OECD to NZ Government: Must do more in the area of youth unemployment
The CTU youth wing, Stand Up, believes OECD figures recently released show the Government is failing in the area of youth unemployment. Thousands of young people are without work or education and struggling as a result of a lack of pathways of opportunities.
Spokesperson James Sleep says with the youth unemployment rate soaring to 19.4% since September, the Government's record to date paints a picture of a Government that has paid lip service to the thousands of young people who are struggling to find opportunities to get ahead.
"New Zealand is facing a crisis in the area of youth unemployment. Thousands of young people are trying to find work or gain entry into education and training development opportunities to upskill. The Government's response to this issue has been disgraceful. Education funding has been cut, minimal funding has been put into youth job creation, and at a time when youth unemployment was still very high, the Government axed one of its key answers to the youth unemployment problem: Community Max."
Sleep says the Government owes it to each and every community in New Zealand to enable and empower young Kiwis to get ahead.
"Coming out of economic recession, now is the time to invest in the young people who will help build the smart and productive economy we are striving to achieve."
Last year an OECD report stated that New Zealand runs the risk of leaving a large group of young people behind. This could result in these young people becoming a 'lost generation'.
"Widespread unemployment now amongst the next generation has potentially huge negative costs including crime, long term unemployment and suicide."
Stand Up challenges the Government to step up and start leading.
"It is the Government's role to step up and create pathways of opportunities for these young people. Now is the time for some serious investment in our next generation. That time is now, or it will be too late", concludes Sleep.