Getting a job can be hard, and it's even harder if you are a young person looking for your first employment opportunity," says Keisya Gunawan.
Keisya, 17, is one of two Youth MP advisers for Whanganui Youth MP Ebony Kalin, and says she, Ebony and her fellow Youth MP adviser Charlotte Hardy want to remove some of the obstacles facing young people around employment.
"When Ebony, Charlotte and I began in our roles, Steph [Lewis, MP for Whanganui] asked us what we thought were some of the issues facing young people in the electorate. All three of us identified employment as an issue, so it was an obvious choice when we began talking further about what we wanted to focus on for a Youth MP community project in the electorate."
Keisya says obstacles young people face when it comes to searching for a job range from not knowing how to create a great CV, to the availability of jobs that can fit in around school and study commitments.
"Plus the need for experience. Most jobs want someone to have some experience in that industry or skill already, but we can only get that experience if we can get a job, so we go round in circles, need experience to get a job, but need a job to get experience."
Keisya, a Year 13 Stratford High School student, says she knows she is lucky to have found a job that fits around her schoolwork and her other commitments, which include serving as co-chair on the Stratford District Youth Council, as well as her role as Youth MP adviser.
"Not everyone is as fortunate as me. There are lots of barriers to finding work, from travel to hours to that need for experience. We want to identify these barriers and then to work through ways to break them down and make employment more accessible to young people in the Whanganui electorate."
The Youth MP team of Ebony, Keisya and Charlotte already have several ideas for things they can do to remove those obstacles, and say people should keep an eye on Steph Lewis' Facebook page for future announcements.
"To get the best outcomes, though, we first need to hear from as many people as possible, to make sure we are aware of all the barriers or obstacles people face, not just the ones we have already thought of."
To make sure they hear from a wide range of young people in their electorate, the trio launched an online survey last week, and want "lots" of people to fill it in, says Keisya.
"The responses to the survey will help inform us and guide us when it comes to the next steps in this community project. We launched the survey during Youth Week as Youth Week is all about making sure young people have their voices heard, and that is exactly what we want to achieve."
A link to the survey can be found on the Steph Lewis MP for Whanganui Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stephlewiswhanganui