,000 contacts with Kids Helpline last year, mental health and emotional wellbeing were the main concern during 44% of counselling sessions and one of their concerns in 54% of sessions.
“There must be a long-term commitment to dealing with what are often multiple issues. We’ve found young people with severe and long-standing issues benefit from ongoing counselling with one or two key counsellors.”
For over 50 years, BoysTown has been dedicated to helping change young people’s lives. We offer counselling, including Kids Helpline, employment services, training, education, family refuges and parenting help. Children, young people and families made more than 260,000 contacts with BoysTown in 2013-14. To find out more about our work, view our Annual Report at boystown.com.au/annualreport.