Sometimes, some things are just too good to ignore.

We often hear good news and immediately people start looking at the negatives, querying the facts or being downright miserable just for the sake of it.

So, when we hear that Northland's youth unemployment and our young people not in employment, education or training are at an historical low figure, let's just celebrate it for the good news that it is.

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The reality is that for a long time our region seriously underperformed in this area and while there is always going to be room for improvement let's congratulate our region's various whānau, training providers, businesses and in particular our Ministry of Social Development staff for the incredibly hard work they have done to change the story.

This isn't about statistics or numbers but about the change and opportunity that has been made available for many of our young people.

They can stay in our region, earn money, raise families and participate in the economic conversations that will determine their futures.

Equally important is that their employment enables local businesses to grow and meet the challenges of future demand.

Obviously while just being in employment is reason enough for celebration for many of these young people, NZ Chambers of Commerce Northland thought it would be a good idea to make a big thing about it because it really is a big thing.

So, this year at the Westpac Northland Business Excellence Awards, with the support of the Ministry of Social Development we are going to recognise this through the He Poutama Taitamariki (Youth Employee of the Year) Award which recognises young people who have made significant life changes as a result of employment.

This award focuses on the young person's employment success and achievement, while also recognising the role of the employer in creating conditions for success and sustainability.

It recognises that there is no one thing that is going to solve the issues relating to youth employment but a multi-disciplinary collaborative approach is certainly a good place to start.

The chances are if you have read this far through this article then this may be a subject you are interested in and perhaps you even know someone deserving of the award.

Nominations for the awards are open now and close on September 21. The award will be presented at the Northland Business Excellence Awards on Friday October 26.

For more information on the award criteria and to nominate yourself or someone you know please go to www.northlandbusinessawards.co.nz.

■ Tony Collins is the Northland Chamber of Commerce's chief executive.