Young Workers More Vulnerable To Workplace Injury: WorkSafe Report

Image result for workplace injury young workers

WorkSafe Victoria is calling on employers to provide adequate training to young workers after they were found to be more susceptible to workplace injuries.

They found nearly 50 people between the ages of 15 and 24 were injured every week during 2015-16.

Young workers in construction, retail, manufacturing, and hospitality sustained the most injuries, with the manual handling listed as the main cause.

The most common type were hand, finger, and back injuries.

This comes on the back of a new social media campaign the safety group has released featuring CCTV footage of young workers in a range of industries about to conduct potentially dangerous workplace safety decisions.

WorkSafe executive director health and safety, Marnie Williams, said it was important for employers to provide suitable training to young workers.

“While the overall number of injuries to young workers has continued to decline over the past six years, it’s absolutely critical that employers are providing appropriate training, information, and advice,” she said.

“Employers must take time to educate their young workers of the potential risks involved in completing certain tasks, and how to control or eliminate those risks. Teaching young workers how to properly operate machinery and equipment is also vital.”

She added that younger workers are more oblivious to the long term effects of a workplace injury.

Between April 2015 and March 2016, 2554 injury claims were made by young workers.

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Is Today’s Generation Of Young People In Crisis?

The Guardian recently opened a debate/discussion for young people to voice their concerns about the implications of financial security, finding a job, health and education as a young person.

While this is a British study/discussion, the concerns raised are what many young people in Australia are facing also.

Here are some of the comments and concerns raised:

A view from a 77-year-old: ‘Young people today have it tough, and I feel sorry for them’

Here’s a view from someone coming from an older generation, and they are sympathetic towards today’s so-called millennials:

Frankly, as a 77 year-old, I would not like to be leaving secondary school these days. For most young people it is a choice of getting an insecure low-paid job (probably on a zero-hours contract) or, with good GCSE results, going to university and getting into considerable debt. Very few have an account with the bank of mum and dad.

As for settling down with a partner, that is virtually impossible. Where is the deposit for a mortgage coming from? Where are the council or housing association homes at genuinely affordable rents? The right to buy, championed by successive governments since Mrs T, has decimated the social housing stock.

Young people today certainly do have it tough – and I feel for them. Society is really letting them down, and only the ballot box will change things.

14h ago22:28

‘Mental health problems come from transiency and insecurity’

Sara, 24, from London talks about how the current way young people live can affect their wellbeing.

I decided to try again with university at 24 because of a real interest in the subject. I chose London because it’s the only place in the UK that keeps me engaged and inspired … I’m about to start my 2nd year and absolutely love the degree topic. In short I’m glad of my decision.

However, being a student in London still requires part-time work, my loan and grant is not enough to live on. Part-time work is hard enough to come by, but part-time work that doesn’t also make you feel as though you’re going backwards in your career even harder. I’ve managed so far but find myself at the end of a temp contract and needing to find work again. The whole process is soul-destroying because I know I’m capable but employers ask for too much. How am I supposed to get the minimum required experience in a role if no-one will hire me without that experience? Everybody has to start somewhere, and I feel as if this is too often forgotten.
I wholeheartedly agree with the person who said mental health problems come from the transiency and insecurity of youth society, and I would add that not only are we transient, but we are disposable. Perhaps one feeds the other.

14h ago22:20

There should be more focus on how young people live

Another interesting comment on today’s news story

User avatar for zippymosquito

There needs to be more focus on the TYPE of renting which ‘generation rent’ are experiencing.

Most of us aren’t renting a one bed flat rather than buying it – we live 5 to a house, sharing kitchens and bathrooms. Often no living room as this is also used as a bedroom. These aren’t the part-time freelance writers etc. which The Guardian et al. seem to interview; these are professional people, on high wages for their age group.

Coming home from work, aged 28, to your four housemates, their assorted friends/girlfriends/boyfriends, multiple people trying to use the kitchen, mess everywhere, no ability to own decent possessions as they will be used by a rotating household of people…

I’d say my boyfriend and I go out to pubs because it’s the only privacy we get…

14h ago22:18

There are lots of benefits to being young now

One of those who shared their view: Aaron, 28, from Yorkshire, says there’s lots of upsides to being a young person now.

While there’s undoubtedly a crisis for young people in some aspects of life (for example, the price of housing), I wholly disagree that this is a bad time to be young.
We live in an exciting time, technology is changing the world and breaking down barriers between class, industry, race and money. We have greater accessibility and more control over our future than ever before.

Speaking from my own personal experience, as a working class ethnic minority, I’ve been able to climb to the top of my career ladder in six years, much faster than the previous generation could have.

Yes the world is changing, and I feel it’s time people my age adapted to those new challenges and embraced the increase in opportunities.

