Simon Collins

Simon Collins is the Herald’s social issues reporter.

Employers buy into youth job plan

Scheme launched by Tindall Foundation links up with big companies to create work across local boards.

The $2 million Youth Connections scheme has found jobs for more than 50 unemployed youths so far across 10 of Auckland's 21 local boards.
The $2 million Youth Connections scheme has found jobs for more than 50 unemployed youths so far across 10 of Auckland's 21 local boards.

Some of Auckland's biggest employers have signed up to a scheme aimed at finding work for the region's 25,000 unemployed young people.

The $2 million Youth Connections scheme has found jobs for more than 50 unemployed youths so far across 10 of Auckland's 21 local boards.

It has also put money into driver's licence training at two South Auckland colleges in a bid to remove one of the barriers to getting work or further training - the cost of getting a licence.

The scheme was launched in May last year with $335,000 a year for two years from the Tindall Foundation for four local boards, $115,000 a year from the Auckland Airport Community Trust for the Otara-Papatoetoe board, $75,000 a year from the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board and $15,000 a year from the Auckland Council.

Four more boards have put money into it since then and the Hugh Green Foundation has recently given $75,000 a year to start the project in one of those, Papakura.

Two southern boards, airport-funded Otara-Papatoetoe and Tindall-funded Mangere-Otahuhu, appointed two fulltime "youth connectors" last September to work together across the two areas. They have linked with big employers such as Farmers, Vodafone and Accor hotels.

"We've had a really good response from small-to-medium employers right through to the large corporates," said youth connector Theresa Rorason.

Farmers has taken on three young people so far, Vodafone one in its call centre and Accor's Novotel Auckland Airport Hotel two.

The team has also placed six young people into jobs with Skids after-school programmes, five into a Quest serviced apartment block opening next month in Highbrook Drive, and one into East Tamaki building systems company MiTek.

Henderson-Massey and Whau boards, also sharing two youth connectors between them with Tindall funding, signed up more than 500 businesses after a business launch with Sir Stephen Tindall in May, and have found jobs for 19 young people so far.

In the Puketapapa board, also with Tindall funding, youth connector Anakere Marino has placed three young people with food wholesaler Gilmours and others with Anton's Seafood, Mt Albert Motor Lodge, McDonald's, Countdown, Manta Marine, the Coffee Club and a baby formula company.

Maungakiekie-Tamaki youth connector Bronwyn Gemmell has targeted construction companies such as Fletchers, Downer and Hawkins.

The Hibiscus and Bays board, using its own money and $15,000 from Tindall, is also targeting the building industry with Whangarei-based Northtec, which started teaching construction and painting trades at Silverdale last week. It has contracted with the Coast Youth Community Trust to employ youth connector Simon Weakley and plans a business launch on August 27.

Papakura Local Board chairwoman Hine Joyce-Tahere said her board also planned a launch on the same day. It has contracted out its service to the Papakura Marae and has signed up "two big local Papakura employers".

Kaipatiki Local Board member Richard Hills said his board had allocated $60,000 to the scheme from its economic development budget and was about to employ a 'connector'.

The connectors are recruiting young people from schools, youth centres, police, families and young people themselves.

Miss Marino has based herself at the Roskill Youth Zone at the Wesley community centre to reach young people.

"I'm creating a bit of a hub of all things to do with youth employment in Puketapapa," she said.

They work closely with Government-funded agencies which help 16- and 17-year-olds who are not in employment, education or training (NEET).

Nationally 86,800 young people aged 15 to 24 were NEET in March, including an estimated 25,000 in Auckland, but only 6164 had signed up with the Government-funded services nationally by July 5.


On the web
www.youthconnections.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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