MORE than 475 disadvantaged youths in the south-west will be denied help finding full-time employment after the State Government's latest cuts to the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program.
Boystown employment services, which assisted more than 700 disadvantaged youth in Inala and surrounding suburbs, have been forced to axe 12 programs funded under the Skilling Queenslanders initiative and expected more cuts to follow.
The Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said the state could no longer afford $19 million to fund the employment support program as it was not a frontline service, but Opposition Leader and Member for Inala Annastacia Palaszczuk disagreed.
Ms Palaszczuk said the programs ran by Boystown had been a huge benefit to the community by providing not only job opportunities, which lead onto future long-term employment, but also community infrastructure.
She said previous programs had given at-risk adolescents a leg-up in construction projects such as the building of the new RSPCA Wacol premises, the new Police Academy at Wacol, extensions to the Inala Rugby Club, cycle paths and walk ways through Carole Park and extensive flood recovery work.
"The Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative ran a range of successful programs helping people currently unemployed, teenagers at risk of losing contact with education or training, Indigenous jobseekers and those with low literacy skills," she said.
Boystown general manager of employment, education and training John Perry said the slashes accounted for 10 to 12% of the company's funding and assumed further cuts to the Get Set For Work schemes, which have been operating for eight years, would also follow.
"The programs like Get Set For Work have been around longer than Skilling Queenslanders, and whether they have been unintentionally swept up into this, you have to assume they're gone as well," he said.
"I think what we are looking at is how can we keep working with these kids.
"While it is not terminal, it certainly affects 475 young people.
"These are disadvantaged young people who require a certain level of service like psychologists, trainers and tradesmen.
"The need still exists, the numbers are still there."
Boystown's Get Set For Work programs will close its doors at Inala, Goodna and in Logan.
Other initiatives which will also wind up as funding contracts cease include a Pacific Islander program at Goodna.