Young people answer to recruitment woes

31 October 2018

Young people answer to recruitment woes

“We’re heading into interesting times where there’s soon to be more positions advertised than people to fill them. There’s no-longer a pool of ready-made labour sitting around to be drawn on.”

That’s the word from Porirua City Councillor Dale Williams who says this is the new norm and that young people are not the problem, but the solution to a shortage of suitable candidates for local jobs as Porirua City continues to boom.

Cr Williams was addressing local businesses as he celebrated the success of the Porirua Youth 2 Work Movement.

As Chair of the Youth 2 Work advisory board Cr Williams says that our aging population is putting us in a position where there will soon be more vacancies than candidates and that it’s imperative that our young people leave school ready for work.

Bridging the gap between employers and young people

“We know our employers need staff and we know our young people want to work – we’re here to help bridge the gap and make it happen.

“Employers say they are more interested in candidates with the right attitude, who are motivated, reliable and have a willingness to learn. They can be taught skills on the job. Schools don’t always deliver on those most important attributes and the question for us is who should be providing that?”

Cr Williams says all of us have that responsibility, including the Youth 2 Work Movement which has now placed more than 200 local young people into employment over the past few years.

“We have to invest in our young people to show them what work is all about.”

Youth 2 Work helps young people get job-ready through a variety of activities including JOBfest, the Youth Ambassador programmes, driving training, community mentoring and careers workshops.

New Youth 2 Work partners


SARNZ is the industry body for scaffolding, access and rigging in New Zealand. General Manager Jessica Pritchard says partnering with Youth 2 Work is a good fit for the organisation that recently introduced apprenticeships.

“We’re big on earning as you learn and want young people to identify our industry as a great career opportunity. They can earn as they learn and keep fit at the same time.” She says the industry has a culture of team work and inclusiveness and is the perfect environment for young people to start out in.

Whānau Manaaki

Whānau Manaaki is the not-for-profit organisation behind 85 kindergartens as well as a homebased service in Porirua.

Danny Mareko, Manager Communities and Participation, says the service was already doing a lot with young people, so it made sense to become a Youth 2 Work partner. The organisation actively recruits young people and has a particular focus on trying to get more men into the sector.

“We run a programme called ‘Y Men’. It’s aimed at Māori and Pacific men (but not exclusively) and is responding to the situation we find in society where there are a lot of families that don’t have any males in their lives, there’s a lot of children with no positive male influences, and we’re working to address this.

Unite Recruit

Unite Recruit specialises in civil, industrial and commercial recruitment. Adrian Lebita, Office Manager says there can be lots of barriers for young people when going for jobs.

“We want to give young people a boost, so they can have a better quality of life. It can be challenging to break into these opportunities with some of the requirements needed by employers. Unite Recruit covers those requirements to connect youth with employers.”

Porirua City Councillor Dale Williams: “We know our employers need staff and we know our young people want to work – we’re here to help bridge the gap and make it happen.”

Partnering with businesses

Cr Williams says partnering with local businesses is the key to success for the Youth 2 Work Movement.

“Already almost 40 businesses have signed up to support the Movement, with the three latest being Unite Recruit, SARNZ (Scaffolding, Access and Rigging NZ) and Whānau Manaaki Kindergarten.”





Porirua Mayor Mike Tana and Partners Porirua Executive Director Michelle Robinson welcome Adrian Lebita from Unite Recruit as a new partner to the Porirua Youth 2 Work Movement.