Young people in Coffs Harbour and Grafton are facing an 'employment crisis'.
Young people in Coffs Harbour and Grafton are facing an 'employment crisis'. Michaela O'Neill / Sunshine Coas

Census to investigate 'extreme' youth unemployment

FEW regions are suffering greater than the Coffs Clarence when it comes to young people gaining employment.

Joblessness among those aged 15-24 currently stands a national average of just above 12 per cent, while Coffs Harbour and Grafton are sitting at a concerning 22.5 per cent.

In response to the soaring rates, the NSW Business Chamber has announced the Skillsroad 2018 Youth Census has been commissioned for a second time.

The census by Apprenticeship Support Australia seeks to investigate the hopes and fears of young people as they transition from school to the workforce - particularly those in regional areas.

Last year's census found young people in NSW had a below-average sense of 'life satisfaction' and had uncertainties about choosing their career paths.

In particular, the census will investigate the disparity between attitudes across different regions throughout the country.

"This census comes at a critical time for young people in Coffs Harbour and Grafton, who are facing an employment crisis,” Jeff Cooke, Manager of ASA's North Coast NSW branch, said.

"As the only survey exploring youth employment and wellbeing on this scale, the Skillsroad 2018 Youth Census can provide unprecedented, evidence-based insights for our schools, parents and business into the necessary tools required to properly support our young people.”

The Skillsroad Youth Census is open to all Australian young people aged 15-24 and can be accessed at: The Census closes on September 30.

Earlier this year, headspace Coffs Harbour revealed they were seeing a substantial number of local youth encountering difficulties in the face of high unemployment.

Community engagement and development officer for headspace Coffs Harbour, Gary Maher, said they were finding young people were hesitant to move to big cities, but 'get stuck' and can't find work or what they want to study while living in Coffs Harbour.

Earlier this month, Shadow Treasurer Ryan Park attacked the Berejiklian Government over the shocking unemployment rates in the Coffs Clarence.

Labor pointed out that when it left office in March 2011, youth unemployment in Coffs Harbour and Grafton was at 9.8 per cent.