A BORDER jobs agency has called on companies to support unemployed young people.
Sureway invited businesses to a meeting at the Commercial Club yesterday in a bid to cut youth unemployment.
Figures show 17.5 per cent of those aged 15 to 24 in the Hume region were not working.
A Brotherhood of St Laurence report has said the region has the ninth highest rate of unemployment in the nation — and the highest in the state.
Sureway area manager Cindy Wallace said the agency aimed to find work for 20 youths within a month.
“So we’ll be working with young people to reverse market them to employers who have att-ended today,” she said.
“Hopefully they’ll come to us and say they’ve got an opportunity for a traineeship or apprenticeship.
“A lot of young people are straight out of school — they may not have gone to university so they don’t have work experience.
“That seems to be the biggest killer for them; a lot of employees say they need some experience, but no one is willing to give them a go.”
The breakfast featured written testimony from young people highlighting their skills, rather than their resumes.
Ms Wallace said all Sureway’s clients were on some form of government benefits.
Ex-AFL footballer Dermott Brereton spoke at the function about opp- ortunities he had been given.
“It does require somebody to extend the hand of friendship, and go out of their way to supply an opportunity,” he said.
“It’s about extending a hand of good faith to people and helping someone who, years down the track, might be able to repay the favour.”
The father-of-two said he believed there was more pressure placed on young people today than there had been when he was growing up.
The meeting was attended by about 80 people, covering a diverse range of industries.