Youth em­ploy­ment in fo­cus

Pack­age to en­cour­age job of­fers to young peo­ple

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By STEVE ED­WARDS Fu­ture­force Ac­tion Net­work will be launched at a spe­cial func­tion on level five of the Gal­lagher Group build­ing on Kahikatea Drive, Hamil­ton, Novem­ber 6 from 4pm. Busi­ness own­ers and man­agers can RSVP to the event by email­ing sally@smart

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.

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