COAG engages youth in jobs-creation meeting

COAG agrees to series of education and training measures to counter rising unemployment

Governments have agreed to a series of education and training measures to counter rising unemployment, with particular focus on youth engagement.

State premiers and territory chief ministers met with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Hobart yesterday.

In a bid to increase young people’s engagement with education and training pathways, leaders agreed on a package that gives teenagers entitlement to training places.

The Compact with Young Australians program means young people aged between 15 and 19 now have the entitlement to an education or training place for any government-subsidised qualification.

It also ensures people aged 20 to 24 years are offered an education or training place which will result in a higher qualification.

The Commonwealth will provide competitive performance-based funding of $100 million to the states to support delivery of the Compact program.

States also considered an 'earning or learning' requirement which would make participation in education, training or employment compulsory until the age of 17 and enforce schooling until completion of Year 10.

Those who have completed Year 10 would be required to participate in full-time (25 hours per week) education, training, or employment until 17 under the plan.

COAG also agreed to bring forward the 90 percent Year 12 or equivalent attainment rate target from 2020 to 2015.

In relation to Australian apprenticeships, COAG agreed to the establishment of a time-limited taskforce to undertake urgent work to support engagement and retention.

The need for stronger and more cohesive national regulatory arrangements for vocational education and training (VET) was also paramount to COAG discussion, according to the meeting communique.

Proposed operational models, including a national regulatory body, will be provided to COAG by September 2009.

Meanwhile, a report on the National Building and Jobs Plan reveasl that implementation is now moving from the planning and approval stage to the building and construction phase.

To date essential repairs have been carried out on around 45,000 social housing dwellings, while work has started on projects to build 2,600 new units, 802 new Defence homes and refurbishment projects at 5,965 schools.

COAG says the investment is on track to provide immediate employment opportunities to address the global economic crisis.

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