‘We live like perpetual students’

The two main themes from the young people we’ve been hearing from so far? Housing, and mental health.

This is a 30 year old living in London.

Work and study wise, I have been fortunate. I have a degree from a top university and work in a job that I enjoy as a manager at an international development charity. By way of the life that affords me: I live in a three bed ex-local authority house in East London, with four other people. I am currently sharing a room (and a bed) with my flatmate who is 33. We still pay £500 each per month and we are not unusual.

We live like perpetual students, despite progressing in our careers and taking on more responsibilities. It’s painful to still have to grovel like children to landlords when the shower breaks or the when someone loses a key. There is also a cost to relationships which cannot mature at a normal rate. There is a false perception that millennials want to put off committing and living with their ‘life partners’ until the last minute. It’s untrue. For years I lived with a boyfriend in a communal house and I currently share with another couple. The problem, above anything, is housing costs. Believe it or not, after a few years, we all get sick of living like adolescents. Like anything in life, it gets boring after a bit.

And here’s Sam, 25, in Newcastle upon Tyne:

I work as a Software Developer, for a company that treats its staff like family. I don’t get paid a lot, but certainly enough to get by and save a little on the side. I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones of my generation.

Even so, I cannot see myself being able to buy my own house in the foreseeable future, I am constantly worried that due to economic pressures I will have to be let go, and my own self worth is barely above what it was when I was unemployed.

I know many people who went to university who were not as fortunate as me, who have to find whatever work they can (usually on zero-hours) just to get by. They all put on a brave face, and pretend that life is working out for them. However there are the odd few who are willing to let their guard done and share just how anxious their lives really are, how this has led to long term depression, bouts of heavy drinking, and panic attacks that prevent them from functioning and feeling like a human being.

These are university graduates, I can only imagine how the rest of my generation are coping with modern life.

Updated at 10.05pm AEST

14h ago21:55

What does ‘can’t afford to live independently’ mean?

An interesting question posed by one of our commenters below the line:

User avatar for pov1

Many people my age can’t afford to live independently from their parents, leaving them feeling like they’re in a state of suspended adulthood.

This is a genuine question. What does “can’t afford to live independently from their parents” mean? I’m not questioning that it might be true, but I would be interested in seeing that statement unpicked. Does it mean can’t in fact afford the rent, fuel and food bills to live independently from their parents, or does it mean can’t afford to live at the standard they are used to living at independently from their parents? My home comfort level dropped when I left home many years ago. The places in which I rented a share were invariably cold, cramped and a walk from transport because that made them cheaper. I had no money left over at the end of the month after paying out for basics and for many years few possessions, which made packing easier when moving on to the next rental. I accepted this as the price I paid for independence. Do young people now accept or not accept that there is a price to be paid for independence?

However, I would say that nowadays it’s easy to feel trapped and I think that’s the difference. Maybe back in the day you would pay a certain price for independence but eventually you would be able to afford something nicer, as you progressed in your career. The challenge now is that people live in awful conditions for much of their 30s even, and affording a house is literally an impossible dream, so actually it’s much easier to move back home and save, making that sacrifice to ensure that you might one day be able to live truly independently. I would like to hear what other people think about this question though.

Updated at 10.04pm AEST

15h ago21:39

Have this generation had it considerably tougher than that of their parents? Absolutely, says this 31 year old in Hull:

I am the older of the millennials apparently and I have seen many struggle. Many have succeeded (myself included) – however it has not been easy. The 2008 financial crisis affected me for a long time, perhaps a 3 year setback after leaving university in that year. Of my class, I know the males have also had a mixed bag, most are still earning sub £30k being engineers which I would say is very unfair for their abilities.

The three females in our class have all done very well, but thats down to them and getting into the oil industry just in time. I see the debt and disillusion from university – and now college – becoming a colossal barrier to earning and getting a promotion / moving for a new job etc. I know how easy the “older generation” had it in my city, you literally left one job in the morning and started a new one in the afternoon in the docks and shipyards. Now this generation can’t do that.

The social mobility was also much better, as people who had the skills could use them to get as far as they dreamed, and now we are almost saturated with ability and experience, yet still squeezing more and more young adults into less jobs, and less wages. While the older generations may say that they had to start at the bottom – they didn’t start their career with up to £46k of student debt.

Updated at 9.40pm AEST

15h ago21:29

The government should be pouring resources into finding solutions

It’s clear that many millennials are struggling. Others, of course, have been born into the kind of privilege that means they’re pretty much protected whichever way the winds blow. When we talk about intergenerational differences, it’s important not to downplay the importance of class cleavages that cut across all age categories.

However, it’s young people who’ve been at the sharp end of many recent economic and political changes. We’re more likely to be in insecure, low-paid work with few employment rights. More than one in five of us has been paid below the legal minimum wage. Many people my age can’t afford to live independently from their parents, leaving them feeling like they’re in a state of suspended adulthood.

