Skillset’s 2018/19 jobs and skills campaign “SkillForce360” has reached its target by placing 428 people into apprenticeships, employment or training across central and western NSW.
Following on from the successful 2016 and 2017 “Pledge250” jobs campaign, Skillset raised the bar to 360 with this year’s campaign focusing on skills as well as jobs.
The campaign has hit its target early, as news from the Department of Jobs and Small Business reports positive changes to unemployment rates in Central West and Far West Orana. Since January 2016, the unemployment rate has dropped from 7.2 per cent to 5.5 per cent in the Central West. The Far West Orana regions are experiencing even lower rates of total unemployment. Since January 2017, the unemployment rate has decreased from 5.5 per cent to 2.9 per cent.
The national unemployment rate currently sits at 4.9 per cent and despite this encouraging statistic, youth unemployment remains high at 11.5 per cent nationally. However, Central West and Far West Orana have some of the lowest youth unemployment rates in regional NSW with current rates at 8.7 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.
In the 15 campaign months since November 2016, Skillset has seen 754 local people transition into apprenticeships or other jobs. Throughout the 2018/19 campaign 187 people have pursued training through our Youth Connect, Skills4Trade and Upskilled Mentoring Program. Leading industry placements were Mining, Construction, Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries making up 58 per cent of all industry placements.
Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo said it is encouraging to see the low unemployment rates across the Central West and Far West Orana regions. “While there are many contributing factors, we are proud to be playing our part by creating initiatives like SkillForce360 which contribute to the economic well-being of our regional communities. The Honorable Tanya Plibersek MP and Shadow Minister for Education and Training cited in her speech to the Universities Australia Conference that regional and remote Australians consistently have a much lower education attainment rate than urban Australia therefore it’s important to providing skills development and employment opportunities to increase social and educational mobility and economic growth.”
Skillset continues to focus on the importance of providing skills and employment for young people. Mr Randazzo said, “Whilst the SkillForce360 campaign ended on March 31, our vision doesn’t end there. We encourage local businesses to partner with us to provide opportunities for the youth of our region to ‘future-proof’ their business by ensuring they grow the skills base they need for the workforce of the future.”