Michelle Lensink

Public Service Drops Youth Employment

Official figures show that youth in South Australia's public service had declined by 7.4 percent under the Rann Government, according to Liberal Legislative Councillor Michelle Lensink.

Ms Lensink said that a special workforce report produced by the Commissioner for Public Employment showed that the number of young people - aged 15 to 24 years employed in the public service had fallen from 5,629 in June 2002 to 5, 211 by June 2003.

"Young people now make up 6.1 percent of the public service workforce - a fall from 6.7 percent under the previous Liberal Government," Ms Lensink said.

"This is disappointing but not entirely surprising given the policies of the Rann Government and their abandonment of the system of traineeships that successfully employed significant numbers of school lavers and graduates.

"The Government says it supports young people but it should lead by example and creating opportunities for young men and women entering the workforce. At present it seems to have little response to the ongoing problem of youth gaining their initial experience of employment."

Ms Lensink said trainees and apprentices employed in the public sector by 23 percent and those in graduate entry programs had decreased by and alarming 55.9 percent since the present government came to office.

"The State's public sector is ageing", she said. "Over the next five to ten years it will lose large numbers of skilled and experienced workers as they move into retirement.

"An injection of younger people is essential to make sure our publc service can maintain and renew itself over coming decades.

"But the government must act quickly and develop a plan to hire and train public sector administrators and skilled tradespeople of tomorrow while there is still time for them to benefit from the service's existing and corporate memory."

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