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Youth Connections Across Auckland (YCAA) is a highly successful initiative to improve the transition of young people leaving school and moving into the next step of their journey: employment, education or job training.
Run by Auckland Council, the programme is championed by ten local boards and receives funding support from Hugh Green Foundation, Auckland Airport Community Trust and The Tindall Foundation. Our association with YCAA goes back to work we were doing with the Mangere community, before the amalgamation of local authorities into the current Auckland Council.
After amalgamation, we approached Mayor Len Brown to seek pathways towards improving school leaver aspirations. That discussion coincided with central government reducing contracts for school leaver services, which left a gap for a number of young people.
At The Tindall Foundation, we are committed to supporting projects that address issues of unemployment and help provide young people with pathways to jobs.
We are supporting YCAA with $710,000 (from 2012 to 2014) to employ three Youth Connections brokers and a Project Manager, to purchase tracking software and build a website, and to provide seed funding to help local boards take the initiative to different parts of the city.
Auckland had 34,000 young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) in March 2013 – up from 26,000 in June 2012. Youth Connections brokers put young people in touch with potential employers, other agencies, and schools and tertiary education providers in their local areas. In the first six months of 2013, YCAA connected 450 young people with 171 local employment opportunities, which led to 69 full-time positions.
Ron Brightmore, Careers Advisor at Mount Roskill Grammar School, described the programme as “a godsend. Many students come into the office and say, ‘I just want a job, sir’. Now, with Youth Connections we have somewhere to send them.”
Gilmours Mount Roskill is one of the employers working with Youth Connections. Owner/operator Aaron Kedzlie said he always wanted to provide local jobs for local people, and because of the Youth Connections programme he can do just that. “It’s great for us to get local youth that are work-ready and willing to put in the hard yards.”
Beyond the challenges of employment for young people, YCAA has developed a pilot student support service to track the progress of young people leaving school: where they go, what help they may need, and how to connect them to support as required. It will all go to easing the transition from school life to a future of work and study for the youth of Auckland.
For more information contact:
Delwyn Corin, Project Manager
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