$35,000 from Lotteries big boost for WaiYou!

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I’m truly excited to share the awesome news we have just landed $35,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund for our businesses and young people.

By we, I mean everyone in the Waitaki and Waimate regions. Yep, everyone. Mums and dads. Young people. Old people. Businesspeople, big and small. Doers and dreamers alike.

You may have forgotten about that WaiYou! project I banged on about a few columns ago. Let me remind you. WaiYou! is a local initiative (Waitaki and Waimate) about making it easy for young people and businesspeople to connect for work-related opportunities including by using a world-class tool (developed in Dunedin) called Youth Employment Success (Y.E.S.).

Why? Because businesspeople want good workers, suppliers and customers.

Young people want real prospects – jobs and careers that aren’t just on a race to the bottom in terms of wages (or satisfaction).

The work world is fast-changing, as is the world of education – vocational and academic.

Economic uncertainty says a heap of educational debt may only serve to send our young people (and our dollars to support them) to bigger towns and bigger economies – leaving our mums and dads struggling in the dust.

We have an ageing population and quite frankly, someone’s got to pay the rates. That means we need working-aged people earning enough to live here.

Different generations have different styles and expectations.

But getting together, learning each other’s priorities and finding that common ground is what gets the business done.

Business owners know that. For us, it’s everyday life.

Over the next months, businesses will have unprecedented opportunity to engage with young people. (Not only with WaiYou! but also the school’s career expo in May).

For businesses, it’s in our interest to check them out and actively look for the mutual benefits they can bring.

We haven’t finished fundraising but, thanks to the Rotary Club of Oamaru and Lotteries, we’re off to a flying start. Let’s make the most of it. We’re all in it together.

WaiYou! is a Rotary Club of Oamaru project. The steering group includes business, school, ot-for-profit and local government representatives from Waitaki, Waimate and Dunedin. Find out more at facebook.com/YESWaiYou.

  • Cara Tipping Smith is a director of The Business Hive.