COVID-19 Recovery Scenarios for Young People: The Economy and Livelihood

Authors: Peter Kelly, Seth Brown & James Goring

The COVID-19 pandemic is triggering profound crises around the world, and the social, economic and political fallout from these crises is likely to be longer and deeper than any recession for several generations. The impact will be significant, and long-term for young people – in terms of their health and well-being, education and training, and employment pathways.

The COVID-19 Recovery Scenarios for Young People in Melbourne’s Inner North project is a partnership between the Inner Northern Youth Employment Taskforce, the Inner Northern LLEN and the UNESCO UNEVOC Centre @ RMIT University. 

Our aim is to identify recovery scenarios for young people in the Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Darebin, Moreland and Yarra. So far the project has conducted an online survey, stakeholder interviews, and interviews with young people to help to develop the scenarios.

These…[economic]…risks, already looming large before Covid-19 struck, now threaten to fuel a perfect storm that sweeps the entire global economy into a decade of despair. By the 2030s, technology and more competent political leadership may be able to reduce, resolve, or minimise many of these problems, giving rise to a more inclusive, cooperative, and stable international order. But any happy ending assumes that we find a way to survive the coming Greater Depression.

(Nouriel Roubini 2020)

There are so many highly consequential economic, social and political uncertainties in a COVID-19 ‘normal’ world. We don’t pretend that young people and stakeholders in the inner north can impact some of these larger trends and possibilities.

In this video we present a preliminary account of how young people from these suburbs are talking about their current concerns about such things as: work, unemployment, the economy, student debt, ‘gig-work’, their aspirations for housing and independence, and their hopes for decent and secure work, and inclusiveness and equality in education and work.

In this video stakeholders from schools, local government, businesses and youth service providers and advocacy organisations provide their insights on these challenges that young people are currently dealing with, and will likely deal with. They describe debates and concerns such as: youth unemployment, skills training, industry connections, financial support and welfare, decent jobs, employability, school-based employment, disengagement, casual and precarious work.

As the research develops we want to engage with these uncertainties to explore the possible futures for the economy and livelihood in the inner north. What these futures hold for young people, and what actions can be taken in the inner north. And the question of how we add value to ourselves and each other.

Feature Image Credit


By Peter Kelly

I am a Professor of Education at Deakin University.

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