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Forum facilitator Dr Stuart Middleton, of the Manukau Institute of Technology, said about 100 representatives from several sectors met at the Edgar Centre to discuss ways to create pathways from learning to employment for young people in Dunedin.
The representatives were employers, educationists, training providers and government agencies, he said.
The forum was designed to create greater cohesion between the organisations.
''There wasn't much awareness of what each other were doing. Everyone was working in isolation to others,'' he said.
More youth were ''disengaging'' from school and the institute in Otara had investigated ''multiple pathways'' for youth ''to move seamlessly to employment''.
The institute developed New Zealand's first tertiary high school, where those struggling academically at school, finished their schooling at the institute and received a technical qualification, too, he said.
The youth were more focused at the institute because there was a clear pathway to a job, Dr Middleton said.
''They feel they're on the road to something.''
After the forum yesterday, there was support for the Otago Community Trust to set up a working group to move the ideas from the forum forward, he said.
Trust chief executive Barbara Bridger said Dunedin had more than 900 unemployed people, aged between 18 and 24, and the trust had made youth employment, education and training a priority.