An ad campaign that aims to tackle the "inaccurate" myth that Australia’s unemployed young people are lazy dole bludgers and job snobs who don’t want to work has been launched in Melbourne and Canberra.
The Job Hunter #NotDoleBludger campaign by welfare group the Brotherhood of St Laurence uses young people to challenge stereotypes and present the true face of what it's like to be young and unable to find work.
18-year-old Taylor (left), who features in the ad campaign, is one of more than 250,000 young Aussies who are unemployed or underemployed.
Taylor completed high school last year and has spent the last few months working casual hours in a fast food shop, but has recently been let go. She wants regular work and more hours, but is struggling to find anything fulltime.
Since leaving school 19-year-old Ashley (right) has worked on and off at supermarkets and on the assembly line of a pickle factory. He wants to challenge the myth pushed by some news organisations that teenagers would prefer to sit at home playing Xbox than get a job.
"Every teenager wants to work," Ashley said. "I don’t think I’ve talked to a single one that just wants to sit at home and sit on the dole."
"[Employers] think, 'Oh, they just want to sit at home, they just want to go on Centrelink, they just don't want to work, they just want the easy life'... and that's definitely not the case," Taylor said.
"When you send a resume off online you do kind of expect you won't get a reply, it's not very often that you do... I've heard of some jobs getting like 4000 people applying just for the one part-time position," Ashley said. "It's absolutely insane."
In March the youth unemployment rate for 15 to 24s was 13.1%, which equates to 271,600 young people out of work. The underemployment rate, when someone has a job but is working less hours than they want each week, for under 25s is 18%, the highest it's been in 40 years.
Fifty-seven per cent of young workers are in casual jobs.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the highest rates of youth unemployment are in the Queensland Outback (48%), NSW Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven (24.7%), the Western Australian Wheat Belt (21%), Adelaide's North (18.9%) and Tasmania's North East (18.8%).
The head of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Tony Nicholson, told BuzzFeed News it's time to stand up for young unemployed people who are too often stereotyped in public discussion.
“Let’s not replay the same old inaccurate story – that Australia’s young unemployed people are lazy and don’t want to work," Nicholson said. "From practical experience, I know this is far from the reality."
Nicholson thinks that it's tougher for millennials looking for work than it was for their parents and grandparents.
“Employers demand more skills and experience from all of us and the entry level jobs that used to exist for school leavers – from the mailroom, to the factory, to the farm – are disappearing in our globalised economy."
The #NotDoleBludgers campaign is being rolled out in 20 locations in Melbourne and 50 in Canberra from the start of May.
Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.
Contact Alice Workman at email@example.com.
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