An initiative to help young unemployed, uneducated and untrained jobseekers
In Auckland, around 20,000 young people finish school every year. Despite increasing NCEA Level 2 achievement levels, in line with government’s better public service targets, less than a third of young people go directly on to university study. The remainder transition into employment or non-degree level further education - or drift for a while.
One in five young Aucklanders (around 23,000 people) are not in employment, education or training.
It is well recognised across New Zealand that there needs to be better linkages between education and work, including greater employer involvement; qualifications for our young people need to be credible and relevant to their future success. This has led to national initiatives such as Vocational Pathways and Youth Guarantee.
Ako Aotearoa recognises the significant challenges for all parts of our education system - from secondary through to tertiary. This drives our co-hosting of annual events such as the
New Zealand Vocational Education and Training Research Forum and Te Ara Whakamana.
Auckland's Youth Employment Pledge initiative
We also support other groups responding to these challenges. Recently, Ako Aotearoa’s Northern Hub was contacted by Melissa Hall of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) to discuss ways ATEED could contribute to the evidence base on how tertiary education can be more relevant to employer needs. Ako Aotearoa's Dr Joe Te Rito (Deputy Director Maori), Helen Lomax (Deputy Director Sector Services) and Ruth Peterson (Northern Regional Manager) were invited to meet with Melissa and her colleagues to explore better ways of linking research activity in the education sector to the Auckland construction and infrastructure recruitment campaign Auckland’s Youth Employment Pledge.
The group then attended the Pledge's signing in April, at which 17 more companies signed up; bringing the number of pledge partners to 51. Signing the pledge means that although young people are frequently not work-ready or life-ready, these companies will take them on and train them to ensure that the workforce of the future is sustainable.
The signing event was extremely heartening. The new signees spoke about their enthusiasm and passion for the initiative. Some of Auckland’s largest employers are on board including Fletcher Building, SKYCITY, The Warehouse, Xero and Auckland Airport. Between them, the pledge partners have committed to providing over 400 entry-level jobs and work experience opportunities.
The collaborative work that Ako Aotearoa undertakes includes partnering with organisations on projects through our co-funding model. We see several opportunities for us to be involved with the work that ATEED is doing and look forward to developing our relationship with the team at ATEED to further our mutual goals towards enhancing outcomes for learners in tertiary education and employment.