A report by the Brotherhood of St Laurence has found a double whammy in youth unemployment. The rate has risen to 12.5 per cent, more than double the overall unemployment figure and it’s rising rapidly. In Cairns it’s up 88 per cent in two years. Around Logan, it’s jumped 61 per cent. Sydney Hills District 73 per cent, and Melbourne’s east almost 50 per cent.
There are so many social enterprises in Australia that could be employing more young people, but people in procurement positions need to think outside the square, and support the social enterprise sector by buying from them to enable the creation of such employment. Social enterprises are best placed to provide supported and supportive employment to disengaged young people because they work in a different way to most private businesses where profit not people is the motive.
Social procurement involves organisations and individuals choosing to purchase a social outcome when they buy a good or service. Social procurement is a key plank in the development of social enterprise because it recognises and places value on the benefits that social enterprises provide, in so doing it increases the amount of work available to social enterprises.
So I urge procureres from government, Not for Profits, and the corporate sector to consider where and what they are purchasing. A really simple example is NAB buying fair trade tea and coffee which created huge demand in fair trade, great exposure, and undoubted social impact. Another example is Goodstart Early Learning buying commercial cleaning from SEED, enabling us to employ two staff from a refugee background who had been long term unemployed.
There’s a fairly easy to use directory to find social enterprises here. Happy purchasing!