Action needed on youth unemployment

SIOBHAN LEATHLEY
Last updated 05:00 24/05/2013

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Despite more funding for Maori and Pacific trade training schemes, more needs to be done to tackle youth unemployment, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce says.

The Budget allocated $43 million to expanding the current He Toki ki te Rika and Pasifika Trades scheme from 600 places to 3,000 by 2017.

But Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said this will not be enough to get more young people into the workforce.

According to Statistics New Zealand, 12.5 per cent of youths are currently not employed or in education or training programmes.

Barnett said businesses need to take a more active role in reducing this. 

"It is not an issue that can be solved by the public sector working alone."

According to Statistics New Zealand, 4.9 per cent of Auckland's youths are either unemployed or not in education or training programmes.

The general manager for Auckland's Greater East Tamaki Business Association, Jane Tongatule, said this is a major issue for the area.

"Many of our young people are not employed or in any sort of training or education programme."

To combat this, from June onwards the association will role out the Youth Connections project in the area. The project is designed to create connections between youths and employers.

"This is one way we believe we can help address a major issue by bridging the gap between employment and young people."

Last year Smart Waikato, a trust aimed at connecting businesses with youths, conducted a survey into the number of Waikato employers offering work experience to the region's young jobseekers.  

The results showed more than half of the 280 employers who completed the survey offered no work experience opportunities.

The Trust's regional manger, Mary Jensen, said some of the reasons listed for this included a perceived poor work ethic, bad attitude, and drug and alcohol use.

Other respondents said they would if they had more government, financial and community support.

"The mechanisms are not properly in place for youths and employers to get together."

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- Fairfax Media

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