Meet the 'lost generation' of young workers

Bryan Seymour for 7NEWS Investigations

Experts fear rising youth unemployment is creating a lost generation of young people who may never work.

Youth unemployment across Australia has climbed to a 12-year high of 12.2 per cent, and welfare groups say many of Australia’s youngest workers feel disheartened, having watched 100,000 jobs disappear in the past five years.

Welfare group The Brotherhood of St Lawrence said 15 to 24 year old jobseekers have submitted more than 200 applications, but remain unemployed.

"Youth make up 40 per cent of all unemployed people in Australia,” Executive Director Tony Nicholson said.

"The risk is that we're going to breed an underclass of people who are unable to get work, who are unable to participate in the mainstream of our economy,” he said.

Nationally, Tasmania is the state worst affected, with 17.4 per cent of young workers out of jobs.

There are 11.8 per cent young workers unemployed in New South Wales, the highest number in 15 years.

In Sydney, Parramatta’s youth struggle the most to get work, with 16.8 per cent unemployed.

The Illawarra, Blacktown and South West areas are at 15 per cent youth unemployment, and the Inner South West of Sydney are at over 11 per cent unemployment for youths.

Professor Bill Mitchell from the Centre for Full Employment and Equity has been studying the impact of the loss of 100,000 jobs for young people since 2008, at the height of the Global Financial Crisis.

"I believe this is a lost generation,” he said.

"It’s absolutely imperative for the Australian Government to be making sure they're creating jobs for teenagers that are not in formal education, and that are not employed.”

In 2014, there are fewer young people working than at any time since 1997.

More teenagers are staying at school and continuing their education as they despair of ever finding work without a degree or certificate, with no guarantee that it will land them a job.

Business owner Andrew Gideon said seven of nine young jobseekers failed to turn up to interview for a job with him, a frustration shared by other other business owners.

"They take the name of the shop and the address, and never turn up for the interview… They don't want to work because the government has made it too easy for them to stay on the dole,” Shop Owner Zoe Malamas said.

Professor Mitchell disagrees.

"Overall that isn't the problem, the problem is a lack of jobs,” he said.