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What helps (and what doesn’t) when assisting our young people into employment

In quarter one of 2020, unemployment levels amongst our young people were particularly high in the regions of Waikato, Northland, and Taranaki. Of the twelve regions measured, these three regions had an average of 17% of their youth aged 15-24, not in employment, education or training (NEET). This has been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and increased numbers of people becoming unemployed has resulted in more competition when applying for jobs for our rangatahi as well. This situation has created additional pressure with youth now competing against lots of highly skilled people who have also found themselves out of work and therefore looking for new employment opportunities. The impact this is having on our young people is huge and it has created lots of uncertainty and nervousness for our younger generation. There are less job vacancies in the Waikato and Northland regions compared to bigger cities like Auckland and Wellington, therefore it is essential that we get to know our young people well enough to explore their options and identify what the best course of action is for them individually. Being smart about supporting the right career choices and ensuring our young people are well prepared and well presented for the job application and interview process is essential.

What Helps

It is very helpful when multi-agencies working with a particular young person provide the necessary support to benefit them and also maintain good communication and working relationships between each other. It is fantastic when our young people express eagerness to get work experience, or the training/qualifications they might need. This, along with a willingness to develop key skills such as punctuality and communication are crucial to success in the employment process. It is also an advantage when a young person’s basic needs are met before they are classified as a job seeker or work ready. For example, they have photo identification, a bank account, are able to pass a drugs test and have a suitable living environment where they are able to progress towards achieving their goals.

What Doesn’t Help

It is not so helpful when employers advertise entry level vacancies that require years of experience in order to apply. This discourages a lot of our young people and it would be more beneficial if training was provided for the right candidate, allowing more young people to show their interests and have better chances of succeeding. We find time after time that hiring for attitude trumps hiring for experience only. With that said, another disadvantage is when young people are not willing to do what it takes both personally and professionally to achieve positive outcomes. Attitude and motivation are key factors when it comes to securing employment and making a good impression.

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