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Govt Moves To Improve Information On Young Workers

The government will look at ways to improve its understanding of the pathways young people take from training and education into the labour market, Youth Affairs Minister Laila Harré said today.

"Cabinet has approved a series of options for improving the data we have on 16 to 19 year olds' participation in the workforce and the interface with education and training."

The research will also look at the working patterns of young people under the age of 16, a group that is entering the workforce in increasing numbers without minimum wage protection.

"The pathways that young people take into employment are much more varied today than one or two generations ago. More teenagers are combining work and study, and it's not uncommon for students as young as 13 to take on a part time job," Laila Harré said.

"Unfortunately data collection hasn't kept up with these changes. As a result we have very little clear information on young people's experience of the labour market and the how we can best support them into education and training."

There are two strands to the work that will be undertaken.

Firstly, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Department of Labour will examine existing data from a youth perspective. This will include Statistics New Zealand surveys, IRD personal income data and longitudinal birth cohort studies.

A qualitative survey will also be done to gather indepth information and test the feasibility of further research.

Initial progress will be reported back to cabinet by the end of November.

Laila Harré said that more detailed information is needed if government hopes to accurately reflect young people's interests at a policy level.

"This government believes there is a requirement for the same level of information about young people's participation in the labour market as is available for other New Zealanders.

"With hard data we will also get a more accurate picture of how many young people are entering the workforce before they are legally entitled to minimum wage protection, the kind of work they are doing and the conditions they face," Laila Harré said.

Ends

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