Mission Australia has released the results of its annual Youth Survey report, providing valuable insight into the lives of young Australians. The 2015 survey focuses specifically on the barriers faced in reaching work and study goals, exploring young people’s concerns about their post-school plans.
Responses were received from 18,994 young people, aged 15 to 19.
Of these respondents:
- 55 per cent were female
- six per cent identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
- six per cent reported having a disability
- 22 per cent reported speaking a language other than English at home
- 94 per cent were studying full time
- 39 per cent were working part time
- 36 per cent were seeking work.
Plans for study and training
Of respondents still at school, 96.6 per cent reported an intention to complete Year 12. Looking at those not too keen on finishing school, the proportion of male students was almost three times that of females (5.3 per cent compared to 1.8 per cent).
University was the most popular post-school plan (65.3 per cent) but was more commonly reported by female respondents (71.2 per cent) than males (58 per cent). More than a third (34.5 per cent) reported wanting to get a job after finishing school, while 29.6 per cent would opt for travel or a gap year. Vocational study and apprenticeships are also popular, at 13 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively.
Barriers to education and employment
Most respondents were confident in their ability to achieve their study and work goals after leaving school. Forty per cent of respondents reported feeling very confident, with a further 10.3 per cent indicating that they were extremely confident about their post-school plans. One in 10 were slightly confident (8.1 per cent) or not at all confident(2.1 per cent).
The most common barriers include:
- academic ability (18.2 per cent)
- financial difficulty (16.9 per cent)
- lack of jobs (12.2 per cent).
Family responsibilities (12 per cent) and physical or mental health (10.3 per cent) were also reported as barriers.
Adding to education and employment barriers, respondents reported a number of personal concerns affecting their post-school plans.
The most common concerns include:
- coping with stress (38.4 per cent)
- school or study (33.6 per cent)
- body image (26.5 per cent).
In all cases, female respondents reported higher rates of concern.
Issues in society
Respondents were also asked about the most important issue facing Australia today.
The top reported issues included:
- alcohol and drugs (27 per cent)
- equity and discrimination (25 per cent)
- the economy and financial matters (18.9 per cent).
It’s worth noting that there were notable differences in male and female respondents’ answers. For males, the most commonly reported issues are as above. For females, the top issue facing Australia is equity and discrimination. This was followed by alcohol and drugs, and mental health.
What are the next steps?
The results of the Youth Survey show that young people need adequate support and guidance in the transition to adulthood.
Looking at policy implications, Mission Australia’s report stresses that young people must:
- be connected with the necessary information and support to successfully move from school to further study or employment
- be informed about alcohol and drug-related issues, as well as being able to access relevant services if needed
- be exposed to local and national campaigns promoting equality that empower them to prevent and effectively respond to discrimination
- feel safe in their communities and that they are able to participate in available activities
- have access to school-based programs and appropriate services relating to mental health and wellbeing.
Read Mission Australia’s full report at www.missionaustralia.com.au/youth-survey