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Mayor calls for inquiry into youth unemployment

11 September 2012

Mayor calls for inquiry into youth unemployment

The Mayor of Auckland has called for an inquiry into how best to keep young people in education, employment or training. Len Brown was responding to a call from the Productivity Commission for suggestions on topics of inquiry that would benefit the economy.

"More than one in ten young New Zealanders are falling through the cracks," says the Mayor. "They are not in a job, not in school or not in training. Failing to solve this problem now will simply lead to more problems in the future.

"The national ‘NEET’ (Not in Education, Employment or Training) rate for people aged 15-24 is 13.1 per cent. That equates to more than 84,000 youth nationally. The rate for Māori and Pasifika youth is even worse - 22.8 per cent and 18.3 per cent respectively.

"We need to give these kids hope and a pathway to a better life,” says Len Brown. "Based on the Mayors’ Task Force for Jobs model, Auckland Council, in conjunction with the Tindall Foundation and private sector partners, has set up a youth transition scheme that tracks and supports young people from schools into work, training or further study.

"There are a host of initiatives and programmes that do a great job, but there is much more we could do to link the different agencies, businesses and educational institutions together. A national strategy to tackle youth unemployment would be a start.

"There are opportunities out there. Christchurch is gearing up for a massive rebuild that requires a skilled workforce and Auckland needs 10,000 new dwellings a year to cater for population growth. We need to re-gear our economy to be more export-orientated and we need to ensure young people have the skills to succeed in the jobs of the future.

"One of the biggest things we could do to improve our economic position is provide clear pathways for young people to fulfil their potential."
In the June 2012 quarter, the youth (15–24 years) NEET rate registered 13.1 per cent. The male NEET rate was 11.0 per cent, while the female NEET rate was 15.4 per cent. For people aged 15–19 years the NEET rate is 8.9 per cent, while for the 20–24-year-olds it is 17.1 percent. The rate is calculated as the total number of youth who are NEET, as a proportion of the total youth working-age population.

Ends

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