Theresa May
Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Welfare cuts have disproportionately targeted the young, possibly because we’re less inclined to vote – and even less likely to vote Conservative – so they aren’t worried about losing our support.

Increased automation is a particular threat to people at the start of their careers and the government should be pouring resources into finding solutions. Instead, the approach seems to to give us an extra kicking while we’re already down.

15h ago21:25

‘All I focus on is working, eating and sleeping’

The view of Harley, a 20 year old from Bath:

As a young person with long term mental health problems, I left school at 16 and have been working ever since. My own home and a family is a pipe dream to me. All I focus on is working, eating and sleeping. I have so many goals I want to achieve, and I have frequent anxiety attacks over my ability to achieve them. I am a passionate Labour party member, and Corbyn supporter, but recent events and attacks on young members have almost scared me away from any kind of involvement.

I recently enrolled at the Open University and just one module has saddled me with £3,000 of debt – I have 5 more modules to complete. All this to pursue a career goal, that my anxiety tells me every day I will never achieve. On top of being on NHS waiting lists for 4 years, with no real progress, I feel like my entire life is one crisis after another.

‘Everyone is transient’

Want to share your take on this topic? Join the comments below, or fill out our online form.

Here’s the view of Tom, 28, from Watford:

No job security, no security of tenure, with disposable income and ability to save eaten up by student loan repayments. No social structures, given that everyone is transient and focused on their career. It’s extremely isolating, and hard to find friends or relationships. Mental health problems are destroying people.

The whole thing not helped by press and public that continually lambast the young for political apathy and then torpedo anything that looks set to change it – like with your coverage of Corbyn. The sense during New Labour that “this is as good as it gets” is a source of enduring hopelessness and despair.

Updated at 9.16pm AEST

15h ago21:05

‘Young people are suffering a huge crisis of confidence’


What’s it like to be a young adult today?

Not great, according to a new poll. The research, commissioned by the charity the Young Women’s Trust – involving thousands of 18 to 30-year-olds – found that large numbers are lacking self-confidence (47%) and feeling worried about the future (51%).

Low pay and lack of work has resulted in so-called millennials living in “suspended adulthood”, according to the poll, and the Young Women’s Trust warned that Britain was facing a “generation of young people in crisis”. It called on the government to take steps including creating a minister with responsibility for overall youth policy.

So, is it really that bad? Writing for the Guardian, journalist Abi Wilkinson thinks so. She said: “It’s frustrating to see older commentators go on about the alleged entitlement of feckless ‘millennials’ when the reality for many is poverty, desperation and crushing despair. My generation is at the sharp end of economic processes with calamitous effects for ordinary working people. We’ve been hit hardest by the erosion of employment rights.”

However, others argue that your early 20s are tough no matter when you were born – and that the youth of today have a greater sense of entitlement. Do we have a generation of young people in crisis or is this an exaggeration? What can we do to improve the situation? What are the risks of a generation losing out on adulthood?


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Pope Francis World Day Of Prayer For Peace

Pope Francis lights a candle during the closing ceremony of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi. - AFP

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis presided over the closing ceremony of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi on Tuesday afternoon. The ceremony followed an early afternoon of prayer – not in common, but separately, according to religious tradition.

Thirst for peace: religions and cultures in dialogue was the theme of this 30th anniversary celebration of the World Day, which Pope St. John Paul II first convoked in the city of St. Francis in 1986.

“We have come to Assisi as pilgrims in search of peace,” said Pope Francis to the gathering of more than 400 leaders from dozens of different traditions of faith and religion. “We carry within us and place before God the hopes and sorrows of many persons and peoples:  we thirst for peace; we desire to witness to peace.”

“[A]bove all,” said Pope Francis, “we need to pray for peace, because peace is God’s gift, and it lies with us to plead for it, embrace it, and build it every day with God’s help.”

Before the closing ceremony, the Holy Father delivered a meditation on peace to a gathering of leaders from various Christian Churches and ecclesial communities in the Lower Basilica of St. Francis.

“Before Christ Crucified, ‘the power and wisdom of God’ (1 Cor 1:24), we Christians are called to contemplate the mystery of Love not loved and to pour out mercy upon the world,” Pope Francis told the ecumenical gathering of Christian leaders come together to hear his meditation in the lower basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, ahead of the closing ceremony.

“On the Cross, the tree of life,” continued Pope Francis, “evil was transformed into good; we too, as disciples of the Crucified One, are called to be ‘trees of life’ that absorb the contamination of indifference and restore the pure air of love to the world.  From the side of Christ on the Cross water flowed, that symbol of the Spirit who gives life (cf. Jn 19:34); so that from us, his faithful, compassion may flow forth for all who thirst today.”

