Joining the dots between Waimakariri’s youth and employers

Former Youth MP and current intern for Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey, Ellie Tizzard has been working to improve workplace literacy and bridge the gap between young people and employers.

Her project began two years ago with a Youth Council survey which highlighted the issue young people were having finding a job, despite the district having comparatively low unemployment rates.

“It was odd that 90 per cent of respondents said they found it hard to get a job, and I wanted to bridge that gap between them and their potential employer.”

Following New Zealand’s first lockdown, Doocey convened the Waimakariri Job Summit in response to concerns of business closures and high unemployment.

“I felt as the local MP it was my job to bring business and community leaders together. A major concern was that with redundancies, young people would be competing with more experienced adults for jobs.

“My worry is that even with low unemployment in the district this is hiding relatively high youth unemployment, that’s why I brought Ellie on board to lead this important project on youth employment.” 

Doocey and Tizzard met with Miles Dalton and business growth advisor Guy Graham from Enterprise North Canterbury (ENC) to work out a strategy to help both employers and prospective employees.

Dalton said while some employers might be hesitant about taking on a young person, many were unaware of the volume of support, both financial and other, that was available to them when employing a school leaver or young jobseeker.

There was also a lot going on in terms of youth workplace literacy for young people to upskill and take up specific training, he said.

It is in this awareness area that Tizzard now plans to turn her focus, to ensure employers have knowledge and access to the support in employing youth.

“It’s exciting to hear how much is out there in terms of resources for employers, but if they don’t know about it it’s not going to help our youth employment rates.

“I’m looking forward to the next stage of my project and starting those conversations with local businesses about how they can benefit from employing a young person.”