Abbott called on to lift youth employment rate

A TOP business group has called on the Abbott Government to work with the states to help lift some half a million jobless youth out of unemployment.

The proposal, from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has outlined several key measures to help offer more traineeships and school-to-work links.

It included specific measures for Treasurer Joe Hockey's first budget, due in just five weeks, including converting Work for the Dole to help train up young people for new jobs.

The Abbott Government has plans to hand out payments for long-term unemployed to move to find work, and has begun an expansion of the Work for the Dole program.

But a policy document from the ACCI said the figures on young unemployed people, which showed 500,000 of 3.1 million were "not in full or part time work or study", were alarming.

"We're calling on governments, both state and federal, to tackle the problem holistically with a Learning to Work program, which is more efficient and effective than the existing programs, some of which have been defunded or may soon be," chamber president Peter Hood said.

He said the combination of state government cuts to training programs and a move by the previous government to cut incentives for apprentices did no favours for young Australians.

Among the budget proposals were to increase funding for young people to move into training directly through schools, a commitment to provide apprenticeships with the states.

The chamber also suggested the government look at expanding work experience opportunities for young Australians with a disability at school, to help find a job for them before they graduate.

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