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Pipeline of young Australians desperately needed in care workforce

January 24, 2022 Y Careers


24 January 2022

The Y welcomes news about crisis talks between industry and the Federal Government around worker shortages in the care workforce.

While not invited to these talks, we have been talking to Government about a practical solution to this issue for over a year. Our proposal for a Y Care Career Agency to build the care workforce – and specifically to ensure young Australians have the opportunity to get into meaningful jobs in the care sector – should be at the top of the list.

The critical shortage of workers across the health, aged care, and disability workforces highlights is not just a short-term emergency, but a longer term social and economic crisis due to a shortage of skilled care workers.

Despite a more buoyant jobs market in December 2021, the youth unemployment rate (17-25 year olds) of 9.2% remains more than double the average of 4.2%.

The Government’s latest solution seems focused on getting international students and backpackers back into the country to help fill this skills gap.  We urge them to also seriously consider young Australians and the Y’s capacity to ensure they are supported into meaningful long-term caring careers.

“The Y has 177 years of on-the-job experience finding solutions to the greatest challenges facing young Australians and making a positive social impact for all Australians,” said Susannah Le Bron, National Advocate for Youth Unemployment, Y Australia and CEO of the Y NSW.

“What we have proposed to Government is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help solve two of the most challenging problems facing our country: the need to help young people find meaningful and secure jobs, and the critical need for a skilled workforce in the sector of care.”

The Y has provided data that demonstrates, for every Federal electorate, the shortage of care workers alongside the number of unemployed/ underemployed young people. On the basis of the data, there is an urgent and evident opportunity to address both issues.

Independent market research shows that older Australians would welcome young Australians to take on roles in the care sector – Including for in-home care services – and we know from our extensive work with young people that many young people would find these jobs very rewarding.

In November 2021 National Skills Commissioner Adam Boynton encouraged young people to seriously consider care careers as a top option. Not only are these careers satisfying, but there is massive demand and these roles will never be automated like so many other jobs in the Australian economy.

“Our five year employment projections have health care and social assistance growing. They are the industry growing the most. And if I look at some of the occupations within that aged and disabled care are the occupations  we think will grow the most over the next five years.”

Adam Boyton, National Skills Commissioner Radio National Breakfast Wed 10 November.

“However, for young Australians to be able to take up these opportunities we need tailored infrastructure to support them into the care industry. This currently does not exist.

The shortage of workers in care roles is not a new problem but it will get worse unless there are significant changes to how we support, train and retain young people into these roles.” – Susannah Le Bron, the Y.

The Y Career Agency – if supported will deliver personalised career education, advice and support services to nearly 30,000 young people over the next five years. This will provide young people with access to relevant education and training, and ensure a new pipeline of skilled carers for Australia.

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Susannah Le Bron, National Advocate for Youth Employment, Y Australia


To arrange an interview please contact:

Dianne McDonald, Y Australia 0412 858 556

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