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New Digital Platform Connects Whanganui Employers And Youth

Whanganui & Partners and 100% SWEET have launched a new digital platform connecting local youth with employment experiences.

YES (Youth Employment Success) is an online platform that allows youth friendly employers to offer work experiences including mentoring, internships, coffee dates, CV reviews, practice interviews and site visits.

The platform originated in Dunedin, where it has been successfully running for over three years. Whanganui is the first North Island location to adopt it.

Hannah Kelly of Whanganui & Partners says the range of opportunities available through YES offers the opportunity for new entrants to the workforce to get a foot in the door.

“100% SWEET has done great work delivering the Work-Ready Passport programme, but we found there was still a step missing between developing work-ready skills and accessing real-world experience,” Kelly said.

“The YES platform allows any employer in Whanganui to provide our youth with practical work experiences, even if they aren’t in a position to hire. This means we can offer more experiences than what you’d find on job boards like Seek or TradeMe.”

Kelly says this project was started before COVID, but the economic impact of the pandemic has added to the importance of engaging youth in career pathways.

“Young people are usually disproportionately impacted by economic downturns,” Kelly said. “Since February, the number of people 29 or younger signing up for the Jobseeker benefit has grown much more than any other age group. This is a crucial time to get behind our youth.”

In addition to making a positive contribution to the community, Kelly sees significant benefit to the employers who participate.

“Think of it as an investment in the future of your business and industry. Even if you aren’t looking for entry-level staff, engaging with someone through YES can set them on a career path that develops skills your business may need down the road,” Kelly said.

“Spending time with young people is also a great way to gain exposure to different ways of thinking, especially in terms of technology use and soft skills.”

The platform is launching with ten youth-friendly businesses registered, including GDM, the Whanganui District Council and Lucky Bar + Kitchen, but Kelly says she is keen to see more. Participation is free. Interested employers should contact her at Hannah.Kelly@whanganuiandpartners.nz

The platform can be found at Youthemployer.nz

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