The Business Council and The Smith Family have joined forces on a new program to give young Australians from disadvantaged backgrounds the best chance to kickstart their careers.
The Cadetship to Career program, to be launched in Sydney today, will initially place 50 university and vocational training students into an eight-week, full-time paid cadetship with a Business Council member company for each year of their studies.
The students will also receive financial support to assist with living and educational expenses, ongoing support to ease their transition from school to tertiary study, and training in skills that are increasingly valued by employers.
The students entering tertiary study are drawn from The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program, which supports disadvantaged young people to make the most of their education and prepare them for the future.
Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said: “These cadetships are about opening doors for students who don’t have the same head-start in life that other students might.
“At the same time, they’ll learn the kinds of skills that are prized by employers but not always taught in formal education, such as problem solving, collaboration and high-level digital skills.
“This unique partnership will provide a practical and positive mechanism for big business to help support young people to overcome the challenges of transitioning from education into the workforce,” Ms Westacott said.
The Smith Family chief executive Dr Lisa O’Brien said: “Disadvantaged young people face some really tough challenges when it comes to education and employment.
“Against the odds, these students have made it through to tertiary study – but many lack the connections and personal support to help them gain the skills they need in a competitive job market.
“This program is an incredible opportunity to secure paid work experience in a well-known Australian company, helping these young people to kickstart their career and, ultimately, achieve better life outcomes,” Dr O’Brien said.
The Smith Family’s own research has identified five core preconditions that are needed to support a young person’s transition to work: stable economic supports, supportive relationships and networks, capacity to assess labour market opportunities, job readiness and employability skills, and opportunities to develop their skills.
Dr O’Brien and Ms Westacott said: “The Business Council and The Smith Family are united in their belief that a prosperous nation is one in which everyone has access to the education and training they need to gain a meaningful job.”