Involve Young People

Why it Matters:

How young people contribute to Victoria

Victoria has Australia’s second highest youth population – over 1 million people aged between 12 and 25 live in our state! Here are some interesting facts and figures about them.
  • Around 9 per cent have a disability (some of the most common disabilities young people say they have are learning disabilities, autism and physical disabilities).
  • Around 13 per cent of 12–17 year olds were born overseas.
  • Around 24 per cent speak a language other than English at home (some of the most common other languages spoken at home are Chinese, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Italian and Greek).
  • Around 28 per cent live in rural and regional areas.
  • Over 56 per cent of Victoria’s Indigenous population is under 25.
Active and involved

Young people are always active and involved in Victorian communities, in many different ways. For example,

  • over 70 per cent play a sport
  • around 50 per cent volunteer
  • over 50 per take part in arts, cultural or music activities
  • over 40 per cent take part in student leadership activities
  • around 30 per cent are involved in youth groups and clubs
  • around 28 per cent are involved in religious groups or activities
  • around 25 per cent take part in in environmental groups or activities.
Young people contribute to our economy as employees, employers and entrepreneurs.

Around 33 per cent of 15-19 year olds in Victoria have a part-time job. Most of these young people are working in retail, consumer industries and hospitality and tourism, with many others working in sport, recreation and trades and services.

What will the future hold? Young people’s ideas and innovations will carry Victorian businesses forward into the mid-21st century.

Values and concerns

In Mission Australia’s annual youth survey, the things young Victorians valued most were:

  • friendships and family relationships
  • school or study satisfaction
  • physical and mental health.

The areas of life that young people were most concerned about were:

  • coping with stress
  • school or study problems
  • body image
  • depression
  • family conflict.

And since 2011, young Victorians have seen the key issues facing Australia as:

  • equity and discrimination
  • politics and societal values
  • mental health
  • education and employment.
Young people who volunteer

YACVic’s 2011 report, Volunteering is Catching, found that young Victorians who volunteered:

  • were overwhelming motivated to volunteer because they wanted to do something to benefit their community as well as themselves
  • wanted to do something meaningful that was also fun
  • got involved in their community when they were inspired, encouraged and informed
  • didn’t generally have a lot of free time, but made time to volunteer because they thought it was worthwhile
  • felt that volunteering had improved their connection to community and pushed them out of their comfort zone.

Here's an example of young volunteers making a difference in Yarrambat: 

Room for improvement

Although everything above shows a generally good picture, there is still plenty of room for young Victorians to be better involved.

  • Around 1 in 5 early school leavers in Victoria are not currently in full-time education or employment, which means they're at risk of long-term unemployment.
  • There’s a need for community organisations and groups to create more meaningful opportunities to involve for diverse groups of young people.
  • As Victoria’s population ages there will be more demand for the services that volunteer-based organisations provide.
  • Young people want to volunteer and make a difference but many can't easily find suitable opportunities.
What you can do now

Arvanitakis, J. and Marren, S. (2009), Putting the politics back into politics: Young people and democracy in Australia, discussion paper, The Whitlam Institute,Sydney.

Mission Australia (2013), Youth Survey 2013, Sydney: Mission Australia.

Victorian Government (2012), Engage, Involve, Create: Youth Statement, Melbourne: Victorian Government.

Wynne, C. (2011), Volunteering is Catching: A study into young people’s volunteering in Victoria, Melbourne: YACVic.

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