Employers taking on young workers

Dunedin employers are giving young people a chance, Altitude Programme manager Sonya Hill says.

Ms Hill said the comments made by Ministry of Social Development southern regional commissioner John Allen last week calling the Dunedin community complacent, or indifferent, to the wellbeing of young people and their future employment were inaccurate.

Dunedin employers were not refusing to hire young people; the employers were refusing to employ people without experience, she said.

''It's not their age that's the problem. It's the lack of experience they have.''

If a 35-year-old had a CV lacking work experience, they would struggle to find a job, too, she said.

The programme worked with Dunedin employers to get young people into work and bridged the uncertainty that comes with employing a young person lacking experience.

The trust employed them for 12 weeks and placed them in jobs and took on ''the risk and the paperwork''.

About three-quarters of people who completed the programme got full-time work, she said.

The trust was a charity and the programme was partially funded by employers, she said.

Z Energy retailer Jonathan Usher said he had no regrets recruiting staff, such as forecourt concierge Ed Matthews, from the programme.

''Customers love Ed. He's a nice kid and he's out there smiling to the customers.''

After the programme, Mr Matthews became a ''fully fledged'' Z Energy staff member.

''It's great. He worked well for us and I get a great staff member.''

Mr Usher said he recommended unemployed youth to join a training programme, such as Altitude, rather than posting out CVs seeking work.

Mr Matthews said the programme included both customer training and front-of-house training provided by Otago Polytechnic.

''It's an even mix of study and work.''

Dunedin Courier Company office manager Di Cochrane said courier Sam Stevenson had completed the programme and the company liked employing fit staff with good time-management skills.

Jobs at the company were never advertised because many people came to the business asking for work, she said.

''The kids come in here and drop their CV off. They are the ones going out of their way to find employment and they're the ones that deserve a chance.''

Mr Stevenson said he was on an unemployment benefit for nearly a year before he enrolled in the programme.

There were jobs for young people in Dunedin and of the five drivers at Dunedin Couriers, three were aged under 25, he said.

''It's hard work but I enjoy it,'' Mr Stevenson said.

• Dunedin teenager Danielle Newton has landed herself a job after an eight-month search.

The 17-year-old was offered a position at Brooklands Retirement Village after an article about her search for work was published in the Otago Daily Times earlier this month.

Miss Newton said she was excited to get the full-time job.

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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