National Youth Commission

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How can communities deal with what have been called wicked problems – problems that are complex and difficult to resolve because they keep changing or where narrowly focused responses tend to create new problems. Wicked does not denote ‘evil’ but rather a problem resistant to being resolved.

In embarking on a second Independent National Inquiry, there has been a great deal of thought and debate as well as consultation with many people. In deciding on a focus on ‘Youth Transitions’ we believe that problems for young people completing their education and finding sustainable career pathways has become a highly confused and contested area involving a host of issues in both education and employment fields. Is it an economic problem of simply not enough jobs for jobseekers? Is it mainly an education problem because there are certainly serious problems for a significant minority of young people completing secondary school? Is it mainly a problem of employment and vocational preparation as some would argue? Is it mainly the responsibility of state/territory governments or our Federal Government? Our contention is that all these issues are interconnected in complex ways and despite a considerable amount of research on various salient topics, policy for addressing these issues is fraught. Not a day passes without news media coverage of education, education funding, university reforms, youth unemployment and associated problems and so on. There is clearly no cogent agenda for reform and no bipartisan perspective for addressing this bundle of inter-related issues.
Our experience with the first Inquiry demonstrated that given a constructive and positive way to contribute, many, many people come forward – various experts, professionals as well as families and young people. Also, there is a great deal of good advice and insight to be harnessed, especially from those most affected – young people themselves. Compassion and goodwill far outweigh selfishness, individualism and cynicism.

If you or your organisation is passionate or concerned about these issues you can become involved in the community campaign that is the National Youth Commission on Youth Transitions. Contact should be made with either Keith Waters, Ph. 0408 569 888 or E: keith.waters@nycinquiry.org.au or Assoc Prof David, Ph. 0412 104 873 or E: david.mackenzie@nycinquiry.org.au