Explainer: Youth Jobs PaTH

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Youth Jobs PaTH is an Australian Government employment service that helps young people gain skills and work experience they need to get and keep a job.

This article was updated on 28 March 2022.

What is Youth Jobs PaTH?

Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare, Trial, Hire) helps young, inexperienced job seekers who struggle to enter the labour market. It has three elements:

  • Prepare — Employability Skills Training helps young people better understand what employers expect of them in the workplace and equips them with the skills and behaviours to be successful in finding and keeping a job.
  • Trial — voluntary PaTH Internships of four to 12 weeks give young unemployed people a chance to show what they can do in real workplaces.
  • Hire — a Youth Bonus Wage Subsidy of up to $10,000 (GST inclusive) has been available since 1 January 2017 to help more businesses hire young people.

Youth Jobs PaTH is a flagship youth employment program that will help meet the government’s commitment to create 250,000 additional jobs for young Australians over the five years from 2019 to 2024.

The program is delivering real results for young Australians right across the country, from inner city suburbs to regional towns. More than 139,300 young people have participated in the program, with over 88,900 (or 63.8 per cent) getting a job (as at 28 February 2022).

The program offers a flexible approach and job seekers may participate in any element, in any order. At the individual element level Youth Jobs PaTH is also contributing to positive employment outcomes for young Australians.

What issues is Youth Jobs PaTH addressing?

The Australian Government is committed to helping young people receive the support they need to increase their employability and move into work or appropriate training.

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people has been severe and more young people are receiving assistance through Government employment services.

At 9.3 per cent, the youth unemployment rate is more than double the seasonally adjusted national rate of 4.0 per cent (as at February 2022). Youth Jobs PaTH creates opportunities for young Australians under 25 years to improve their job readiness, work experience, and move away from a lifetime of welfare.

Young people who are at risk of long-term unemployment need assistance to build their work experience and skills in the workplace and have a better chance of getting a job.

Young people have difficulty simply getting a job because competition for job vacancies is high. Young people are competing with other experienced job seekers who are already working or have recently worked. This competition makes it hard for young, inexperienced job seekers to get a foot in the door.

Youth Jobs PaTH helps young people become more competitive in the labour market by ensuring they have the basic employability skills that businesses need, while providing them with opportunities to demonstrate those skills and secure ongoing employment.

How does Youth Jobs PaTH work?

Youth Jobs PaTH responds to employer and industry feedback that young people can increase their job prospects by improving their employability skills and gaining relevant work experience.

The Prepare, Trial and Hire elements of Youth Jobs PaTH are flexible which allows eligible young people to be referred to the elements that best suit their needs and level of work-readiness, and in any order. For example, a participant could undertake Employability Skills Training followed by an internship and then complete further training. Alternatively, they could complete Employability Skills Training and then move into a job with the assistance of a Youth Bonus wage subsidy.

How much money is invested in Youth Jobs PaTH?

The Australian Government remains committed to supporting young people through the successful Youth Jobs PaTH program, investing $449.7 million in the program over five years from 2021-2022 to 2025-26.

From July 2020, the funding for Youth Jobs PaTH Internships became demand driven, replacing the previous capped funding arrangements. This allows the PaTH Internship program to retain the capacity to scale up to meet demand from young people and employers, including providing flexibility to accommodate the PaTH Business Placement Partnerships.

How many job seekers have participated?

At the end of February 2022, over 139,300 young people had participated in at least one element of Youth Jobs PaTH, with over 88,900 (63.8 per cent) obtaining a job placement.

The number of internships is almost three times higher than a similar unpaid work experience program under Job Services Australia This previous unpaid work experience program was available for job seekers of any age, not just young people. This makes the number of internships being achieved under PaTH more noteworthy.

What do participants think of PaTH?

Breaking the cycle of welfare dependency by securing employment can have a profound positive effect on young people. This includes improved motivation, increased self-confidence, and optimism for the future.

Watch young people talk about how getting a job with the help of Youth Jobs PaTH changed their outlook on life:

Youth Jobs PaTH also helps employers by preparing young people, so that they are ready to be hired. Through Youth Jobs PaTH, employers can trial a young person in the workplace, and receive a wage subsidy if the young person is then employed.

Prepare — Employability Skills Training

What is Employability Skills Training?

While the ultimate goal is to assist young people into sustainable work, Youth Jobs PaTH recognises some young people need a range of services or assistance to help them on the pathway to work.

Employability Skills Training helps young people better understand what employers expect in the recruitment process and the workplace. It equips them with the skills and behaviours to be successful in a job. The training is delivered by Registered Training Organisations.

How does Employability Skills Training work?

