RURAL CAREER: Rhiannon Stone has returned to Roma this year to pursue her career as a dietitian.
RURAL CAREER: Rhiannon Stone has returned to Roma this year to pursue her career as a dietitian. Molly Hancock

Career paths still open in outback Queensland

MORE than one-third of all unemployed people in Australia are aged 15-24, with 67.1 per cent of youth unemployed in outback Queensland.

The study conducted by national anti-poverty group the Brotherhood of St Laurence in March mapped the 20 worst regions for youth unemployment in 2018.

The data analysis finds 55 of the total of 87 regions in Australia are burdened by youth unemployment rates above 11 per cent. This stands in contrasts to the national unemployment rate of 5.5per cent, which includes all age groups.

"The story of youth employment in our prosperous country has become a tale of two Australias,” the report by the Brotherhood of St Laurence stated.

The report analyses Australian Bureau of Statistics data to find youth unemployment is at its extreme - more than 65 per cent - in a thinly populated but vast tract of land in the Queensland outback.

However while the facts highlight there is a high percentage of unemployment in outback Queensland, there are still youths in the southwest who have pursued a career in rural towns.

Maranoa Medical Centre dietitian Rhiannon Stone returned to her home town after completing a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Griffith University at the Gold Coast this year.

"When I was young I would always have to travel away for medical appointments and it was something that influenced my career path because I thought there needed to be more health professionals in rural areas,” she said.

Miss Stone said after completing university the hunt for a job in her field was "extremely difficult”.

"Out of the 40 graduates in my year, only 50 per cent of us had secured a job six months later but not all are full-time work,” she said.

"That was another enticing thing about going to a rural area because they are always screaming out for more health professionals ... if you are willing to go rural then it makes employment options a bit easier.”

Brotherhood executive director Conny Lenneberg said the report exposed how location was shaping opportunities.

"In our prosperous country it's very worrying when we have more than a quarter of a million young people in the labour force who are unemployed,” she said.

"Hotspots in outer suburbs and rural areas carry the heaviest burden.”


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