Joe Sefo is only 24 but already he has effectively been made redundant twice.
He worked first for Mr Chips for two years on a casual basis after leaving school. "Then they let me go because there was no work," he said.
"Then I worked for Fisher & Paykel for nearly three years, still casual. I left last December because there was no work."
He has had no work this year and stayed at home in Panmure on a carer's benefit, looking after a younger brother who is on dialysis. But his father has recently been injured and Joe needs a job urgently to support his dad, his brother and two sisters who are still at school.
"I love to provide for my family," he said. "I really have a passion for animals, so I'd love to work for the SPCA, I did some voluntary work there last year. But I'd also be keen to work in manufacturing."
Mr Sefo is one of 21 young people who graduated yesterday from a pilot two-week pre-employment course in Glen Innes run by the Auckland Chamber of Commerce with funding from the Tamaki Redevelopment Company, a Government/Auckland Council venture aiming to double the number of homes in the Glen Innes-Panmure area over the next 25 years.
Ngati Whatua's Mai Whanau arm, which runs a Whanau Ora programme supporting families in the area, selected many of the young people and will act as mentors to help them sort out any problems once they are in work.
"We are going to continue working with them till they are ready to do without us," said mentor Ellanor Maihi.
Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett urged employers to give the youngsters a go.
"I don't see it as business on one side and the community on the other side," he said.
"Our businesses won't be successful till we have good employees. The chamber can try and ensure that we are seeing them coming forward. I also think we can help the community because these young people, if they are unemployed and disengaged, are going to get into trouble."
Some of the young people, such as Raiden Herekotukutuku, 18, have done courses since leaving school but have never even had a curriculum vitae. The pre-employment course has helped the young people draw up CVs and learn job search and interview techniques.
Mr Herekotukutuku wants to get into the building industry. He started a carpentry course but had to leave because he was "over-qualified" because he had passed level one of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement. While looking for a job, he has been caring for a niece and delivering food parcels as a volunteer for Mai Whanau.
"They helped me gain a bit more confidence to come here. I didn't want to come, I was too shy," he said.
Nadia Maliukaetau, 22, worked for Auckland Meat Processors until she became pregnant. Her daughter is now 4 and in kohanga reo, so Ms Maliukaetau is looking for part-time work in business and administration.
On the web: www.tamakitrc.co.nz