Employability Skills Training is available to young people under 25 years of age from their first day in jobactive; the Australian Government’s main employment service; or in one of the two New Employment Services Trial regions. Employability Skills Training is also available to job seekers in Online Employment Services. Employability Skills Training consists of two 75-hour blocks delivered over three or five weeks. Young job seekers can do one or both blocks, in any order, depending on their needs.

Training Block 1

Pre-employment skills to prepare young people to meet employer expectations. Core skills include managing career and work life, reliability, communication skills, problem solving, teamwork and using office technology. Industry-specific training provides pre-employment skills for sectors as wide ranging as retail, community services, automotive, business, civil construction, tourism, and telecommunications.

Training Block 2

Career development and job preparation. Participants learn advanced job hunting and interview skills while also increasing their understanding of the labour market. Young people attend industry awareness experiences, getting exposure to different work environments to help them identify which industry is right for them.

Participation in Employability Skills Training is voluntary for the first six months the job seeker starts in jobactive.

After six months in jobactive, participation in both blocks of training is mandatory. However, the job seeker’s jobactive provider can apply a temporary exemption if another activity better meets the young person’s needs (e.g. work experience, a PaTH internship or other accredited training). A temporary exemption can also be applied if the jobactive provider assesses the job seeker has non-vocational barriers or if they already possess the skills provided by the training.

Is Employability Skills Training subject to compliance action?

If a young job seeker has a mandatory requirement to participate in Employability Skills Training, their participation helps them satisfy their Mutual Obligation requirements for their income support payment.

Young people who fail to start or attend the training as required may be subject to compliance action. This may include a temporary suspension of their income support payment and potentially a demerit and financial penalty (where accrued demerits have placed the job seeker in the ‘penalty zone’ and two capability reviews have been conducted).

What are the benefits of Employability Skills Training?

It is not always easy for young people to apply for jobs and promote themselves to employers. Participating in Employability Skills Training can increase their job prospects by helping them gain the skills employers are looking for, as well as gaining exposure to workplaces and building networks.

At the end of February 2022, data from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment shows that when a young person participates in Employability Skills Training they increase their chances of getting a job.  When allowing for a full six months to achieve an outcome, 44.2 per cent of job seekers who participated in one or both blocks of EST go on to obtain a job placement and/or internship.  The data also shows that participants who successfully complete an internship following the training are even more likely to get and sustain a job, specially compared with job seekers of the same age who do not participate in PaTH.

Trial — PaTH Internships

A Youth Jobs PaTH Internship is a voluntary structured work trial placement. It is an opportunity for participants to demonstrate their skills to the host business.

Young people in Transition to Work, Disability Employment Services, or streams B and C in jobactive, aged 17–24 and on income support, are immediately eligible to participate in internships.

Young people in Stream A of jobactive, who have undertaken one or both blocks of Employability Skills Training are also eligible following participation in the training or following six months in jobactive.

Participants receive an incentive payment of $200 per fortnight on top of their regular income support payment, paid by the Australian Government. This is not a wage.

For host businesses, a PaTH Internship provides an opportunity to see how a young person fits into their business and if they are suitable for future employment. Host businesses receive an upfront incentive of $1,000 to help cover the costs of training, and the supervision requirements of hosting the young person.

A PaTH Internship runs for between four and 12 weeks, for a minimum of 30 hours and a maximum of 50 hours per fortnight.

The details of the PaTH internship placement, such as the duties of the intern and the dates and hours of attendance, are agreed between the participant, host business and employment services provider to ensure they meet the needs of the participant and host business. PaTH Internship placements are co designed to meet the needs of the participant and host business.

An intern can undertake any suitable activities that are part of the business’s standard practices. For example, an intern may:

  • undertake tasks to do with stock management and customer service in a retail shop
  • shadow a carpenter and help with measuring, quoting and delivering supplies
  • assist with office or reception tasks.

What are the benefits of a PaTH Internship?

PaTH Internships provide young people with real world, on-the-job experience needed to help them find a job.

Participants gain vocational skills in the industry of their choice, while improving their job prospects and building confidence to enter the labour market.

PaTH Internships also give young people the opportunity to participate in an industry to see whether it suits them. A young person may undertake an internship in an industry or role that they previously knew little about and discover a career path they didn’t know existed.

For host businesses, PaTH Internships provide an opportunity to trial a young person to find out if they are the right fit for the business. As internships are voluntary, these motivated young job seekers are keen to be part of the host business.

PaTH Internships are achieving good employment outcomes for participants. Post-program monitoring by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment shows 67.4 per cent of young people who participated in a PaTH Internship between July 2020 and June 2021 were undertaking paid employment when surveyed three months later.

What safeguards are in place to protect interns?

Employment services providers play an important role i setting up an internship placement. They ensure the placement is suitable for the young person, evaluate the risks of the placement, and ensure the intern is prepared with the right equipment or training.

