Report: Poor teens struggle after high school

YOUNG people from tough backgrounds are not making a successful move from high school to study or work, a new report has revealed.

The latest education and skills report from the COAG Reform Council updates the public on the past five years of data from the sector.

It has found while more young people were completing Year 12, there was an overall fall in full-time employment.

Council deputy chairman Professor Greg Craven said more than a quarter of young people were still not "fully engaged" in study or work after high school, largely due to the fall in full-time work.

"Outcomes are worse for people from low socio-economic backgrounds where we found that more than 40% of young people are not fully engaged in learning or earning," he said.

He said the Council found a 2.2 percentage point rise in higher level qualifications for 20-24 year olds, partly through VET and TAFE courses.

But he said while more young people were completing such courses, "it's not always translating to improved employment outcomes".

The report found the number of young people whose job prospects improved after a VET course dropped from 75.5% in 2008 to 68.3% last year.

He said more needs to be done to help young Australians get a job or further their training after high school.

"We've seen some good results over the past five years but what happens to young people when they leave school is crucial to how we meet the future demands of our economy-and to the quality of their lives," he said.

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