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Neat opportunity for NEET youth

Published: 16 May 2018
  • JobFest 2017 - Photo Credit: Youth Collective, Auckland Council

What involves 28,600 Auckland youth and has four letters? NEET – those not in employment, education or training. 

As at March 2018, 13.6 per cent of 15- to 24-year-olds in Auckland were in the NEET category compared to the overall Auckland unemployment rate of only 4.5 per cent.

NEET youth present an opportunity for Auckland employers seeking staff for entry level roles.

Last year, 46 per cent of New Zealand businesses had trouble finding skilled labour and 27perc cent with finding unskilled labour. Long-term skill shortages have been identified in a range of industries including agriculture, construction, engineering, trades and tourism. 

Auckland’s construction sector alone estimated needing a further 28,000 new workers between 2016 and 2022, while the tourism and hospitality industry forecasted over 18,000 job openings by 2020.

From NEET to neat 

To help address these issues, Auckland Council’s JobFest is, for the first time, collaborating with The New Zealand CareersExpo to support youth into the working world. CareersExpo helps secondary students transition from school to work while JobFest focuses on youth out of school.

The two events run alongside each other at the ASB Showgrounds on Thursday 24 May and are expected to attract around 5000 hopefuls.

JobFest is a particular opportunity for Māori and Pacific youth – who are over-represented in NEET stats – to connect with job opportunities, especially as employers are increasingly looking for diversity in their workforces.

Richard Hills, Auckland Council’s youngest councillor and long-time supporter of JobFest, is passionate about the event and connecting with Auckland’s youth.

“Young people are invaluable to our city; they’re our future and have so much to offer – their passion, energy, enthusiasm and innovation," he says.

"Offering support now can have such a positive impact going forward. We need to value and appreciate our youth and it’s great to see JobFest doing that.”

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Right: Councillor Richard Hill at Jobfest 2017. Photo Credit: Auckland Council.

Over 40 employers will attend including Fletcher Building, Fulton Hogan and Auckland Airport, all offering support and advice for those entering the job market. And there are almost 1000 available jobs to fill. 

Robyn Lentell of Youth Connections says the event prioritises getting youth directly into available jobs.

“We’ve ensured every employer at the event will have entry-level job vacancies, last year almost 300 attendees walked away with jobs and we’re expecting the number to be even higher this year.”

“The aim of JobFest is simply to bring job-ready youths to youth-ready jobs.”

Vinesh Halai attended last year’s event and gained a position as a Junior Site Engineer at Dempsey Wood. He’s enthused about his experience and the difference JobFest made to his life.

“The event brings so many companies together under one roof,” he says. “There’s a lot of one to one connection, which is perfect for someone looking for a job.”

“My job means so much to me; it brings me confidence as an individual. For all the young people out there looking for a job, I want to say – don’t lose hope. There’s one job out there waiting for one person. You’ll find it.”

The Youth Connections initiative is in partnership with ATEED and the Tindall Foundation.

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JobFest 2017 - Photo Credit: Youth Collective, Auckland Council