A Bendigo youth employment network says the youth unemployment rate in Bendigo would improve if more students completed Year 12.
Students were limiting their employment opportunities when they left high school early, Goldfields Local Learning Employment network executive officer Anne Brosnan said.
"You really do need to try and complete Year 12," she said. "It's highly unlikely that an apprenticeship or employment is going to be offered at the end of Year 10 because employers are looking for those students who finish Year 12.
"And then it's always good to upskill yourself. So wherever it is, wherever you start, do your very best, but always be looking for other opportunities - even short term certificates. Build what's sitting in your CV."
The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Bendigo has a youth unemployment rate of 8.8 per cent for June 2019.
That figure is down from the 18.3 per cent in December 2018 and 13.6 per cent in March 2019, but an ABS spokesperson said the rate could be higher due to limitations in the way data is collected.
"The labour force survey is designed to provide accurate estimates at the national and state and territory level," an ABS spokesperson said.
"Due to the smaller sample sizes for regional areas, estimates can be more volatile from month to month, particularly when broken down by age and sex."
Even at 8.8 per cent, youth unemployment in Bendigo is considerably higher than the national unemployment rate of 5.2 per cent.
CVGT general manger of regional business Vaughan Adams said there needed to be a continued push in the business community to support young people in the workforce.
"People can be unemployed for a range of reasons and there's often no quick answer as to why the unemployment rate is so high," he said. "We are definitely at the higher end of things but there are other regions like Warrnambool where youth unemployment is the lowest in the state.
"Those regions have made a considerable push to employ young people and it seems to be working. I think investing in our young people is important. We all have to play our part.
"In some industries there will be skill shortages down the track and there will not be enough qualified people. We need to give opportunities to young people because they will be filling the jobs of the future."
Ms Brosnan has commended local businesses for providing more and more opportunities for students through the GLLEN program.
She said many students have an "unrealistic picture" of what employees expect of them when the reality was quite simple.
"The technical skills and areas like literacy and numeracy are obviously important but so are the soft skills," she said. "Things like good manners, dedication, and turning up to work on time are all things that employers look for.
"Students also need to be careful with social media and what they put online because employers do look at that. We've had some students turned back from opportunities because of what they posted on Facebook or elsewhere."
Collaboration between the education sector and industry was also key to improving the situation for future generations, Ms Brosnan said.
"The more we can build partnerships between education, business and industry about modern and emerging world of works the more informed students are," she said.
"The more contributions they have from outside the school base, the more they're going to get the help they need."
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