Why we need a COVID-19 Recovery Plan for Young People

COVID-19 is a generation-defining pandemic which will disproportionately impact young people long-term. We can't just go back to how things were before COVID-19, when we were already facing increased youth unemployment, insecure housing, mental-ill health as well as the threat of climate change.

That’s why we’ve spoken with young people, business leaders, economists, health experts, industry groups and youth workers to develop a COVID-19 Recovery Plan for Young People that revives our future and restores hope and optimism in our lives.

By investing in our future, you’re investing in everyone’s future.

If you support our Recovery Plan, take action now by:

  1. Join our campaign and meet your local MP
  2. Sign your organisation to endorse and support us
  3. Share the campaign on your networks using this sharepack

Summary of six recommendations from the Recovery Plan (see more below)

Download the full Recovery Plan here

Read the full media release here

The Recommendations to Revive Our Future

Jobs for Young People

Jobs for Young People social media tile

In a crisis, youth unemployment is the first to rise, and the last to recover. Young people are more vulnerable to job losses because many young people work in casual jobs and industries like hospitality and retail. And over 30% of young people are either unemployed or underemployed, which potentially means a long-term economic scarring effect on this generation of young workers.

We need secure, meaningful jobs to address the economic crisis for young people over the next decade. And we can achieve this by:

  1. Creating a Youth Employment Strategy that provides meaningful and secure work for all young people.
  2. Creating jobs for young people through a Youth Jobs Guarantee and dedicated economic stimulus.
  3. Supporting young people into jobs with targeted resources and strategies.
  4. Providing relevant training through employment education at school.

Mental Health Support for Young People

Mental Health social media tile

COVID-19 is not just a global pandemic, but a looming mental health crisis. Social isolation, insecure work, and uncertainty about the future have all played a toll on young people’s mental health, with a 33% increase in young people presenting to emergency departments for mental ill-health.

We need more mental health services that are free, safe, and better equipped to help us navigate the unique issues our generation faces. To do this we must:

  1. Implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System to respond to increased youth mental-ill health
  2. Increase the capacity of services through increased funding, and dedicate resources for outreach, peer work and prevention
  3. Support digital youth mental health services through ongoing funding and training.
  4. Ensure education and employments can provide mental health support for young people.
  5. Provide support for families and increase family peer support workers

Access and Inclusion

Access and inclusion tile

COVID-19 has made it incredibly difficult for young people to access the essential services they need. Due to lack of reliable internet connections, young people from rural and regional areas are struggling to access important services and undertake remote learning. For culturally and linguistically diverse communities, young people have faced increased racism while trying to translate information for their families. Disabled young people have lost access to crucial support services for their everyday life, with some disabled young people being locked-out of education and jobs.

Every young person should have access to the opportunities and the services they need. That’s why we need to:

  1. Make all support services inclusive and accessible for young people and available without cost
  2. Deliver youth-centred communications to provide specific information for young people in appropriate formats and language
  3. Address increased racism that has occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Make education inclusive and accessible and increase student voice and supports
  5. End the digital gap and ensure every young person has access to reliable devices and internet
  6. Make employment inclusive and accessible through dedicated support for young people.

Housing for Young People

Housing for Young People tile

The COVID-19 crisis means that even more young people are unable to afford safe and secure housing. Thousands of young people simply can’t afford rent, many have temporarily moved back home to live with parents, and an increasing number of young people are at risk of domestic violence and unsafe living conditions. There are also countless young people in social housing and temporary accommodation without access to the supports they need.

Young people deserve secure and affordable housing, whether it’s in the city, the country, or in the regional town they grew up in. The Recovery Plan recommends:

  1. Making renting fair and affordable
  2. Ensuring sufficient social housing and making sure young people can access it
  3. Protecting and supporting young people dealing with insecure housing

Youth Participation in the COVID-19 Recovery

200922 YFR squares 150 dpi5

Young people want and deserve to have control over their lives and future. And that’s especially important now as we shape a post-COVID-19 ‘new normal’.  The whole community will benefit if young people play a real role in decision-making and contribute to the collective recovery. 

Young people have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, so their perspectives and needs should be at the heart of Victoria’s recovery plan. It is vital for the Victorian Government and decision-makers to work with young people to ensure they are active, visible and valued in decision-making and the COVID-19 Recovery.

  1. Embed youth participation and leadership into the recovery
  2. Ensure good practice in youth participation – nothing about us, without us!

A Strong and Effective Youth Sector

Investment in a strong and effective youth sector

COVID-19 has seen a heightened demand for youth services, which has often not been matched by funding increases. At the same time many services are having to stand down or redeploy staff. It is the youth workers, mental health workers, and other carers who will provide young people with crucial guidance and support to help navigate the challenges ahead and emerge unscarred.

Victoria needs a strong, secure, well-funded youth sector now more than ever, to play a critical role in the COVID-19 recovery. We are calling for:

  1. Expanded service delivery through increased youth workers and investment in prevention and early intervention services.
  2. Development of the youth sector workforce through scholarships, investment in peer work, and regular training.

Get involved

  1. Join our campaign and meet your local MP
  2. Sign your organisation to endorse and support us
  3. Share the campaign on your networks using this sharepack

Campaign endorsements

Alannah and Madeleine Foundation
Anglicare Victoria
Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE)
Capital City Local Learning & Employment Network
Castlemaine Community House
Centre for Multicultural Youth
City of Maribyrnong Youth Services
CREATE Foundation
Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV)
Frankston Mornington Peninsula LLEN Inc
headspace Warrnambool
Inner Northern LLEN
Kids Under Cover
Koorie Youth Council
LesTwentyman Foundation
Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs)
Melbourne City Mission (MCM)
Mental Health Victoria
Mission Australia
Odyssey House Victoria
REACH Foundation
Scouts Victoria
Sunshine Youth Space
Swan Hill Rural City Council
SYN Media (Student Youth Network)
The Bridge
The University of Melbourne – Youth Research Centre
Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Victorian Student Representative Council
Western Bulldogs Community Foundation
YMCA Geelong
Young Workers Centre
Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS)
Youth Gurus
Youth Projects
Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS)
Youthrive Inc.