Much has changed in the three decades that have passed since Pope St. John Paul II held the first event: the Cold War has ended, while the shadow of international terrorism has grown and spread, and our failure to exercise good stewardship over creation has created new challenges to peace.

The “spirit of Assisi” however, remains unchanged, and each of us has a part to play in realizing the hope for peace that animates this event.

“Here, thirty years ago,” recalled Pope Francis in concluding his remarks, “Pope John Paul II said: ‘Peace is a workshop, open to all and not just to specialists, savants and strategists. Peace is a universal responsibility.’ Let us assume this responsibility, reaffirming today our ‘yes’ to being, together, builders of the peace that God wishes for us and for which humanity thirsts.”

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The Hidden Threat To Young Aussie Jobs

WHEN the first shopper emerged from the Apple Store in Sydney on Friday, after 24 hours of queuing, proudly clutching the new iPhone 7, there’s a good chance they never got to unwrap it.
Instead, it’s more likely they went straight back online, looking for their next task.
These people, paid as little as $7 an hour, are the face of the “new economy” — working task to task, with little regard paid by their ‘employer’ to minimum wage, tax, superannuation, sick leave or a regular roster.
With the rise of platforms such as Uber, Airtasker, Deliveroo and Foodora over the past five years, it has never been easier to make a quick dollar providing services for others.
The problem comes when we start to see these short, ‘sugar hits’ of paid activity as a substitute for the type of employment that Australians have enjoyed for generations.
Since 1896, when the Basic Wage was first introduced, Australians in employment have been guaranteed a level of income, support and lifestyle, which provided the type of certainty and stability to make commitments and raise a family.
Not so in the ‘new economy’ — where workers are left to their own devices to find tasks when available, and then negotiate pay and conditions on a case-by-case basis, or accept the rate unilaterally set by the platform. The only alternative to this is not working at all.
This has led to a crisis of underemployment, particularly affecting the youngest part of the workforce, confirmed by the ABS August employment figures released on Thursday.
At 17.9 per cent, underemployment among 15-24 year olds is now around five times the level seen in the early 1980s, and 25 per cent higher than the peak seen in the midst of the GFC. This is in addition to the unemployed component of the workforce, which — at 12.4 per cent is more than double the rate of older workers.
In total, more than 30 per cent of our young people are actively looking for a job, or would like to work more. Sobering statistics, that lead to only 22 per cent of young people believing that they will be able to exceed the living standards enjoyed by their parents.
Getting young people into real jobs, which provide all of the benefits of ‘old economy’ employment at a young age is key to ensuring they, and by extension Australia, continue to prosper over the next 50 years.
Unfortunately, the way that Australian businesses find and hire young people has lacked the innovation typically seen in the era of the Silicon Valley start-up, with recruiting across all forms of business remaining anchored to long-form CVs and cover letters.
This is not only frustrating to the jobseekers required to produce these documents and the hiring manager responsible for reading them, but it means that these real jobs remain almost completely inaccessible by smartphone.
The 15-24 age group is mobile savvy, and are more likely to have access to a smartphone than to a desktop or laptop computer. Given the right tools, they can be incredibly enthusiastic, optimistic and hardworking.
However, their choice of media and devices means that traditional online recruiting remains as foreign to them as newspaper based ads do to those in their 30s and 40s.
Sharing economy apps and services are fast becoming the ‘hidden threat’ to young people in Australia looking for work, who want to make enough money to survive independently.
If we let them grow too rapidly, we risk shutting off a whole generation from the Australian Dream that we as a nation have enjoyed over the past century.
Andrew Joyce is co-founder of mobile jobs app Found


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Corruption ‘More Addictive Than Drugs,’ Pope Francis

Pope Francis © Osservatore Romano

It begins slowly, and then you start generating exploitation, poverty and suffering – Pope Francis warned saying corruption may become “more addictive than drugs.”
“Some behave with corruption as with drugs: thinking they can use it and stop using it when they want,” Francis said in his Angelus Address at St. Peter’s Square, as quoted by Crux news site.

“Little by little. Maybe one day a tip here, another day a bribe there, and so little by little he arrives to corruption,” the pontiff also said, The Catholic News Agency reported Sunday.
“Corruption produces addiction, and it generates poverty, exploitation, suffering. And how many victims there are in the world today!” he added.

Francis based his Sunday speech on Sunday’s Gospel, the story of a bad steward who fakes documents of the debts owed to his employer in order to gain the friendship of those he assists.

That is “not presented as a model to be imitated, but as an example of cunning.”
Corruption is “a completely worldly and strongly sinful cleverness, which does a lot of bad,” the pontiff said, calling the practice the path of sin, “even if it’s the most comfortable one to go through.”

People can choose between two paths: “honesty and dishonest, fidelity and unfaithfulness, egoism and altruism, good and evil,” the pontiff added.

