The Government’s Plan To Have 10,000 Young People Intern In Pubs Is An Absolute Joke


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The government’s controversial internship program has copped a lot of criticism from young people and unions since it was first announced last year.

The PaTH (Prepare, Trial, Hire) scheme, which involves the government paying young jobseekers currently on welfare the princely sum of $100 a week to intern in the retail and hospitality sector, has been likened to “slavery” by the Australian Council of Trade Unions.  Even though businesses get employees for free, and a cash payment of $1,000 per intern, the take up rate has been pretty low.

The internships are available to young unemployed people and once enrolled in the PaTH program jobseekers will continue to receive their welfare payments while they’re working.

So far this year only 1,015 internships have kicked off, and only 200 of those of have led to ongoing employment. That’s despite the government promising the program would deliver up to 30,000 internships a year.

In order to accelerate the program the government has today announced a deal with the Australian Hotels Association that will create 10,000 internships for young people in… pubs and clubs.

Yep, the government will be paying young people as little $4 an hour to pull beers (and maybe other stuff? But probably mainly pouring drinks). In addition to paying interns extremely low wages, the government will also give every pub that signs up $1,000 for every intern they take on.

I gotta say… this sounds like an extremely good deal for the pubs and an extremely shit deal for young people trying to find a job. Why would a pub or club hire a worker on a real salary when they can get youth labour for free from the government?

Part of the reasoning behind the PaTH program is that it will apparently provide interns with skills that will help them secure ongoing work. But the Australian Hotels Association hasn’t yet outlined exactly what those skills are. Sure, there’s lots of things you can learn through working in a pub but up until now there’s been an expectation that those are on the job skills you develop while you’re being paid.

Now the government is basically handing over 10,000 free workers to the hospitality industry.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions is pretty livid with the deal, with secretary Sally McManus saying “This program is gifting young people to businesses, destroying jobs and not giving a single young person a useful skill or recognised qualification”.

“Prime Minister Turnbull and [employment minister Michaelia] Cash are selling young people’s futures out from under them to shore up the votes of the business community,” she said.

Who would have thought that the government could find a way to ruin the concept of paying young people to spend more time in pubs and clubs? Thanks for ruining pubs, Malcolm Turnbull,