Employers urged to give teens a chance

Mary-Ann McKibben
Mary-Ann McKibben
More engagement with teenagers is needed to curb Dunedin having one of the largest rates of youth unemployment in New Zealand, Base manager Mary-Ann McKibben says.

Ms McKibben said Base was the new, catchier name for the Social Development Ministry's South Dunedin social sector trial which started in July last year.

Dunedin had one of the largest unemployment rates in New Zealand for people aged between 18 and 24, Mrs McKibben said.

The two-year trial was aimed at people aged between 12 and 18, with the goal of increasing attendance and engagement at school, reducing youth offending and alcohol and drug use and lowering the youth unemployment rate.

Dunedin employers needed to do their part and give youth work experience and mentoring to help them ''go forward'' and identify their strengths.

She said the Dunedin community was ''failing'' its young people.

''We need to do more.''

The unemployment rate revealed more action was needed.

''We need to think about what we are doing and do it differently because what we are doing isn't working.''

A business case was nearly complete for the proposed ''youth employment hub'' for young people to access a range of employment and social support services in a more informal setting.

A centre in London was used to design the business case, and if the concept was successful in Dunedin, it could be introduced nationally, she said.

Ministries working collaboratively on the trial included social development, education, justice health and police, Ms McKibben said.

The trial would benefit youth from across Dunedin, she said.

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz


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