The government is funding retail jobs for unemployed youth

Youth unemployment. Photo: Getty Images

The Turnbull government has reached an agreement with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) to help get more young people into work.

The government announced today that a partnership with the retailers will create up to 10,000 internships for those aged between 17 and 24, as part of its Job Youth PaTH (Prepare, Trial, Hire) initiative.

Employment minister Michaelia Cash outlined the 3-step plan to help people gain skills for employment.

The program starts off with employment skills training. Local businesses are then encouraged to offer a 12-week internship, at the conclusion of which they may be hired.

A report by AAP said job-seekers are paid $200 a fortnight on top of their Centrelink payments, and businesses are given an up-front payment of $1,000 for taking them on.

“The retail trade industry employs more than 1.2 million people,” Cash said. “It is also the largest employer of young Australians. Today’s announcement will provide more opportunities for thousands of young Australians to learn new skills and showcase their talents in this industry.”

Not everyone is happy with the PaTH initiative, with labour and the greens opposing the program.

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney compared the initiative to slavery.

“This is a government-sanctioned program that actually borders on slavery,” she told AAP.

“If this does create new jobs, then pay the kids for the jobs. Pay them a wage. They’re going to be productive. They’re going to be contributing to the bottom line of these businesses.”

According to Cash, more than 4,800 people have started the employment skills phase of the program.