In 2014, we started researching youth employment issues and solutions in New Zealand and overseas. We were becoming increasingly aware of the difficulties many young people face in finding their first stable job. With the changing nature of work many of the traditional pathways to employment are in decline.Based on what’s worked elsewhere, we saw that successful approaches:
- offer continuing support for young people to be ‘work ready’ for a changing economy
- ensure employers and communities are supported to be ‘youth ready’, and provide a clear system or pathway for young people transitioning from school to meaningful employment
- respond to innovation and systems change – recognising future focused industries, including new, knowledge-based employment opportunities and enterprise
- utilise a whole of community youth to employment strategy (e.g. Mayors’ Task Force for Jobs model) leading to less fragmentation and more collaboration.
- an interest to work on a collective whole-of-community youth-to-employment strategy (with a focus on connected key stakeholders) or
- an existing collective youth-to-employment strategy which required support to expand its initiatives
In 2016 our trustees decided to support youth employment initiatives in three regions. The general process for developing funding proposals was that we required a broad range of community support from key stakeholders such as schools, iwi, youth and local funders. We note that each region’s proposals were different, which reflects the different communities in which they operate. The regions we supported were: Lower Hutt, Eastern Bay of Plenty and Te Tairāwhiti. In 2018 we added a fourth initiative based in Taranaki.
In total, between 2015 and 2019 we have committed $2.8m to this change initiative. This includes specific projects within the regions, convening and collaboration support, and evaluation. All of our funding for youth employment has now been committed.We also provided support by:
- hosting an annual collective hui where we invite representatives from each of the 3 regions to attend a two-day collective hui to share their learnings, challenges and next steps
- connecting the regional representatives to other relevant initiatives and other funders who may be in alignment