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Survey finds young Aboriginal people place high value on finding a job

Date posted: 8 May 2013

A recent survey by Mission Australia on Australia's youth has found young Aboriginal people are more likely to be looking for work than their non-Aboriginal peers, however they are notably less likely to feel they can choose to go to university, travel or find a job upon finishing school than the latter group.

More than 640 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, aged 15 to 19 years, completed Mission Australia's 2012 youth survey.

The survey found young Aboriginal people feel less safe in their communities and are more likely to be concerned about the impact of alcohol, drugs and gambling than young non-Aboriginals according to the nation's largest annual survey of young people.

Mission Australia's Chief Executive Officer, Toby Hall, said while differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal young people remain stark, the survey uncovered a number of areas of common ground.

‘Unsurprisingly, the results show significant gaps between young Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people across employment, education, family and welfare indicators,' said Mr Hall, ‘but encouragingly, there are a number of areas where the two groups share common ground and young Aboriginal people reveal themselves to be both resilient and determined to create a positive future for themselves, their families and communities.'

Results from the survey include:

Mr Hall said the results highlighted a number of specific policy areas for attention which may assist young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to achieve their future potential.

‘We began compiling separate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survey results in 2005 and every year a consistent feature has been, against stereotype, the higher value young Aboriginal people place on finding a job. For this reason, the most successful programs at closing the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal young people are likely to be ones that harness this determination.'

The survey showed that in their responses young Aboriginal people asked for more opportunities for recreation and engagement with their communities and sought to involve themselves in cultural activities, youth clubs, environmental groups and sport.

‘The great thing is that when we asked young Aboriginal people how they felt about the future, the answer was resoundingly optimistic.' Mr Hall said. The survey showed more than two-thirds of young Aboriginal people were positive about the future while only 11% were negative. The remaining 22% were neither.

‘As more Aboriginal children enter their teens, we must be ready to help them reach their full potential,' said Mr Hall

 Mission Australia


Paul Andrews
Media contact
Ph: (02) 9219 2080
Mobile: 0409 665 495


Last updated: 8 May 2013
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute