Steven-John Moller has been unemployed for about 18 months, but it's not for lack of trying.
The 21-year-old from Barrack Heights is one of 14,200 young people across NSW who have been unemployed for more than a year, a new analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data says.
A report by the Brotherhood of St Laurence revealed the number of long-term unemployed youth in Australia has trebled since 2008.
Mr Moller said he had applied for 50 jobs since he lost his job as an apprentice diesel mechanic when his employer went into receivership in 2012.
"It's a bit overwhelming, it just makes me feel like there's no future in the Illawarra for me," he said.
"I'm hard working, eager to learn and love working on engines - it's a lifetime passion."
The former apprentice, who has been living in public housing with his grandmother, relies on youth allowance each week.
"It's barely enough to live on, I might get to save $10 a fortnight if I'm lucky," he said.
"I'd like to finish my apprenticeship off but because I'm 21 now no-one wants to take me and pay adult wages.
"It gets a bit depressing."
But Mr Moller still has hope.
He has just joined the Lighthouse Rock Solid Futures Program, a 10-week training, work experience and mentoring program, to help his chances of finding work.
"I decided to take what opportunities I could get," he said.
ABS data released last month showed 17 per cent of young job seekers were unable to find work.