The University of Newcastle's UniLink program is helping to address the Hunter region's growing youth unemployment problem by encouraging more local school students to complete Year 12 and then consider further education.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Kevin McConkey, said with local youth unemployment at more than 30 per cent, UniLink targeted students from low socio-economic backgrounds, because they are more likely not to complete high school or continue study.
"UniLink aims to inspire school students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds to seriously consider the options available to them to improve their post-school qualifications," Professor McConkey said.
"The program will help students understand that by completing their high school education, and making the transition to further education, they are much more likely to have the skills and qualifications needed to find employment.
"Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show youth unemployment in Newcastle at over 30 per cent, significantly higher than the national average of 20.2 per cent.
"The University of Newcastle believes UniLink can play a significant part in improving employment outcomes for young people in the Hunter region, and help reduce unemployment."
UniLink involves strategies designed to inform and motivate students about University and other post-secondary school options.
These include pathways to University such as the Newstep program and Yapug, a program to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students gain entry into the health and other professions. Encouraging high school students to consider doing TAFE programs is also a focus of UniLink.
Professor McConkey said that a range of strategies were being used to inform and motivate students about University and other post-secondary school options.
"Our focus is building long-term relationships with key schools through campus visits, motivational sessions, and presentations to parents and students at information nights.
"By boosting awareness of what options students have to further their education, we hope to inspire as many as possible to complete their school studies and gain further qualifications that will assist them in getting jobs."