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Youth unemployment in Adelaide's north continues to rise

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Northern Adelaide’s youth unemployment rate has risen to 18.4 per cent, making it one of the worst youth jobless hotspots in the nation.

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A new report from the Brotherhood of St Laurence found that northern Adelaide had the ninth worst youth unemployment rate in the nation, while Adelaide’s west was thirteenth worst.

Overall, South Australia continues to have the highest level of youth unemployment in the nation, currently sitting at just below 16 per cent unemployment for those aged 15-24.

The anti-poverty group used data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to collate the report An Unfair Australia? Mapping Youth Unemployment Hotspots, released yesterday.

The report shows the Adelaide North region, which has traditionally been the worst unemployment region for those aged 15-24 in South Australia, increased its youth unemployment rate by almost two percentage points since January 2016.

Adelaide West, which currently has 17 per cent youth unemployment, featured as one of the regions with the biggest unemployment increases – up 4.6 percentage points in two years.

Brotherhood of St Laurence executive director Conny Lenneberg said hotspots in outer suburbs and rural areas were carrying the heaviest burden of youth unemployment.

“The modern economy is creating new risks for Australia’s emerging generation,” she said.

“Disadvantaged young people, in particular, are facing barriers in their effort to secure work [and] to meet this challenge, we need action from governments as well as tapping into efforts of employers in local communities.

“Stubborn rates of youth unemployment are not just a concern for families or the welfare sector.”

Northern Area Community and Youth Services CEO Clare Dilliway said the closure of Holden’s Elizabeth factory in October last year had a big impact on how young people viewed their job prospects.

“Here, there were a lot of young people who were really inspired to work at Holden and saw that as their job future,” Dilliway said.

“When Holden closed that sense of hope for a better future really died, especially for those that came from families dealing with intergenerational poverty.”

Dilliway said northern suburbs schools and youth organisations were now working to develop young people’s entrepreneurial skills to equip them for the future job market.

“We have a program we’ll be launching [in July] called ‘Dare to Dream’ which is about if you have an idea for a small business, this is what can be done to make it a reality,” she said.

“It’s an acknowledgement that enterprise will be a future skill for the next generation and there’s different possibilities.”

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