Boosting youth job prospects

Otaki, Main Highway (SH1)
Otaki, Main Highway (SH1)

A new programme aims to improve employment opportunities for people in Ōtaki aged between 15 and 24.

The Youth to Employment pilot has nine months’ initial funding from council but it is hoped to find ways to make it ongoing.

The council/community programme will be run by Kāpiti Youth Support, a charitable trust that provides a free health and support service for young people throughout the district.

Ōtaki ward councillor Penny Gaylor says council’s interest in such an initiative was first sparked when elected members heard Otorohanga Mayor Dale Williams present to a Youth and Local Government conference a few years ago about the merits a similar programme had in that district.

Youth employment reduced markedly in Otorohanga and Cr Gaylor is hoping the same happens here.
“One of the key outcomes will be strong relationships with local businesses, educators and trainers that build vocational pathways for young people.

“Ōtaki has the youngest average age in the district, and many of our young people would like meaningful employment in their home town,” says Cr Gaylor.

The pilot involves identifying and encouraging youth friendly employers, and ensuring that young people have the skills, support and know-how to be in demand as employees.

“This might be fairly simple like CV advice or helping work out how to overcome a particular obstacle such as organising travel to and from a job,” says Ōtaki community board chair James Cootes.

“But the programme may also identify things like needs based skills shortages and liaise with the likes of Work and Income and training providers to enable skill-specific training.”

A database of youth friendly employers will be established and the programme coordinator will help connect these businesses with suitable young workers.

Stakeholders in the Youth Pathways pilot include the local community board, Ōtaki College, Kāpiti Youth Support, employers and training providers.

Employers and young people interested in finding out more should contact Kāpiti Youth Support on 06 364 7305 or drop into their centre at 14 Matene Street, Ōtaki.