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Social Justice: Young people's experience in the workplace

21 August 2013

Social Justice Dialogue: Young people's experience in the workplace

Young people’s experiences finding secure, stable employment come under the spotlight at a social justice seminar at St Joseph's parish, Mt Victoria, Wellington this Thursday 22 August, 7.30-9pm.

The event has been organised by Mt Victoria parish in association with Catholic social justice agency Caritas, in preparation for the Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Week on 8-14 September. Three young workers speak from their own experience in a society where one in six young New Zealanders looking for work are unemployed – while Māori youth unemployment is at 38 per cent.

Caritas Social Justice Week Coordinator Cathy Bi speaks from her experience of looking for work for six months after her graduation, and being constantly turned down. The story she was sold in her school life: ‘if you just work hard in your studies, you will find a great job’, didn’t work out in reality.

Ka’isa Beech combines university study with employment on Wellington’s trains. She brings experience as a teenager seeking work, and reflections on what Catholic social teaching brings to involvement in union activities and efforts to improve working conditions. She is also a member of the Wellington Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission.

Heath Hutton is youth development co-ordinator for the Challenge 2000 social service agency, and will speak about barriers to employment for at risk youth using a personal story.

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Social Justice Week focuses on a particular social justice topic each year. With large numbers of young New Zealanders facing unemployment or precarious work, this year’s theme is Walk Alongside: Meaningful work for the young worker.

‘Meaningful work is work that enhances human dignity,’ says Cathy Bi. ‘It gives people enough to live on and leads towards life-long employment. It’s not simply a matter of productivity or an exchange of labour for wage. There is a social element. And young people need work that offers them a sense of security and a sense of hope.’

Thursday’s seminar is part of a series of Winter Social Justice Dialogues being organised by Mt Victoria parish looking at issues of employment for young people. Future sessions cover:

Thursday 12 September: A Māori perspective: developing skills for rangatahi - Charles Mōrunga (Ngā Kanohi Marae o Wairarapa)

Thursday 17 October: What the politicians say:
Simon O'Connor MP, National member of Industrial Relations Select Committee
Jacinda Ardern MP, Labour spokesperson on Social Development
Denise Roche MP, Green spokesperson on Industrial Relations

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.



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