Young people at the higher end of the coast are denied Commonwealth Scholarships for Vocational Training that were reserved only for their Gosford counterparts.
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment announced last week that young people who choose vocational education and training pathways can apply for a grant of up to $13,000 to cover costs.
The Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Australian Youth is “open to those living in 10 designated regions, with up to $5,000 offered annually for two years, along with an additional $3,000 if they also complete a 20-day paid internship.”
These ten selected districts include Gosford, but neglected to include a member of the Central Coast Council family, formerly Youngshire.
Scholarships are awarded to those who attend industrial training centres, which are also located in those 10 designated regions, including Gosford.
NSW Business Chamber Limited was awarded the contract to operate the Gosford Hub last July.
$50.6 million of federal funds were invested in the centers.
“It doesn’t make sense to exclude Dobell from this program, when the Central Coast is one area,” said Dobell federal member Emma McBride.
“Young workers who live across the entire coast can use a scholarship like this to improve skills and find safer work.
“The government should explain why it has excluded Dobelle from the program, and why it should not be included in the future,” she said.
The federal government cites bureaucratic reasons why young people at the top are excluded from applying for scholarships.
The Ministry of Education, Skills and Employment relied on access and benefit-sharing statistics from the 2016 census that highlighted the high rates of youth unemployment.
The former Gosford and Wyong Shire are treated as separate ABS management entities, although they are associated under Central Coast Board.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education, Skills and Employment said the approach to Gosford’s geographic boundary was the same as for the other nine locations, based on the presence of a broadly similar number of eligible youth in each area.
“The program boundaries were chosen based on the most recent statistical information available from ABS and to ensure equality between different regions across the programme, but no region in Australia is overlooked when it comes to training opportunities.
“Central Coast youth, like youth across Australia, have access to free or low-fee training under the $2 billion Job Training Fund.
This includes 100,000 placements for young New South Wales, with 110 job training courses available within 25 kilometers of Wyoming.”
Youth unemployment in the higher end of the Central Coast, including the suburbs around San Remo, Doialson and Colungra, reported rates as high as 32 percent at the last census, compared to the Central Coast average of 13.7 percent.
Y NSW, Susannah Le Bron and the Central Coast Program Coordinator, Virginia Walsh ran a job fair for 300 young people in the area last year.
“We are committed to responding to staggering youth employment and disproportionate rates to support the long-term economic, social, and mental well-being of the Central Coast,” she said.