A group of jobless young people were given work experience dismantling car seats through a Hawke's Bay social enterprise.
LIFT Youth Employment, which aims to help at-risk and disadvantaged adolescents find jobs, have provided six Hawke's Bay youths with work as part of the SeatSmart child car seat recycling programme run by Hastings sustainbility experts 3R Group.
The young people have been working one day a week at the 3R Group's Hastings premises and 3R Group operations manager Steve Nicholls estimates about 200 seats have been dismantled in that time.
The plastic, metal and straps from the dismantled seats can go on to be reused or recycled. About 70 per cent of the materials from a child's car seat can be recycled but every year 100,000 of them end up in the landfill.
LIFT business manager Graeme Ewart said that for the young people who use their service, it is difficult for them to "get their foot in the door" due to their social and economic backgrounds.
"The young men and women we deal with have very few opportunities to get the ball rolling in terms of work experience," he said.
"The aim of LIFT is to help them get that as well as to get them into full-time work and give them life skills."
Work experience such as that through SeatSmart gives the young people something to put on their CV when looking for full-time employment.
Trojan Kawana, Uriah Tamati-Smith, Marika Katane, Panaomealeli Suai, Paremaina Wiperi and Cullen Waina took part in the five-week programme.
Kawana said he found the job of dismantling seats surprisingly easy to learn.
"It's not difficult," he said. "I like that the seats are being recycled and not wasting anything, it's good."
Kawana said his aim was to join the Army later this year, along with other members from the scheme, and hopes to utilise the problem-solving skills he had learnt during the initiative.
LIFT Youth Employment has engaged with close to 500 young people across Hawke's Bay since it was founded in 2017.
3R Group operations manager Steve Nicholls said the programme is a matter of picking up a screwdriver, hammer or saw and applying problem-solving skills.
"We partner with social enterprises where we can for dismantling, which expands the benefit of the programme beyond simply diverting materials from landfill to create a broader social good," he said.
He said 3R Group hopes the partnership between SeatSmart and LIFT will continue and as the current youth hopefully find full-time employment, new young people can come through.
Three of the young people from the programme have jobs lined up with Higgins after they go through the Work and Income NZ Limited Service Volunteer programme.
The other three are getting bits of work and Ewart said it won't be long until they have further employment.
SeatSmart has 39 collection sites in 10 regions across New Zealand, including the Henderson Road Refuse Transfer Station in Hastings.