Young person, see what’s out there

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A new venture is being launched to help connect Waitaki and Waimate youth with local employers.

WaiYou! is a youth employment support service, adapted from the Dunedin-developed Youth Employment Success, and aims to connect businesses with young people aged 16 to 24 in Waitaki and Waimate.

Ahead of its official September 1 launch, WaiYou! chairwoman Cara Tipping Smith said she was looking for 20 employers to sign up to the service.

The new online platform would allow youth-friendly employers to offer anything from an informal meeting over coffee, site visits and work experience to mentoring and apprenticeships, Ms Tipping Smith said.

“We are looking for representative businesses, initially. We want to have a good spread,” she said.

“We don’t want them to all be big businesses or all tiny businesses; the whole idea is that a young person goes not know about that’.

“Even businesses that might want to think about it can get in touch .. interested, maybe interested – let us know.”

More and more, young people were looking for employment opportunities and information about potential employers online, she said.

“The programme isn’t so much minute’, it is businesses and get some exposure to what is available out there’,” she said.

“It is breaking down barriers.”

Once businesses had registered, local videographers would work with them to put together a short video clip to give young people an insight into what the business was about, and any youth interested could apply for opportunities with the company.

There were many benefits for the employers who participated, even if they were not looking for entry-level staff, she said. It could also help keep youth in North Otago and South Canterbury, and benefit the local economy in the long term.

A WaiYou! website will also offer resources such as CV-building advice.

While the Covid-19 pandemic was tough for many businesses, there was funding available right now for training and apprenticeships, she said.

“Right now, in a world where there is a lot of glum about business, it is actually really nice to have an opportunity to support young people.

“It isn’t jobs and it isn’t apprenticeships and it isn’t traineeships – it can be those things if they happen to be available, but you could adopt a young person to have a cup of coffee with and walk them through your business.”

The project is run by the Rotary Club, with additional funding from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Participation is free and interested employers can contact Ms Tipping Smith at cara@thebusinesshive.co.nz.