Timaru unsafe - youth survey

Many Timaru youth feel their district is unsafe, according to a youth survey.

Nearly 300 young people aged 12 to 24 completed the online Timaru District Youth Survey 2014, organised by Investing in Youth - Future Proofing the Timaru District.

A third of the respondents felt the district was not a safe place to be, with 53 per cent of females saying they feel unsafe "at times" or "often", a perception that increased with age.

The survey consisted of 40 questions aimed at "taking the pulse of the district's youth" on a range of topics.

Questions focused on young people's attitudes toward the district, participation in and attitudes toward various activities, general wellbeing, and education and career plans.

Investing in Youth project facilitator Michele Keggenhoff said key findings painted a largely positive picture, though results were mixed in some areas.

"I think there is a lot of good information here which I hope will be used by quite a number of different organisations to help make our district a better place for young people," she said.

"We gave young people a voice and they used it - the next step is to take action."

More than half of the respondents thought the Timaru District was a good place to be a young person.

Having a variety of things to do was by far the most important objective. However, 89 per cent said they never took part in any of the activities included in the survey.

Drinking alcohol to have a good time and enjoy themselves was "not important at all", Keggenhoff said.

"They would be ‘likely' or ‘very likely' to attend a non-alcohol youth event. This held across gender and all ages, except at age 24."

In other key findings, young people thought there were good education opportunities in the district, but were less positive about the job front, viewing prospects more negatively as they got older.

"A third of respondents are unsure about the ease of obtaining jobs or work experience, and 38 per cent say it is ‘fairly hard' or ‘hard' to do so. This trend generally increases with age."

Agriculture, primary industries, transport, IT and trades did not figure highly among the kinds of jobs respondents said they wished to pursue. Health and hospitality positions were ranked highest in the survey, at 22 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

The Timaru Herald