Youth employment in focus
Package to encourage job offers to young people
A collective initiative, launching in Hamilton next week, is dedicated to turning around a disturbing trend in youth employment.
Futureforce Action Network ( FAN), led by Smart Waikato Trust, wants to equip and inspire employers to take on more young people.
‘‘There has to be action rather than just talk,’’ Smart Waikato regional manager and former Matamata College student Mary Jensen told the Matamata Chronicle.
A Smart Waikato survey found that less than half of Waikato employers offer any type of work opportunity to people aged 15-24.
But more than half said they would offer work opportunities to young people given the right support.
Ms Jensen said FAN aims to equip employers and educators to more effectively incorporate young people into the workplace.
Involving a group of about 30 representing a range of agencies and organisations involved in the labour market, she said FAN will give Waikato employers practical tools needed to ‘‘grow their own’’ workforce, access to young talent, and strategies to alleviate risks associated with employing young people.
Ms Jensen said the regional programme will help both economic development and youth employment.
‘‘The network has the potential to see Waikato leading New Zea- land in creating a more stable and productive labour market, reducing skills shortages and providing better employment prospects for young people,’’ she said. ‘‘We are facing very serious issues as a region and as a country and we owe it to our young people to give them a clearer pathway into the workforce. FAN is about everyone working together to prevent a generation of young people being lost to the labour market.’’
Smart Waikato is a ‘‘neutral’’ party which wants to bring together employers and educators, said Ms Jensen.
After 18 months planning, she believes FAN is a model that will work for everyone.
‘‘It is an evolving initiative but now it’s time to mobilise and give all businesses access to the excellent tools we’ve developed.’’
Those attending the launch function next Wednesday will be given a ‘‘toolkit’’ with links to online resources for offering jobs to young people.
‘‘ The employment landscape has changed forever and Futureforce is an independent initiative with common sense advice about jobs in the real world,’’ said Ms Jensen.
Action rather than talk: Smart Waikato regional manager and former Matamata College Mary Jensen wants to equip and inspire employers to take on more young people.