The Federal Government has unveiled the biggest changes to employment services in two decades, which will allow job seekers to search for work online and be freed from demands to apply for 20 positions a month.
- Jobs Minister Kelly O’Dwyer has announced a $1.3-billion overhaul of employment services system, Jobactive
- A digital self-service portal will allow job seekers to search for work online
- Job seekers will be freed of demands to apply for 20 positions a month
Jobs Minister Kelly O’Dwyer has announced a $1.3-billion-a-year overhaul of the Jobactive system which focuses on a new digital “self-service” portal which will allow job seekers to better access vacancies and training opportunities online.
The digital portal will also allow employers to access information about potential workers, as well as information about wage subsidies.
The existing Jobactive program has been criticised for the requirement job seekers apply for 20 jobs a month; meaning many apply for jobs that are not relevant to them, simply to meet the quota.
Ms O’Dwyer said the new system will provide more flexibility and diversity around the activities job seekers are expected to do.
“The community rightly expects that people on welfare will do all they can to find work and mutual obligation requirements remain a central tenet of our approach,” she said.
Currently the Jobactive system relies on face-to-face consultations, which will still be available.
“We know that there are some people who don’t have the digital literacy to be able to actually access digital services, and for them, or course it’s going to be important to have face-to-face services to help them obtain a job,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
Regional areas to trial the service
The new model will be tested on the New South Wales mid north coast and in Adelaide’s southern suburbs from July, with a national roll out to follow in 2022.
During the trial the existing Jobactive contracts will be extended for two years.
It is a significant announcement for the Coffs Harbour-Grafton region on the NSW mid north coast, which is struggling to deal with high youth unemployment.
Youth unemployment there has reached 23.3 per cent; a figure that is the highest in NSW and the second highest in Australia.
The statistics are having a devastating effect in the region.
Jazmin McMillan, 25, is just one of the local young people desperately looking for work.
In the eight months that she has been unemployed she has applied for more than 80 jobs online, dropped her resume to dozens of local cafes and retail outlets, as well as liaising with her employment agency.
The stress and feeling like you don’t have a purpose; you almost feel like a failure as a human being,” Ms McMillan said.
It is about more than a job
While making ends meets without work is difficult, there is more to the youth unemployment problem than merely money.
Ms McMillan not only struggles to pay the bills, she struggles to feel a sense of self-worth.
“It’s honestly heartbreaking having almost a sense of no purpose; you even end up blaming yourself — aren’t I good enough?” she said.
“I ended up getting so depressed last year that not being able to land a job reduced me to losing 10kg via stress, I now weigh 49kg.”
Ms McMillan has held a number of jobs since an injury forced her to abandon dance studies in 2012; some have ended following bullying and harassment, others have been casual positions that do not result in permanent work.
Her experience of searching for a job has left her frustrated.
Ms McMillan said it is difficult to stay positive when receiving no response to online job applications, not having the technology required to create and upload video job applications, and being told she does not have enough experience in jobs that advertise that no experience is necessary.
“I’m running on 1 per cent hope on a daily basis,” she said.
Ms McMillan is now studying at TAFE to become a mental health peer support worker and will publish a book of her poetry later this year.