There are some frightening statistics when it comes to youth unemployment in Auckland.
National joblessness across all age groups is running at 5.6 per cent. National youth unemployment (16-24 year olds) is 15 per cent. In Auckland, that figure is 22 per cent.
That's almost one in four at risk of going on a benefit. It's a figure which Sky City - which already has 25 per cent of its workforce in the 18-24 bracket - has decided to help confront with a new pre-employment training programme called 'The Journey'.
Sky City have great plans for the pilot programme which started only this year and is already bringing work, purpose and self-respect to young people without jobs.
Learning and Development Manager for Sky City, Ruth Smillie, says: "We are working with the Ministry of Social Development, Youth Services West and the BEST training academy to get more unemployed youth involved in training and, ultimately, jobs."
The Journey providers insight and training in Sky City's restaurants, identifying young people of potential to see if they have what it takes to develop a career in the hospitality industry.
"We work with young people who don't have any experience," Smillie says. "We invite those who show interest to come along for an interview and we arrange with those who show the most potential to go through six days of training - three days in the classroom and three in the restaurant.
"We spark their interest in the industry and teach them basic hospitality and communication skills - that sort of thing. Those who show commitment and potential are offered a job within one of our restaurants. This is a foot in the door to the job market for them.
"Through this programme, they get the chance to say: 'Look at me, I'm fabulous; I'll work hard and give it my all. ' As an employer, you can't assess that from just a CV when there are 100 or 200 people applying for a job.
"The benefit for them is that they get the chance to begin a sustainable career. The benefit for us, as an employer, is that it opens up a whole candidate pool of people; just because you don't have experience doesn't mean you are not talented and it doesn't mean you can't be trained. At the same time, you can't train attitude."
Youth Services West Community Development Coordinator Dom Leauga says: "The Journey has been an exciting venture for us with Sky City. We are always looking for opportunities for the more than 800 young people we work with in terms of training, education or employment."
Youth services West seeks the best options for education, training or work based learning that will help unemployed youth build their skills and find suitable employment. They act as personal advisors, giving them the support they need to achieve qualifications, including NCEA Level 2, and financial independence.
The Journey has had small beginnings in its inaugural year - five programmes after which jobs were offered to 60 per cent of those who attended (25 people in total; 15 jobs offered, most of them to young women).
But Leauga says: "It's a really strong programme in our view - because Sky City offers young people a double banger. They train them for six days, including a bit of work experience, and on top of that they get first dibs on jobs that are going - so it really fits well with what we are trying to do with our young people, getting them ready for a career.
"It's a real opportunity for youth, valuing them for what they bring to their own communities."
Sky City also hopes the programme will grow as did the highly successful chef apprenticeship, also part of its youth employment programme. Since 2000, 62 young people have graduated as qualified chefs, with 30 apprentices currently being trained in the three-year programme.
"We prepare young people - some from challenging home environments - to be job-ready," says Leauga. "We help them to develop their CVs, understanding the mechanics of an interview and the relationship between an employer and employee. We also support young people with life skills and other facets of youth development which place each young person in good stead with the community."
Smillie says Sky City wants The Journey to grow bigger and the company is "working more with agencies like those from Auckland Council and Mayor Len Brown's Youth Employment Traction Plan."
That plan pledged to double the current number of young people enrolled in Auckland Council's graduate and cadet programmes and provide regular summits to bring young people, business leaders and youth organisations together.