The Partnership Brokering initiative will lose its sole source of funding in the 2014-15 Budget, which will affect a number of regional partnership services, including AusSIP, which operates in The Hills District in North West Sydney and Parramatta in Western Sydney.
“In essence, this business will close down,” AusSIP executive officer John Watters told HC Online.
“There's no other federal service, there's no state plan, there's nothing. The response from the Federal Government has been that they're going to create more work opportunities. I didn't see anything in that budget about how they're going to create more opportunities.”
AusSIP works with schools and businesses to transition high school students into further training and employment and sets up work placements and industry visits.
Watters said the process of getting students ready for the workforce made HR professionals’ jobs easier and a lot of businesses were able to use work placements as a recruitment
tool to identify upcoming talent.
He said that many schools have either scaled back their career advisors’ roles or simply didn’t have career advisors at all.
“Since 2006, organisations like us have been established and tendered for contracts to help career advisors get involved in work-ready days, industry visits, mentoring programmes – all those great things that expose kids to the world of work.”
The service also made the pathway is easier for employers and HR managers, “so they don't end up with 5000 applications that aren't worth a pinch of anything and kids who have no idea what the industry is about”.
“How many applicants do you get who are completely unsuitable and have no understanding of the industry? You go through the whole recruitment
process which is expensive and time-consuming and then three weeks into the job, the person says, 'I'm not really into this anymore'. That could have been circumvented during work placement,” said Watters.
“We've been helping to feed the pipeline of young talent for a long time. Work placement has been around for more than a dozen years. Part of our role has been to manage the supply and demand. We do it as a service to help businesses manage kids coming through.”
The Sydney Morning Herald
reported that 600 businesses, schools and charities wrote to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, asking for the $50 million yearly funding for Partnership Brokers not to be scrapped.
The Federal Government’s decision to cut funding for a service which bridges the gap between high schools and industry could spell bad news for HR professionals.