His speech came as the Vatican celebrated the 200th anniversary of the local police forces, the Gendarmerie. Pope Francis commended police for their service, acknowledging though that security services do not get enough money for their work.

“Many times you must fight against [the] temptations of those who want to buy you,” he added.

Pope Francis is largely regarded as a leftist, though he says that he only follows the social doctrine of the church.

In June, the pontiff publicly declared that the Church should apologize to gay people and women it has mistreated.

He has also repeatedly blasted donations from contributors who profit from underpaid labor. “People of God don’t need their dirty money,” he said in March.

The pontiff is also known to be tech-savvy: as of 2015, he was considered the most influential world leader on Twitter, with almost 10 million subscribers. In March, he started an Instagram account and now has over 3 million subscribers.



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Sick Of Work? Maybe It’s Your Job That’s Harming Your Health

A manual scavenger collects human waste while cleaning a toilet in a village in Uttar Pradesh.

Scavengers cleaning latrines in India and pickers working in the vast warehouses of online retail businesses have something in common: firsthand experience of the kind of low-status work said to contribute to inequalities in health.

In his third ABC Boyer Lecture, epidemiologist Sir Michael Marmot argued that a divide is emerging in society, between busy, interesting jobs that give life meaning, and jobs that harm the body and damage the soul.

Studies have found the stress of a work environment that is high in demand and low in control increases risk of mental illness and of coronary heart disease by about 50 per cent.

Other stresses characteristic of low-status jobs — such as an imbalance between effort and reward, organisational injustice, social isolation, shift work and job insecurity — have also been proven to damage health.

In his speech, Sir Michael told the stories of Alan and Lalta: two people who have done the kind of work that contributes to inequalities in health.

Alan’s life as a picker

Before he was fired for “collecting three penalty points”, Alan worked as a picker in an online retailer’s warehouse.

“On arrival for his shift, Alan was handed what was in effect his controller and conscience: a hand-held electronic device that directed him to Row X to pick up item Y and put it in his trolley; then to Row P to pick up item Q, and so on,” Sir Michael said.

“When his trolley contained about 250 kg his device would direct Alan to the packers. Then he’d be off again for another load.

“His target was 110 large items an hour, more for smaller items, two a minute. That was the job, for nine and half hours, plus the hour of breaks.”

The electronic device was also used to give feedback on his performance, so he could be monitored and warned if he did not keep up the pace.

“If he fell too far behind he would incur half a penalty point; more, a whole point,” Sir Michael said.

“When, on one shift, he went off sick, he incurred another penalty point.”

There was no time for Alan to talk to other employees. In fact he rarely spoke to anyone except his line manager, whose job it was to warn him about his failure to meet targets.

One night he used a pedometer, and realised he had clocked up 18 kilometres of walking over the shift.

“Added to the heavy physical demands, Alan’s work was characterised by high demand with no control over the work task, by high effort and little reward, by social isolation at work, by job insecurity, by organisational injustice, and by shift work — each of which has been shown to damage health,” Sir Michael said.

“It was as if his employers had taken everything we know about damaging aspects of work, concentrated them in a syringe and injected them into Alan.”

Lalta’s life as a scavenger

Sir Michael compares Alan’s experience to that of Lalta, who lived in the city of Alwar, in Rajasthan, India.

“Her occupation, and that of a million or so others like her in India, was to clean human excrement out of dry latrines by hand, pile it in a reed basket, carry it on her head to a dumping place and deposit it,” he says.

“Can you imagine a line of work more foul? Lalta couldn’t either. As she said: ‘All I missed was my dignity … I felt like the dirt I carried on my head.'”

At the age of 17, Lalta married into a family of Dalits, the caste of Indians who make up about one sixth of India’s population, and traditionally perform the most demeaning work.

“Most of the latrines built in India in the 20th century were of the dry type, largely because of water shortage,” Sir Michael says.

“The scavengers had to reach in through a tunnel and retrieve the human waste by hand.

“The problem with work like Lalta’s is a double burden: as well as the physical and biological hazards, there is the gross lack of dignity, the threat to self-worth, the appalling stress of such an occupation.

“Lalta felt there was no way out. She was told this was her fate. Not that there was calm acceptance of it: ‘There was no happiness in our lives. It actually had no meaning. All the time it was either people’s filth on the head or its thought in the heart.'”

Jobs can make you sick, but so can joblessness

While work can be bad for health if it deprives people of control over their lives or does not pay adequately, Sir Michael pointed out that unemployment has its own health risks.

He referenced the indignados of Spain, protesters on the streets of Madrid who are among the roughly 40 per cent of youth in the country who are unemployed.

“They are angry with good reason. Society’s implied promise to them has been broken,” Sir Michael said.

