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The Right To Work: Young New Zealanders

The Right To Work: Young New Zealanders


Getting young people into work is about preparing them for work and ensuring they have ongoing support: sustainable youth employment isn’t a tick the box exercise.

This is a key finding in the Human Rights Commission’s latest piece of work on youth employment, The Right To Work which focused on young people seeking work in South Auckland, Northland as well as disabled job seekers.

“Jobs change lives. Particularly in the disadvantaged communities we have been talking with. When one young person finds long term employment the entire family dynamic often changes for the better,” said EEO Commissioner Jackie Blue.

“These case studies highlight the need to focus on ‘work readiness’ and helping young people to gain the confidence, skills and attitudes necessary to find a job and build a career.”

“They also demonstrate the importance of providing ongoing support and pastoral care when a young person begins a new job, smoothing the way for both employer and employee.”

The Right To Work continues the Commission’s focus on young New Zealanders and their right to work, highlighted in its National Conversation about Work in 2009 and Tracking Equality at Work in 2011 in which the Commission described the work future for young Kiwis as a “ticking time bomb”. In 2012 the Commission welcomed the national youth to work strategy rolled out by the Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs.

The Right To Work is about building the aspirations of young New Zealanders and ensuring communities and especially businesses understand and embrace the long term benefits of employing young people,” said Dr Blue.

She paid tribute to the many youth providers supporting young New Zealanders in some of New Zealand’s poorest communities.

“I was bowled over by the youth providers that work in this space. They were passionate and all went beyond the call of their contractual requirements. They stressed the importance of getting youth ‘work ready’ followed by job hunting/matching and crucially supporting both the youth and employer once in the job.”

Far North/Te Tai Tokerau

Lifelong numeracy and literacy skills coupled with an emphasis on pastoral care are the foundations of community focused initiatives working in Te Tai Tokerau. Tackling high unemployment, poverty and welfare dependency, Regent Training in Kerikeri and People Potential in Kaikohe offer a range of programmes leading participants towards higher education and greater vocational pathways.

Miller Wihongi from Regent Training says numeracy and literacy training is crucial as these skills “helps them for the rest of their lives.”

“We get the kids who are kicked out of school. They are in gangs or have been exposed to poverty and abuse.”

When it comes to harnessing the potential of the region’s young people, Regent emphasises the importance of pastoral car. In their first three months, young people are exposed to as much manaaki (support), whanaungatanga (family) and awhi (caring) as possible. Wihongi says, “You really see a change in their attitude after this time. They want to learn.”

The Council is keen to implement the Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs ‘Youth to Work Strategy’, aimed at getting all under 25’s engaged in education, training or work.

Mayor John Carter says the Otorohanga model under the leadership of Mayor Dale Williams significantly reduced youth unemployment in the town and he is keen to emulate the success of that programme in the Far North.

“Working with Te Hiku Crown Social Development and Wellbeing Accord agencies to set up a Taskforce for Jobs in Kaitaia will address all sorts of social problems for young people once they find work that provides them with a long-term career path,” said Mr Carter.

Strong community support is essential if young people are to prosper says Bronwyn Ronayne from People Potential: “Being a small community everyone needs to be involved, a good example is the Kaikohe cadetship programme run in conjunction with the council and Ministry of Social Development.”

Other things working in the region include the Kaikohe Youth Action Plan that sees local authorities, the Ministries of Social Development, Justice, Education and Health, and the New Zealand Police working to boost the numbers of young people participating in education, training and employment. Future Treaty of Waitangi settlements in Te Tai Tokerau will see further investments in the local economy.

It’s clear young people will play an important role in the future of the Far North region.

Find out more about what’s working in Te Tai Tokerau and The Right To Work:

Website: http://www.hrc.co.nz/eeo/the-right-to-work-maximising-the-employment-potential-of-young-new-zealanders/

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