Jobless youth growth fastest in Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury

Youth unemployment has grown the fastest in Baulkham Hills and the Hawkesbury compared to the rest of the state, the Brotherhood of St Laurence says.

The social services provider said new Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data released in March shows a 73 per cent jump in jobless youth in Baulkham Hills, up to 11.6 per cent in the year to February 2014.

Brotherhood director Tony Nicholson said the increase was part of a “broad pattern” of rising youth unemployment across Australia and if the trends continue, Baulkham Hills’ youth unemployment would hit 20.8 per cent.

“With an ageing population, we will need these young people to be in the mainstream workforce in decades to come to drive the economy," Mr Nicholson said.

"We can’t afford to have them not actively engaged in work and we can’t afford the cost of welfare payments to them."

MTC Australia youth outreach worker Shiva Gounden said he wasn't surprised by those figures.

His service covers Rouse Hill to Dundas from The Hills and Parramatta council areas.

“There’s a common challenge for young people to find employment ... when you try to connect young people to employment services, you see that many people are hesitant to hire them,’’ he said.

He said clients from Parramatta can face “extreme barriers” like homelessness or drug and alcohol abuse, whereas clients from the Hills are "often from wealthier families and face problems like parental neglect, low self-esteem and some cannabis use".

"It could mean that the parents are working long hours so the kids don’t really get that support,’’ he added.

Questions to The Hills Council were not responded to before the Sun's deadline.

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