“Not usually given to hyperbole, I have described this youth unemployment as a public health time bomb.

“Unemployment is bad for health and it blights lives. Young people who leave school for the scrapheap are in danger of never getting the habit of work — potentially, they face a lifetime on the margin. Bad work may be bad for health; unemployment may be worse.

“Unemployment is particularly bad for mental health. Some of our politicians claim that unemployment is a lifestyle choice. If so, it is an odd one as it puts people at increased risk of depression and suicide.”

Studies have confirmed this connection. Figures examined by Oxford University’s David Stuckler show a correlation between a rise in a country’s unemployment rate and a rise in that country’s suicide rate.

What can be done?

There is another ingredient that can disrupt the link between unemployment and suicide, Sir Michael said.

“The size of the effect varied according to how generous a country was in its spending on social protection, which included unemployment benefits, active labour market programmes, family support and health care,” Sir Michael says.

“The conclusion was straightforward: unemployment damages mental health so severely that it can even lead to suicide, but government policies can make a difference.”

Sir Michael has also been heartened by Lalta’s story.

After a non-governmental organisation installed low-cost, safe sanitation systems to replace the dry latrines she worked to clean, she was able to retrain as a beautician.

“From a heap of humiliation to the heights of self-respect and self-confidence, I believe life has turned out miraculously for the good,” he quoted Lalta as saying.

“When I hear people in rich countries lament appalling working or living conditions with no apparent way out,” he continued, “I remind them of Lalta and people like her in demeaning work all over the world, and the power of group action and vision to transform people’s lives.

“It is worth bearing in mind, as we examine the evidence on work and health, that if the working conditions of India’s scavengers can be improved by concerted action, all working conditions can be improved wherever we find them.”


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Pope Francis Tells Young People To Strengthen Dialogue With God

Image result for pope francis

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis remembered the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on Wednesday, at the end of his weekly General Audience.

In greetings to young people, newlyweds, and all persons suffering illness of any kind, the Holy Father recalled the liturgical feast, connected with St. Helen’s recovery of the Cross in the fourth century, and celebrated in gratitude for the redemption won for us by Christ on the Holy Cross, and in acknowledgement of the instrument of our salvation.

“Today,” said Pope Francis, “we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.”

The Holy Father went on to say, “Dear young people, as you return to the regular rhythms of life  after the summer holidays, strengthen your dialogue with God as well, spreading his light and his peace.”

To those suffering illness, Pope Francis said, “Find comfort in the Cross of the Lord Jesus, who continues His work of redemption in the life of every man.

Newlyweds received a special exhortation from Pope Francis, who told them, “Make the effort to maintain a constant relationship with Christ crucified, that your love might be the more true, fruitful and lasting.”

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Young People Worldwide Fear Lack Of Economic Opportunity

Image result for young people fear

What is the one thing that makes young people everywhere the most anxious? According to the Global Youth Wellbeing Index, it’s a lack of future economic opportunities.

Data from both the OECD and the Youth Wellbeing Index show Australian youth have had it better than just about any other country’s young workforce, but their prospects are also not so rosy.

It’s clear that the millennial cohort has drawn a short straw compared to earlier generations. A large majority (85%) of the world’s youth are experiencing low levels of wellbeing, the index notes.

But they aren’t getting much sympathy: a virulent anti-millennial sentiment has led to their derision as “generation jobless”.

It’s also worth considering how the youth of Australia have fared and expect to fare – because while the verdict has historically been excellent, there are disparities masked by the glossy big picture.

What about Australian young people?

As ample survey data now shows, Australian youth are fretting about their prospects, with lower income growth, overqualification, employment instability and crowding out from many key domains such as housing; all these factors together portend a more stressed generation.

Perhaps no statistic captures this better than the fact that one-quarter of young Australians say they are unhappy with their lives.

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, the number of youth that are “neither in employment, education or training” (often called “NEET”) has actually risen by 1.4% to 11.8%. This equates to 580,000 young people.

Inequality in education tends to be a driver of inequality in employment. Young Australians who have only a Year 10 Certificate are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as those with tertiary education.

There is also a clear disparity by gender. Young women are 50% more likely to be stuck in a NEET situation than men. This is well above the OECD average of 36% for gender disparity.

The problem is particularly prevalent among young Australian women caring for infants. This is why a lack of access to affordable child care and flexible working arrangements are two significant barriers that must be addressed.

There is also a racial aspect to youth employment. Indigenous youth NEET rates are more than three times higher than those of non-indigenous Australians. Part of the challenge in this regard stems from the weak labour markets in remote and very remote regions.

These disparities are often masked when Australia’s impressive overall record is compared with other countries. However, as the Parliamentary Budget Office of Canada has calculated, the economic situation for youth can worsen dramatically in a short time. It did for Canada’s proportion of underemployed youth, which swelled from 35% to 40% in less than five years. So the overall record for Australia could change soon too.

