Youth unemployment is a growing issue in Australia, and the latest statistics showed youth unemployment in the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven was the second highest in the country.
A Highlands radio station is aiming to change this through the power of music and entertainment.
92.5fm Youth Radio was established to give the youth of the Highlands a chance to voice their own thoughts, beliefs and culture and to allow youth to gain skills and experience in radio broadcast.
The not-for-profit organisation aims to give Highlands youth between the ages of 14-24 the opportunity to develop skills in the fields of radio and broadcast.
Director Joseph Lyons came on board with the company about a year ago and also presents two programs at the station.
Mr Lyons said the station gave Highlands teenagers and young adults the ability to create skills and gain training in a field they were passionate about.
“We run a band class, a guitar class and a singing class and then we bring them into a studio environment and we interview them and provide opportunities to engage in their passions of music,” he said.
Young Highlanders present and plan their own projects, based around localised, informative and entertaining content.
The youth have become involved with the program after work experience stints.
“We have partnered up with Bowral and Moss Vale High and we have students spend a week doing work experience,” Mr Lyons said.
“We are really keen to get more schools involved with the station and the work experience program.”
The work experience program was designed to provide an opportunity for young people to gain hands-on experience and exposure to employment pathways in the media industry.
Mr Lyons said a number of students from the two high schools had stayed with the station after their stint and planed and presented their own programs.
“[The students] have the opportunity to follow a passion for music and to start creating shows. It’s really open slather which is why they really seem to enjoy it,” he said.
The station is currently working on setting up a youth advisory committee.
Not only will the committee direct the board on what music should be played and what content should be created, it will also give young people the skills to work in the business world, including how to plan and write reports.
What is also unique about the station, is that young presenters can record shows or segments remotely and send them to the station.
“That creates a bit more opportunity for the youth to get involved,” Mr Lyons said.
Mr Lyons said the station was always looking to get more people involved.
Visit the 92.5fm Youth Radio facebook page or visit http://www.youthradio.org.au/ for more information.