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment and employment services providers monitor all PaTH internship placements including through:

  • data analytics processes
  • targeted assurance activities
  • incident reporting
  • complaints monitoring
  • tip-offs through the National Customer Service Line (1800 805 260)
  • feedback from participants, host businesses and providers.

Providers also check that the intern and host business understand their roles, rights and responsibilities before all parties sign the Internship Agreement.

Before signing the Internship Agreement, the employment services provider explains the terms and conditions of the internship. After signing the Internship Agreement, the provider gives the intern a copy of the Internship Agreement, a fact sheet, a contact card, and information on insurance.

The participant can end the internship placement at any time, without penalty to their income support payment. There are a number of reasons why the placement may end early, for example, if the young person has decided that the industry is not for them.

During the placement, the intern is supervised by a person with a high level of skills or knowledge of the activities the intern will undertake and ensures the intern undertakes tasks appropriate to their skills and knowledge in a safe environment.

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment purchases insurance for all job seekers participating in employment assistance programs, including PaTH Internships.

What safeguards are in place to ensure host businesses meet program requirements?

Before hosting an intern, the host business must meet a range of eligibility requirements.

There must be a reasonable prospect of employment for an intern following the internship, and the business must verify that an intern will not displace an existing employee or reduce an existing employee’s hours of work. A reasonable prospect of employment means the business:

  • has a current vacancy
  • will likely have a vacancy following the internship, or
  • has a regular pattern of recruitment for a position aligned with the participant’s interests, experience, and qualifications.

Employment services providers check a business’s suitability to host an intern, using a combination of placement history and local knowledge. Providers have access to information about host businesses, such as the number of interns hosted and employed by a business.

Hire — Youth Bonus Wage Subsidy

What is a Youth Bonus wage subsidy?

The Youth Bonus wage subsidy is a financial incentive for businesses to employ young people in an ongoing job. The wage subsidy provides up to $10,000 (GST inclusive) over six months to employers who hire eligible young job seekers 15–24 years of age in ongoing employment. In addition to being ongoing, the position must average at least 20 hours a week over the six months. An employer who hires multiple job seekers may be able to receive a wage subsidy for each eligible job seeker.

What are the benefits of Youth Bonus wage subsidy?

Wage subsidies aim to incentivise an employer to hire a new worker by contributing to the initial costs of employment. Wage subsidies benefit participants by increasing their opportunities to gain skills and experience through ongoing and sustainable employment.

What safeguards are in place to protect wage subsidy participants?

Providers offer post placement support to wage subsidy participants to ensure the placement is suitable and to assist the participant to address any concerns with the employer.

Employer obligations include working with the provider to address any concerns with the performance or behaviour of wage subsidised participants.

The Youth Bonus wage subsidy has specific eligibility criteria to ensure support is appropriately targeted and participants are placed in suitable work.

A young person is eligible for a youth bonus wage subsidy if they:

  • are 15 to 24 years of age
  • are a Fully Eligible Participant Commenced with a jobactive, TtW or ParentsNext Provider
  • have received employment services from a jobactive, TtW, ParentsNext, DES or CDP Provider continuously for the last six months, excluding Indigenous Australians who are immediately eligible.
  • have Mutual Obligation Requirements at the time they commenced in the Wage Subsidy Placement.

If the Participant loses the Youth Bonus wage subsidised job through no fault of their own within six months of starting, they may return to a Provider and immediately be eligible for another Youth Bonus Wage Subsidy, or any other Wage Subsidy they are otherwise eligible for.

What safeguards are in place so employers meet program requirements?

Similar to internship hosts, before accessing a wage subsidy, the employer must meet a range of eligibility requirements. Employers must declare the employment position is ongoing and sustainable and not expected to end when the wage subsidy payments cease, and that the employment of the wage subsidy participant will not displace an existing employee.

The employment position must also comply with Employment standards as established under all relevant Commonwealth, state or territory law (for example, be suitable work that pays the minimum award wage) and not otherwise be considered a Non-Payable Outcome as defined in the relevant Deed/s.

Employment services providers are responsible for determining the suitability of the placement for the wage subsidy participant. Providers are best placed to assess the needs of participants and employers and have the discretion to determine whether a wage subsidy is offered. This means that a provider may choose not to offer a wage subsidy even if all eligibility requirements are met.

The department regularly monitors administrative data to identify misuse of wage subsidies by both employers and providers and investigates 100 per cent of complaints, tip-offs and allegations of misuse.

The department undertakes regular targeted assurance activities to monitor risks and participates in regular Rolling Random Sample activities to ensure payment integrity.

Correct at time of publication.

Correct at time of publication.