Youth unemployment is hard work
JAYDEN Nicholls wants to build a future in his home town but the odds seem stacked against him.
Like so many Coffs Coast teens, Jayden has found full-time work hard to secure and not for lack of trying.
Almost one in five young men and women in the 15-24 age bracket are unemployed in the electorate of Cowper, which stretches from the Macleay to the Clarence.
The latest statistics place Cowper in the unenviable position of ranking among the 30 worst regions in Australia when it comes to youth unemployment.
With a massive 18.9% of young people out of work, for those actively looking for employment it's a constant grind of door-knocking and knockbacks.
"I've found it very hard," Jayden said.
"I'm just trying to get anything I can at the moment, I'm looking to start a trade."
For now Jayden can consider himself lucky.
After getting help from Key Employment he's landed a part-time job at a local panel beater.
He hopes the work will help him secure an apprenticeship.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union said the youth unemployment rate nationally is at a 13-year high and in part blames initiatives like the Federal Government's 457 Visa program for the figures.
"There are 30 regions of the country where youth unemployment is at over 15% - a situation that is simply unacceptable," CFMEU national secretary Michael O'Connor said.
"Yet the government is making things impossible for young job seekers by allowing employers easier access to exploited overseas labour."
For Jayden, gaining access to job seeker programs at Key Employment made all the difference.
"If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be where I am today," Jayden said.
"I'm now doing part-time work and I've found more confidence to hand out my resume to people."
Jayden said the problem could be alleviated with more high school programs readying young people to enter the job market.
"I'd like to see more training while you're at school, to get ready to go for a job - so you have a better idea of what to expect," he said.
What should we do to create jobs on the Coffs Coast? Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.