Government announces $840 million for ambitious youth employment program

In an effort to raise levels of youth employment, the Treasurer Scott Morrison announced a Youth Employment Package as one of the budget initiatives. The whole package will cost $840 million over four years and the government claims that it will help 120,000 young people secure jobs. This will be divided into two sections – the implementation of the Youth Jobs PaTH programme, and the expansion of the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).

Set to begin in April 2017, the Youth Jobs PaTH programme will be open to vulnerable job seekers under the age of 25 who have been looking for a job for at least six months or longer. The Government will spend $751.7 million to provide 6 weeks of employability skills training followed by 4-12 weeks of internship placements. Individuals will receive $200 per fortnight on top of their income support and $1000 will be provided to businesses upfront to host these placements. The government also expects to save just over $200 million across four years as part of this programme.

Focused mainly on small businesses, interns will be expected to work 15-25 hours a week. Employers who hire young jobseekers will also receive between $6500 and $10,000 over the first six months of employment.

The government plans to accompany this with increased eligibility and extra funding for self-employment training and mentoring as part of the existing NEIS. Places will increase from 6300 to 8600. This will cost $88.6 million.

To help fund these initiatives, government expects to redistribute funds from other programs. A large portion of this reflects savings of almost $500 million from the Work for Dole program, which the Treasurer has also highlighted to the media.