Youth unemployment numbers on the rise

FRUITLESS SEARCH: Young Tamworth jobseeker Amy Devrell is one of a growing band of young unemployed people in the region. Photo: Gareth Gardner 130614GGE01

FRUITLESS SEARCH: Young Tamworth jobseeker Amy Devrell is one of a growing band of young unemployed people in the region. Photo: Gareth Gardner 130614GGE01

EACH day Amy Devrell goes through the same soul-sapping routine – knocking on doors, scouring job sites and begging employers for work.

Intelligent, personable and polished, the 19-year-old is one of a growing band of young Australians left on the job scrapheap.

Since quitting her job as assistant manager at Hungry Jacks in January, Ms Devrell has undertaken TAFE courses in hospitality and a diploma of marketing and business.

But the rejection letters continue to pile up.

New figures released this week revealed the nation’s jobless rate among people aged 15 to 24 has risen to 13.1 per cent, almost three times the rate for people aged 25 and over.

“I feel like I’m in a catch 22, you have to have experience to get a job and to get a job, you need experience,” Ms Devrell said.

“It does affect your self-esteem being rejected all the time.

“I have qualifications and I have some experience but most employers don’t even bother getting back to you.

“I know quite a few other people in the same position as me.”

She said she wasn’t being fussy about what work she took either, applying for jobs in sales, retail, hospitality and housekeeping.

Ms Devrell is subsisting on just $420 a fortnight in youth allowance.

“My partner works but he’s an apprentice so doesn’t bring in much money,” she said.

“It’s almost impossible to live after you pay rent. It means I miss out on what a lot of my friends are doing – going out to dinner, the movies or for a few drinks.”

She has even undertaken voluntary work, sitting on headspace’s Youth Reference Group.

To local employment industry workers, Ms Devrell’s story is all too familiar.

“It’s a tough climate generally but particularly retail,” Scott Saunders from Best Employment said.

“The farm and building sectors have also taken a hit in recent years. Our advice to young jobseekers is be proactive. 

“Don’t just sit and wait for a job to come, make yourself known and leverage off your networks. 

“Also try and do as much training as possible.”

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