Throughout July 2015, the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ), supported by the Tindall Foundation delivered nine workshops throughout the country which focussed on boosting conversation around youth employment. The Workshops looked to explore, shape and strengthen the vital connection between young people leaving school and gaining employment.
MTFJ Chairman, Malcolm Campbell said “I cannot thank the Tindall Foundation enough for their support as these workshops would not have happened without them. It is a great thing for New Zealand to have an organisation like this that focuses on ensuring our young people are given the best possible opportunity in life.”
The workshops were facilitated by Dave Turner, who resides in Adelaide, Australia, and has completed youth transition projects throughout the world; he is an expert in working to unite education and employment. The workshops not only focussed on Dave’s expertise and knowledge, but also targeted local knowledge and experience to assist with tackling bigger and broader issues.
Following the workshops, Mr Turner said “The challenge is to create pathways of work and learning for young people that include, and go beyond, “The First Job”. Building the skills to be productive and making wise judgements is vital in today’s labour market and that requires learning in the workplace. In doing this, Employer engagement in careers education at school is particularly important, and local government can harness employer contributions and build local community-employer education partnerships”. He suggested following the workshops, the sectors priorities should include:
- Extending the local thinking around jobs for young people to the notion of “pathways and partnerships”;
- Inform central government of the need for funding and strategy that supports collaboration, leading to partnership-ready schools and employers, work-ready young people and youth-friendly employers;
- Paying special attention to the needs of disadvantaged and/or isolated communities and their challenged youth labour markets; and
- Respecting and sharing good practice between local communities and practices from “afar”.
The workshops attracted over 230 attendees from 54 councils, 4 central government departments, and various employer representatives and community stakeholders. The workshops received a great response and were rated either valuable or really valuable by nearly 90% of those that attended.
“It is critical for the local government sector to have these workshops as a forum to learn, discuss and work towards better supporting our Nation’s young people. It is equally important that mayors understand how important their role is in their community to ensure interaction between education and employers is happening” Mayor Campbell said.
These workshops underpinned the newly developed MTFJ strategy which was presented to the membership at its Annual General Meeting. This strategy takes a broader approach at youth employment and reiterates the need for employers to play an integral role in their local communities to better transition young people into training and/or employment.
Following the completion of the workshops, the MTFJ has identified a number of areas which the organisation needs to address, which includes mayors having greater access to information which will assist in addressing local issues and opportunities. Mayor Campbell says, “The MTFJ is in a strong position to be able to take the findings from these workshop and work with central government and other key stakeholders to put initiatives in place which will better assist our young people”
See some of the testimonials that were received following the workshops:
“Able to share and hear ideas of what others are doing. Great to hear about what is happening internationally.”
“I have been trying to connect into a forum such as this for 8 months. It has been very difficult. Now that I am here, the message is very clear, schools need to be involved.”
“Valuable discussions with other councils facing similar challenges - great to see/hear that the current path we are on is right but we need to continue on this path”
“This has provided me with a much needed clear next step to work towards my aim to fulfil the outcome that all our youth are "thriving and engaged".”
“My organisation is a body of youth, so the lesson that youth can help youth is important for us. Personally, the workshop was very stimulating and provided me a sounding board for my ideas on the issues we face.”
“Topics discussed were aligned to council’s strategic priorities/outcomes. Good for me to learn about 'best practice' models for tackling youth unemployment.”