Sadly, in terms of the fear of a bleak economic future, young Australians are not that different from their peers abroad.

A universal fear

Around the world, nearly half the youth are unemployed or underemployed, while more than 120 million youth are still illiterate. So it is difficult to overstate the universality of this problem.

Is this because youth employment has received the least focus? Unemployment has historically taken a back seat to other core priorities towards the young.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for example, include the eradication of hunger, child mortality, illiteracy and disease – but there is no goal for unemployment or underemployment. It may be time to add another notch to these priorities, with a focus on developing strategies for engaging and employing youth.

The benefits if we achieved this goal are far from superficial. It is well documented that when youth are gainfully employed they are less likely to rely on social programs, less inclined to criminality, better engaged in civic life and better poised in their sense of personal wellbeing.


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It’s A ‘Myth’ That Young People Aren’t Willing To Work In Social Care

Like many of his peers, Bradley Bliss had no real plan for his career after leaving school at 16. He trained to be a bricklayer and dipped his toe into the world of IT, but was still clueless about which path to pursue. The answer, however, was closer to home than he thought.

Bliss lives with and looks after his grandmother, a carer with more than 40 years’ experience, his grandfather, who has multiple sclerosis, and an uncle with learning disabilities and autism. On the suggestion of his grandmother, he applied for and was accepted onto Hertfordshire county council’s health and social care training programme in September 2015. He hasn’t looked back since.

Bliss began his apprenticeship at Stevenage Resource Centre, a day centre for people with physical disabilities and learning difficulties, before moving to Westbourne Care Home – a residential facility in Hitchin. Bliss, now 20, enjoys the job so much that he wants to continue his training and become a day centre manager one day.

“I love making the people I care for smile,” he says. “Many of the residents don’t get many visitors and it’s nice to speak to them, get them outside and make them happy.”

Hertfordshire’s scheme began in 2005 to attract 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training into health and social care. Trainees earn £110 a week during the year-long programme and work in a variety of settings including residential care, living services and day centres. One day a week they study at North Herts college for BTec qualifications in health and social care. After completing the course, some go on to level two apprenticeships while others find jobs in the sector. An after-care programme continues to offer support once the training is over.

The scheme was a trailblazer in attracting an often hard-to-reach demographic to social care – a sector which relies heavily on apprentices. There will be between 1.8m and 2.4m available jobs (pdf) in social care by 2025 according to Skills for Care, so attracting school-leavers and graduates is essential to ensure the sector can meet the demands of an ageing workforce.

The recent decision to move the responsibility for apprenticeships from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to the Department for Education (DfE) is hoped to bring about positive change by providing greater continuity from schools and colleges through to the workplace. The portfolios of ministers within the department are still being finalised, according to a DfE spokesperson, so it is still unclear what shape its strategy on apprenticeships will take. The department does, however, still aim to deliver three million new apprenticeship starts in England by 2020.

Paul Rainbow, senior learning and development officer in adult social care at Hertfordshire county council, is hopeful that this move will help employers form stronger partnerships with schools to promote social care as an attractive option for young people.

“It’s really tough to promote care as a career,” he says. “But we are one of the only countries in the world where you don’t have to be qualified to work in it. You can just walk straight off the street and work with minimal induction.”

Rainbow would like schools to move away from pushing university as the best route to career success, and instead talk more about other options available to young people whose best option might not be further and higher education.

“Young people are not getting the careers advice and the support they need,” says Anita Cunningham, head of training for Anchor – a non-profit provider of housing and care for older people.

“Care, for example, has never really been on their agendas until we spoke to them directly. Through the DfE, having schools and colleges in that closer network is going to be how we bring more young people into apprenticeships.”

“We are making assumptions that young people don’t want to do certain careers, but that’s because they are 16 and don’t know about the world of work yet, and we’ve not invested the time to tell them,” Cunningham adds.

Anchor has been recruiting 16- to 24-year-olds to its apprenticeship programme, launched in June 2015, and offering roles from care to customer service by targeting young people on social media.

Current apprentices designed marketing materials to ensure the pictures and language used appealed to other young people. They also worked with professional filmmakers to create a recruitment video that provided direct insight into what it’s like to work in care. This was all shared with their peers on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.

Apprentices also go into schools to give talks to students about the programme. As a result, applications have soared from just a couple of hundred for their first cohort to more than 1,000 for a new round of apprentices who will work solely in care.

Some 87% of those apprentices will go on to find jobs with Anchor. Cunningham believes this is due to the investment they make in their apprentices, such as providing ongoing advice and support during the programme and treating them as valued members of the team. During placements, for example, they are encouraged to get involved in a variety of care duties and are not obliged to do odd jobs or trivial tasks.

