With national youth unemployment at more than double the overall rate, Australia’s young people look set to bear the brunt of the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19 for years to come.
- Young people in regional areas are trying to start their own businesses as unemployment rises
- An educator says there is not enough emphasis on entrepreneurship in the school system
- One young woman says an upside to the lockdown is that it has lessened the importance of location
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show 9.9 per cent of workers under 20 have lost their jobs since March 14 — and those figures are generally worse outside city centres.
But some young people are looking for entrepreneurial solutions to their plight, like 19-year-old Jordan Cassells, who lost his job Ballarat hospitality job when the coronavirus shutdown was imposed.
“Work said, ‘You’re not the only one that’s been made redundant — everyone’s off,'” Mr Cassells said.
“I’ve made sure that I’m always constantly saving, but it’s just that fear of … time.”
Stuck at home and waiting for his Centrelink application to be processed, Mr Cassells decided to start something of his own.
He has started a freelance writing business and is putting his own music management course together as part of a local government youth program.
No choice but change
Lunor Folly, 19, lost his casual job at a local multicultural centre when the pandemic began.
“It makes you think … you should be doing something that, if this happens again, you still have a job,” Mr Folly said.
Mr Folly is running some online fitness classes, and has friends who are trying to make money online.
“I know probably 10 different guys that are all heavily into YouTubing and trying to make that as an income,” he said.
Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship founder Matt Pfahlert teaches young people around regional Victoria how to create business for themselves.
“We need to equip our young people differently now,” Mr Pfahlert said.
“We need to make that transition from young people being seen only as job seekers, for those jobs that are marginal … to seeing themselves as job creators.
“You’ve got to recognise that we’ve got an education system that has never valued entrepreneurship.
“So there are lots of young people who are knowing that they need to do something different … but they actually don’t know where to find the support or how to go about it.”
A smaller world
Sarah Barclay is 21, and the work she had booking live music gigs evaporated after COVID-19 struck.
But as COVID-19 snuffs out the ability to congregate in person, social connectivity online is allowing for new ways to collaborate.
Ms Barclay was planning to run a workshop at a music event, but quickly had to adjust.
“The emailing and phone calls just sort of stopped because you just can’t book stuff if you can’t go out,” she said.
“As soon as it hit, I filmed a couple of online tutorials.”
Her university course has moved to online classes too.
— to www.abc.net.au