Youth mentoring scheme bid

The Business Hive director Cara Tipping Smith is chairwoman of the WaiYou! steering group, as Oamaru looks to establish an online youth employment support service. Photo: Hamish MacLean
The Business Hive director Cara Tipping Smith is chairwoman of the WaiYou! steering group, as Oamaru looks to establish an online youth employment support service. Photo: Hamish MacLean
Looking for a first job was different not that long ago. But youth today - and the world today - work differently, Oamaru's The Business Hive director Cara Tipping Smith says.

And after the success of Dunedin's Youth Employment Success scheme, as chairwoman of the WaiYou! initiative Ms Tipping Smith has begun the grant application process through the Rotary Club of Oamaru's charitable trust, to try to establish the Ministry of Social Development youth mentoring programme in North Otago and South Canterbury.

''My first full-time job, I started at the bottom of Queen St [Auckland] and I walked up. With my CV in my hand I went into every single shop until somebody gave me a job,'' she said.

''That was unusual, I guess, back then. But it was still doable. Now, what would happen?''

Young people aged 15 to 24 from the Waitaki and Waimate districts could soon begin the process of finding work digitally - reading employer profiles online and looking into what employers could offer young people in terms of practical insight into the world of work, she said.

With the support of a wide range of service providers, council representatives and schools, the programme could build upon a paper-based Work Ready Passport initiative in place locally to get young people connecting with local employers.

But while the Work Ready Passport project was a ''really great initiative'', if a young person approached an employer who was not aware of the programme ''the whole thing falls down''.

In July, the Otago Daily Times reported Dunedin's youth employment support scheme had 81 employers signed up, and about 800 work-related opportunities on offer.

Ms Tipping Smith said with an initial set-up cost of $44,350 and ongoing annual costs of $32,400 a year, she wanted to start with 20 Waitaki and Waimate employers with something to offer young people and recreate the success in Dunedin and now Eastern Southland.

The ''selfish element'' of the project was it would keep youth in North Otago and South Canterbury, and benefit the local economy in the long term, she said.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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