Thirteen local businesses and nineteen local youth were recognised at the recent Whau Badge awards at Caffé Greco in Avondale.
The awards celebrated the work of employers, training organisations and young people that participated in the Whau Badge youth employment initiative, and was attended by members of the local business and education communities, Whau Badge graduates and Whau Local Board members.
The Badge is run by the Whau Local Board and Youth Connections to connect local youth with employers, so young people can get advice and feedback from real employers to help them learn valuable skills such as how to prepare a CV and perform in a job interview.
Whau Local Board deputy chair Susan Zhu said the Badge was an important part of the board’s Youth Connections initiative, to improve local youth employment outcomes.
“Youth are an important part of our society, and our future. We’re here to give local young people a helping hand and to help them build career paths."
Mike Gibson, CEO of the Rosebank Business Association, opened the awards ceremony and noted that the Badge has proven to be a valuable way for employers to engage with youth and demonstrated the commitment the business community has to improving employment outcomes for young people.
“The understanding young people need to have is of what businesses are providing – not just jobs but opportunities, and that they care about youth,” Mike said.
Oliver Prince, a Green Bay student who was awarded with his Badge, said he’d really enjoyed the course.
“I was referred to the Badge by one of my teachers and I thought it could be useful because I didn’t have any work experience. I’ve done two job interviews since doing the Badge and I felt really good going into them.”
Paul Robinson, CEO of Soil and Rock, received an award for his participation in the Badge programme as an employer mentor, and said it was clear the young people doing the Badge were eager to learn.
“The youth were obviously motivated and engaged. The fact they were nervous in the interviews showed they really cared and wanted to be there,” Paul said.
Another award winner, Jack Weir of Weir Management, said the Badge is an effective way of educating young people because of the direct, personal feedback they receive, and the different stages of the course.
“By the final interviews it was really hard to find fault in the young people. They’d obviously taken the feedback on board and worked hard,” Jack said.