Fifty of Australia’s leading chief executives were put under the spotlight by a group of secondary students today as part of a new partnership between the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) and the Business Council of Australia (BCA).
The students were given the opportunity to question the CEOs about how they came to be among Australia’s most successful business leaders. In turn, the CEOs were given an insight into the aspirations of young Australians, and the challenges many of them face in making the transition from education to the world of work.
The roundtable is the start of a conversation the two organisations want the whole of Australia to be having about supporting young people in making a successful transition from education to employment.
With youth unemployment and underemployment emerging as a major concern in Australia, the BCA and FYA will collaborate around four main objectives, to:
- enable the BCA and the FYA to work together to identify work-exposure opportunities, and a range of measures to better prepare young people for the world of work beyond the classroom
- build a mutually beneficial policy and advocacy agenda to improve young Australians’ transitions from education to employment, resulting in enhanced employability for young people
- broaden the BCA’s understanding of issues affecting young Australians
- strengthen the capacity of FYA to liaise with the business community.
“The BCA regards youth unemployment as one of the greatest national priorities for government and business to tackle. It is simply unthinkable that in a country with strong economic fundamentals, we can’t ensure all young people have a job or career opportunities,” incoming BCA President Catherine Livingstone said.
“Our CEOs are deeply concerned about youth unemployment, but even more so because many young people applying for jobs, or who are new to the workforce, don’t appear to have the right skills or capacity.
“There is much we can do to help young people understand the opportunities that are available to them in a more global and technologically advanced world, and the skills they need to make the most of those opportunities.
“We need to be doing more ourselves to understand young people and their work aspirations so that our workplaces are geared up to make the most of young people’s energy, adaptability and ideas to ensure they can contribute to, and benefit from, Australia’s prosperity.”
FYA CEO Jan Owen AM said that every young Australian should have the skills, capabilities and opportunities to be successful in life and work.
“Career choices determine a young person’s long-term financial and social wellbeing. FYA works alongside the Smith Family, Beacon Foundation and NAB to provide work-exposure opportunities that prepare young people for the world of work.
“The partnership between the BCA and the FYA reflects a mutually beneficial agenda for both organisations to improve the social and economic inclusion of young Australians. Our ability to achieve enduring prosperity rests on young people’s ability to contribute their skills and ideas and help build the communities they live in.”