Byron wants more in jobs
A YOUTH employment forum has heard young people in the Byron Shire need more assistance to enter the workforce.
The Local Youth Employment Forum was held at Byron Bay yesterday as part of National Youth Week.
The forum brought together members of Byron Bay's Youth Council and employers and training organisations.
Byron Shire Mayor Jan Barham said unemployment remains a problem in Byron Bay.
"There has always been a lack of employment since the 1980s, when we lost the abattoir. Tourism was meant to provide jobs but sadly it's not delivering on the employment front," Cr Barham said.
"This is about creating opportunities for young people so that if they want to stay in this community there are long-term opportunities for them."
Many young people said they also have to compete with travellers for jobs in Byron Bay.
Byron United board member Adrian Nelson believes there are still plenty of businesses who want to employ local youth.
"Obviously the pressure from the backpacker market is a challenge for the youth but local businesses are also family members and ratepayers and they like to see the community prosper too," Mr Nelson said.
The forum is an initiative from the council's Youth Strategy and Action Plan to create meaningful employment for young people.
Employment agencies and education providers showed off their projects and services.
Youth Council member Phoebe Lines pointed to a lack of public transport as a barrier for young job seekers.
She said young people have unique skills that are needed by employers.
"We can design websites and do social media and marketing so easily," Ms Lines said.
"We are savvy and capable and you just need to give us an opportunity."
The forum included a discussion about successful youth employment initiatives used in Australia and overseas.
The council will now be presented with potential projects and strategies to boost employment in the shire.
Mr Nelson's advice to young job seekers is to not give up.
"Be persistent. Don't take the first rejection as the end. Keep knocking on the door and show you're very willing to learn and have a go."
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