Budget: Parramatta, Hills students lose

About 6000 students will miss out on mentoring and work readiness programs each year after the federal government cut all funding to Partnership Brokers.

The service creates partnerships between high schools and industry to give young people employment skills.

Money from the federal government had accounted for about 68 per cent of The Australian Schools Industry Partnership’s (AusSIP) funding to build links between businesses and schools in The Hills and Parramatta regions.

These include a work inspiration program, where students in years 10 and 11 are mentored by business community members.

Chief executive John Watters said he was extremely disappointed the service would cease to exist by the end of the year.

‘‘We talk about kids transitioning to work as quickly as possible, but there are now no support services,’’ he said.

‘‘The number of careers advisors in schools have been reduced and their workload altered to be more teaching time rather than advice time, so the support available for school [students] is diminishing on both sides.’’

Figures from a Department of Employment 2013 employer’s survey show western Sydney employers see an average of 12.5 applicants for each vacancy, and find just one of those applicants suitable.

‘‘There seems to be a perspective that young people are not being employed because they’re simply not trying hard enough,’’ Mr Watters said.

‘‘I’ve never come across a kid whose ultimate aim in life is just to be on unemployment benefits.

‘‘In my experience kids want to be successful, they just don’t know how to get there a lot of the time.’’ 

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