Young people look for opportunities at west Auckland JobFest
"Looking for a job is so hard," Nesha Tautari says.
Since June, the 18-year-old Massey resident had been applying for jobs, but nothing has turned up.
She was one of more than 500 people who attended Jobfest at the Trusts Arena in Auckland on September 11.
Tautari - whose last job was at a hospice in January - said she was desperate to find work.
She was one of the lucky few to walk out of Jobfest with an interview secured.
"I want a job next week if I can," Tautari said.
"A lot of jobs want experience and that's hard for young people because we hardly have any."
She said Jobfest gave hope to young people because businesses were willing to give them a chance.
Karel Graham, 18, from New Lynn said he was tired of working casual jobs.
He wanted a permanent position so he could help his single mum and three sisters.
"The hardest part about looking for a job is not knowing what the expectations of a role is.
"Businesses advertise for jobs. We apply thinking we have what it takes but we never hear back from them."
This was the first time Jobfest was held in west Auckland, with more than 70 participating businesses.
More than 10 west Auckland-based businesses - including Douglas Pharmaceuticals, Sweet Red Strawberries, Trusts and Westwave Pools - were offering close to 50 jobs.
North Shore councillor Richard Hills said young people were important to businesses.
They brought a fresh perspective and strong social media and technology skills, he said.
"One of the biggest hurdles facing young people today is that they need experience," Hills said.
"But they can't get that experience without getting a foot in the door and given access to the on-the-job training they need to advance their careers."
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) helped organise the Jobfest.
ATEED spokeswoman Pam Ford said with many Auckland sectors facing a severe skills shortage, and the busy Christmas season fast approaching, JobFest was an opportunity for employers to support young people in entry-level roles.
"Within three years' time half the global workforce will be millennials, and as the second most diverse city in the world, Auckland's young people bring a new dimension to the workplace," Ford said.
"Employers may find themselves lagging behind if they don't capitalise on what this future generation can bring to their businesses."