Media Release by The Hon Jane Prentice MP

Launch of new initiative to support young job seekers with mental illness

Joint Media Release with:

    • Lucy Wicks MP, Federal Member for Robertson

The Hon Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, and Lucy Wicks MP, Federal Member for Robertson, today launched the Individual Placement and Support Trial (IPS), a new initiative to better support young people with a mental illness to find a job, with headspace in Gosford.

The Australian Government has committed more than $13.6 million for a three year national trial of the IPS model as part of its Youth Employment Strategy, which is aimed at tackling high youth unemployment.

Mrs Prentice said the Trial will target vulnerable young people with mental illness up to the age of 25, who are at risk of long-term welfare dependency and disengaging from education and employment.

“As part of the Trial, professional employment specialists will be deployed across 14 headspace sites throughout the country to provide career development advice and vocational and employment assistance to job seekers,” she said.

“They will work in tandem with clinical support and additional non-vocational assistance.

“The Trial will start in November this year and will run until June 2019.

“Once fully implemented, the Trial will be able to support up to 2,000 young people each year to help them reach their educational and employment goals,” Mrs Prentice said.

Mrs Wicks said it was a great opportunity for young people on the Central Coast to access the supports they need to give them the confidence to find a job.

“IPS will support our young people at one of the most vulnerable stages of their lives,” she said.

“With an estimated that 70 per cent of mental health disorders developing by the age of 25, it is vital we provide these young people with tools to set themselves up for the future.

“It’s fantastic to see such an important strategy being launched right here in Gosford and I commend headspace and other local organisations that made this possible.”

Each year some 3.7 million Australians experience symptoms of a mental illness, with almost 1.7 million of these having moderate or severe illness.

Recent Australian trials have found that people with mental illness are three times more likely to secure a job when supported by the IPS approach.

The Australian Government committed to a $5.5 billion Growing Jobs and Small Business Package to create jobs by helping small businesses to grow and take on additional employees.

As part of this package, the Government announced $330 million for a Youth Employment Strategy – Intensive Support for Vulnerable Job Seekers Budget Measure to focus on supporting vulnerable young people, including those with mental illness, who are at risk of long-term welfare dependency.