MEDIA RELEASE: Australia investing $91 billion in education but still not equipped with the skills for the future

MEDIA RELEASE: Australia investing $91 billion in education but still not equipped with the skills for the future

Governments across Australia are investing $91 billion in education and training annually, yet almost 1 in 3 young Australians is unemployed or underemployed according to new analysis by AlphaBeta for the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA).

This high rate of youth unemployment is a lost opportunity for the Australian economy of more than $4.5 billion each year and diminishing the prospects of a generation of young people.  

FYA CEO Jan Owen AM said that with 70% of young people currently learning skills that will be redundant by 2030, the mismatch between skills supply and demand is now one of the most pressing economic challenges facing Australia.

“We must transform our approach to learning so that current and future workers have the skills employers need and the cultural competencies required to thrive. This includes foundational skills, technical or job specific skills, career management capabilities and enterprise skills – often called ‘soft’ or ‘21st century’ skills.”

Yesterday the Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised to create an extra 1.25 million jobs over the next five years, but it’s not clear how young Australians will get their share of these without the right skills. 

There is now a critical mass of employer groups, economists, academics and graduates calling for urgent policy reform to ensure our young Australians have the skills required to navigate our changing economy and job market.

“To get to where we need by 2030, and avoid the economic and social crisis that is looming, we need a strong framework that delivers systemic change and that is based on evidence. We also need to  bring together a cross section of the community including employers, educators and government to make this work,” Ms Owen said.

“Young people, as the learners at the centre of this reform, are also crucial to this conversation and must be involved in the thinking and design of future learning systems and environments.”

FYA is proposing a national discussion with all the key players to create an agreed platform for action. This discussion would form the cornerstone of a four-part Future Skills Framework 2030.  

“Without an integrated approach we are likely to end up with even greater problems, with employers, education and training providers, workers and the national economy all losers. This approach would allow all parties – including young people – to be actively involved in developing a shared vision of the solutions to support immediate and long-term reform.”

Redressing this will be the defining challenge for all governments through to 2030. Business as usual is not an option.

See the National Fact Sheet here.  


Please contact FYA’s Head of External Affairs and Communications, Shona McPherson via 0407 507 580 or for further information.