Letter to the Editor – COVID 19 jobs recovery

The isolation of COVID-19 restrictions have highlighted how critical the feeling of being valued and having a purpose is to our well-being and mental health.

Many of us have found ways to keep busy and invented things to do during the lockdown, but for others the isolation and worry for future employment has had a deep impact.

While the feeling of isolation and loneliness have been new for many of us, for others they aren’t new and are unfortunately were part of pre-covid life. Our elderly, unemployed and homeless have told us for years they feel isolated, alone and cut off from society.

We must use the lessons of lockdown to build policies to empower youth, bring comfort and companionship to our elderly and connect our community – all while stimulating recovery, business and employment.

I hope we can think about jobs differently. Starting with our youth who are the highest risk group of falling into an ongoing cycle of not having any experience which means they are unable to find ongoing, secure work.

What if instead of just handing out government welfare payments, we handed out hope, experience and worthwhile jobs that make a difference in our communities and the lives of those around us? I believe most people would prefer the prospect of employment progression over a hand out.

The economic stimulus packages that will flow on the back of this pandemic need to focus on creating new jobs that anyone can step into, to help them gain experience and feel empowered to progress further.

We can create jobs that provide support to vulnerable people through programs like community transport. We will need jobs that keep us safe from the Coronavirus. Environmental programs can also provide fulfilling and important jobs while having obvious big picture benefits.

Or it could be as simple as giving a young person the chance to work beside an experienced worker – paid or as a volunteer – just to get some experience and a foot in the door.

Programs such as Standing Tall have already proven just how important mentors are to our young people. Extending this beyond school would be of value to young people finding their way in the world.

While we are planning our State’s recovery, lets focus on creating meaningful work and experiences, provide support to the vulnerable and help our young people on a path of growth and future employment.

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