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Funding cut of youth employment programs draws anger

AN initiative to get Rockhampton youngsters ready for work will lose its funding at the end of the year, despite the region having a youth unemployment rate above 13%

The YouthInvest program, delivered under the School Business Community Partnership Brokers program, has been championed by prominent Rockhampton businessman Warren Acutt.

He said it was frustrating to see something that was delivering for the region and changing lives being stopped.

It's the latest Rockhampton program to lose its federal funding.

Fitzroy is one of six regions in Queensland that runs the YouthInvest program, which aims to bring students and employers together.

Youthinvest staff said it was a valuable program for the Rockhampton community.

"Independent analysis by Social Ventures Australia has identified that the social return on investment from the program nationally was up to $5.50 of social value generated for every $1 invested by the Australian Government," they said.

"This is clearly a loss for communities... in the Fitzroy region alone, YouthInvest has supported nearly 400 organisations representing businesses, schools, community organisations and parent and family groups, to engage in partnering and work together to support the region's youth in attaining education and in the transition to work."

They said partners continued to confirm that the program was successful in addressing school retention and youth employment issues.

The program employs three staff locally. The Bulletin was unable to find out how much funding was needed to continue the service.

Mr Acutt said if funding was cut for worthy programs such as this, how did the government expect to address youth unemployment.

"When you know they're getting some success, that's frustrating," he said.

About 25 people attended a public meeting this week about the situation.

In January, the Fitzroy area's youth unemployment rate was 13.6%.

This is double the unemployment rate for the overall community.

Topics:  budget 2014, federal government



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