Monday, May 31, 2004

Who am I?

I was born in the mid-to late 1950s. I have degrees in social science and law. My early working life included time with the Law Foundation, the Evatt Foundation and heading up the Office of Youth Affairs in the Prime Ministers Department in 1985.

In 1988, I founded a not-for-profit think-tank – dedicated to “improving the learning and work transitions of young Australians”. All board members of this think-tank are my age or older. The think-tank bears my surname as the first word of its title.

Later, I founded the WorldSkills Australia Foundation (previously WorkSkill) a national not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to raise the status and standards of vocational training and work skills.

The pseudonymous think-tank I founded is self-funding. With this in mind, we applaud Mark Latham’s recently announced “Youth Guarantee” (which will force young people into training, school or work), with just this caveat/”hint-hint”:

And while Labor has offered a guarantee it has not yet spelled out an independent monitoring mechanism to ensure it will be delivered.

By forcing public schools to become baby-sitters for 15-17 year olds who don’t want to be there (school being the “easiest” option for a kid who isn’t rapt about the prospect of working in the fast-food industry at junior wages or doing a chimney-sweep "apprenticeship"), the public school system will be further demoralised. Not that we usually admit this – but hey, if we were a force for good, we’d get funded by government, or at least by charities.

Our other nasty policy mission is to systemically bury the prevalence of unemployment among GenX, and especially its skewing towards the most educated GenXers. We do this by the old scare-mongering decoy trick; in particular by incessantly exaggerating the correlation between early school-leaving and youth unemployment:

The Opposition's "youth guarantee" is an example of the muddled thinking of most politicians and many social commentators about young people's participation in the economy.

A myth persists that youth unemployment in Australia is frighteningly high, when in fact research has shown many times that young people leaving school – even early leavers – have very little risk of being unemployed

I am Tjerk (Jack) Dusseldorp

* Letter to Editor, The Australian 18 May 2004, from Dr Erica Smith, School of Education,Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?