After three weeks on the road, Andrew Hughes and Olivia Wix tell young people how to get ahead in the tough job market.
Three weeks ago we started the nzherald.co.nz Job Tour in an attempt to find where young Kiwis are working and why. Each town presented its own set of issues, from a lack of jobs to media representation and the idea of money versus lifestyle.
So, what has our job odyssey taught us? Well, the first thing is that there's not a whole lot of work out there. You have to really fight to get what you want, and even then you might have to settle for second best.
Nothing, it seems, beats getting yourself known to someone and getting whatever experience you can. Just getting a qualification and sending off a CV won't cut it. As Employment and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett told us, young people just have to "suck it up" and take what they can.
We also learnt that what's available varies widely across the country – as you can see from our summary below of the past three weeks, the jobs available in Queenstown are totally different to those in Greymouth and while one place has options, another may be a real struggle to find anything.
And then there are those people who simply make a decision between money and a career or lifestyle. Some go all out to make as quick a climb up the career ladder as they can manage, while others are happier giving up the money to do something they love and avoid the 9-5.
Most young people out there appear, though, to be prepared to do what's required, even if that's taking a job they don't really want and heading off travelling for a while before coming back home and getting going on their career.
From the moment we got off the plane in Queenstown we noticed the lack of Kiwis working in the city. Due to the high cost of living, we found many trained tourism workers were not coming to Queenstown to work.
Many said this is because Kiwis lack basic customer-service skills, and that if they want these jobs they'll need to work harder. In Dunedin, we encountered a similar problem. As there are so many students during the year, they're all fighting for the same jobs which some students believe is an advantage for employers as they can get away with paying very little.
The other problem is that students create the jobs, so when they leave for summer the jobs go with them, making it difficult for students attending summer school to find work.
But the general idea we got from successful young professionals was that young Kiwis need to do more, rather than simply sending in a CV and hoping for an interview.
In Tauranga, local real estate agent Rodney Fong has gone from broadcasting school to a career in property and says that you have to "attack" the job you want, and be persistent.
He also says you need to offer the employer something more than just a qualification.
Joelene Ranby, an accountant at the Port of Tauranga, says that young people need to have more confidence and apply for jobs, regardless of whether they think they will get it.
In Wellington we met two runners for WETA Digital who are putting this advice into practice. Both of them are eager to work in the film industry, but realise it's a case of working your way from the bottom to the top.
But for some this wasn't an issue. We met people who managed to turn their hobbies into their careers.
In Queenstown we met Lotti, a trained photographer turned Sky diving instructor. She says that she became addicted to skydiving and that the most affordable way for her to keep doing this was to work in the industry.
In Mount Maunganui surf instructors Pierre and Nico showed us that travelling the world with your job is an achievable goal.
They say that you don't have to be a world-class surfer to break into the industry but rather have surf lifesaving skills and first aid skills.
Myele Zanzabar, a 21-year-old musician from Wellington, has managed to travel the world with his craft.
He says that while it is a dream come true to play music as a job, he still has to be careful with his money, as his income can vary week to week.
Meanwhile in other towns we found that money played a big part in why people choose to work in certain areas. For example: In Greymouth coal miners earn around $80,000 a year and on a good day fisherman can earn $1000.
They say that earning this much means they can also have more time off. One of the skippers we met says he only works about six months of the year, because his pay packet allows him to live comfortably for the other half.
But we realise mining and fishing aren't jobs that suit everyone, as the extreme hours and heavy labour play a significant role.
One of the other issues we looked at was how young people are represented in certain areas, for example Rotorua. Here we looked at how young people are often marginalised.
Locals we talked to said that a major issue for youth was that it is too easy for them to become gang members.
In Dunedin we found that locals believe the stereotype of Dunedin students is just media sensationalism, and really these events only happen a couple of times a year.
However in Christchurch this wasn't the case. Boy racers are still clearly an issue in the city, with one councillor telling us that the city has gone about dealing with the issue the wrong way, creating an "us versus them" mentality.
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