The secret to attracting more young people to the sector is “about giving them opportunities and making sure you are telling them compelling stories”, says Cunningham. “Going into schools with apprentices who can talk about the care they have given and the impact that has had is really powerful. It’s a myth that young people don’t want to work in the sector, as long as you give them the right opportunity.”

Beyond closer ties with education, there are hopes that the government’s newapprenticeship levy, which will start in April 2017, will encourage larger social care providers to offer more routes into the sector for school-leavers.

Owen Mapley, director of resources at Hertfordshire county council, says: “The levy presents an opportunity to add to career pathways and offer real opportunities to enter health and social care to groups of people who may not have considered this as a career previously, while also allowing us to build a greater capacity of confident, competent workers and aid retention rates.

“While there are numerous complexities with the application of the levy that will need to be worked through in the coming months, we are actively reviewing these further opportunities and how we could work with other partners and organisations in Hertfordshire to strengthen our offer.”

Join the Social Care Network to read more pieces like this. Follow us on Twitter (@GdnSocialCare) and like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest social care news and views.

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Youth Jobs Report Card

Youth unemployment in Queensland's outback is the highest in the nation.

It’s surprising how many of our politicians, economists and business people fail to see that our preference for looking after high-achieving young people and not worrying too much about the stragglers is a recipe for much more than social injustice and unfulfilled lives.

The earlier we identify and help kids at risk of doing poorly in education, training and employment, the more we help the community as well as the kids.

It’s a social and economic investment. Neglect it and we lose much more later, as people spend more of their life on benefits and add little to the productivity of our workforce.

On the face of it, a report card on our performance, Investing in Youth: Australia – to be released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development at a forum hosted by the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne on Monday – gives us a pass.

Our education system “performs well overall, and school completion rates have been rising in recent years”.

The labour market situation of youth in Australia is “quite favourable by international standards”. Our youth unemployment rate is [a bit] “below the OECD average”.

But this is not so terrific when you remember that “Australia was hit much less heavily by the Great Recession than most other countries”.

“After continuous decline in youth unemployment rates since the early 1990s, rates have started rising again, while youth employment has fallen.”

But the report focuses not on youth unemployment, but on NEETs – the share of youth (people aged 15 to 29) who are “not in employment, education or training”. And, at 11.8 per cent, the share of NEETs was higher in 2015 than it was before the global financial crisis in 2008.

That’s well over half a million young Australians out of education and work. About a third of those are looking for work, but the other two-thirds aren’t.

The first factor driving the high proportion of NEETs is low educational attainment. Quelle surprise.

Youth with, at best, a year 10 certificate, account for more than a third of the NEETs. And their risk of being in that state is three times as high as for those with tertiary education.

Worse, “many NEETs lack foundational skills (numeracy and literacy) and non-cognitive skills, which are important prerequisites for labour market success,” the report finds.

But there’s hope if we bother helping. “Recent research demonstrates, however, that non-cognitive skills, like cognitive skills, remain malleable for young people through special interventions.”

Get this: the risk of being NEET is 50 per cent higher for women, and women account for 60 per cent of all NEETs.

So the biggest single explanation of why so many NEETs aren’t looking for work is that many of them are young mothers with a child below the age of four. And don’t assume they’re all sole parents on welfare.

The report adds that NEET rates are substantially higher among Indigenous youth, who represent 3 per cent of the youth population, but 10 per cent of all NEETs.

And the likelihood of being NEET is substantially higher for youth with disabilities.

In case you’re tempted by visions of all those lazy loafers out surfing, or with their feet up watching daytime television, the report says NEETs “tend to exhibit higher rates of psychological stress and lower levels of life satisfaction” than other youth.

In its own ever-so-polite way, the report notes our less-than-stellar performance. The completion rate for vocational and educational training certificates and apprenticeships “remains low by international standards”.

That’s one way to acknowledge the awful stuff-up we’ve made of VET.

Australia has a wonderful, very flexible, market-based network of employment service providers that “cover, however, only about 60 per cent of NEETs, leaving around 200,000 youth unserviced”. Oh.

“Young jobseekers’ participation in training programs increased over the last years, but this trend came to a halt with the recent expansion of Work for the Dole”, we’re told.

“Given strong evidence on positive employment effects of training, including for disadvantaged jobseekers, Australia should continue promoting training program participation as an effective way of moving young jobseekers into stable employment.”

Translation: what’s up with you people?

The report praises our Youth Connections program and its effectiveness in improving educational attainment for youth at risk of dropping out of school – before noting it was phased out in 2014.

“The recent tightening of eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits may create additional incentives to actively look for work, but it also bears the risk of pushing the most disadvantaged youth into inactivity and possibly poverty,” we’re told.

Translation: you mean Aussie bastards.

Ross Gittins is the Herald’s economics editor.



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