In June 2018, VicHealth, with the support of key youth partners, engaged a diverse group of 54 participants, 18-25 years old, in an important conversation about supporting their journey to purposeful work through the model of deep citizen engagement.
Finding purposeful work can be incredibly hard and can take its toll on many young adults in Victoria, and indeed Australia. Production work going overseas and jobs being automated have made it considerably harder for young adults aged 18 to 25 years.
- It now takes almost 2.6 years to get a stable job after finishing education, compared to 1 year a generation ago*.
- 1 in 3 young adults are actively looking for work.
- A growing proportion are unemployed and underemployed.
- Work in many industries relies on professional networks, which a lot of people just out of study just don’t have.
From 18–25 years, people go through important transitions with education, work, family and relationships. One of these transition periods is moving from education (school, tertiary or trades) to purposeful employment. It’s a critical window for individual development yet the data tells us our young people aren’t doing so well during this time.
- 1 in 4 young Australians is currently experiencing a mental health condition – including anxiety and depression.
- 1 in 4 young adult Victorians report limited access to social support when needed.
- 1 in 8 young adult Victorians are lonely – a key risk factor for depression.
- 75% of adult mental health conditions emerge by age 24.
Through the process of a deliberative forum, 54 young Victorian’s gathered across a weekend to consider a broad range of information presented to them addressing the clear question of “Young adults, mental wellbeing and work: How can we support young adults on their journey to find purposeful work”.
Information presented included evidence and proposed solutions on what works to support wellbeing, resilience and social connection, from those across government, philanthropy and the community in the form of submissions, speakers who assisted to fill gaps in knowledge as well as expert facilitators who guided these young Victorians to consider, discuss and arrive at a consensus point of view on 11 recommendations (Asks) in response to the problem. These recommendations have formed the basis of the Staying on Track participant’s report, which was launched by VicHealth and its partners on Wednesday 3rd October 2018.
A video of the Staying on Track deliberative forum can be viewed here.
Over the coming months, the Participant’s report will be used to promote further discussions on how we as a society, can support young adults to build resilience, coping skills and social connections and help create a positive foundation to allow them to thrive in the current employment environment.
We know many organisations are doing great work in this space so if you are currently undertaking work that addresses an ask, or are planning future that might take one or more of the asks further, VicHealth would love to know what you are doing so we can help spread the word. To let us know please complete a quick survey of 5 questions in total by clicking on the following link www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/SOTaction
*The original FYA statistic cited for the gap was 4.7 years. This has been subsequently revised to 2.6 years accounting for gap years and further study. The New Work Reality, Foundation for Young Australians (2018)