JobFest case study
In 2012, according to Statistics New Zealand, 29,000 young Aucklanders (aged 15 to 24 years) were not in employment, education or training. This figure was higher for young Māori and young Pacific Island Aucklanders. To address this critical issue, the mayor launched the Mayor’s Youth Employment Traction Plan in 2013. Auckland Council and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) enacted his vision by maintaining youth employment activities already underway in the Youth Connections programme and building a new series of interlocking initiatives designed to increase youth employment. One of these initiatives was JobFest.
JobFest breaks down barriers by bringing young people and employers face to face, and creating a marketplace of roles specifically for youth.
As the programme began, a co-design process was undertaken with youth and businesses to identify barriers for young people gaining employment. One of the key insights was the value in bringing employers and young people face to face. As a result, the council and ATEED piloted a youth employment summit to link unemployed youth to employers with vacancies. Turnout to this event was high, and feedback from youth and employers who attended was very positive. Investment from the Tindall Foundation, Hugh Green Foundation and the Auckland Airport Community Trust allowed the model to be scaled up and JobFest was launched. To date there have been three JobFest events, each growing in scale and size.
What is JobFest?
JobFest is a free one-day event created to get young people into employment. Young people face significant competition in the labour market, and are often disadvantaged due to a lack of skills and work experience. When applying online they are frequently screened out before they even have a chance to interview. JobFest breaks down these barriers by bringing young people and employers face to face, and creating a marketplace of roles specifically for youth.
JobFest marketing and social media encourages young people to get their CVs critiqued and plan their interview outfits ahead of the day. Young people can attend workshops, talk with business representatives, apply for roles and interview on the day for positions. They also gain a better understanding of career pathways within organisations, and how entry level roles can lead to more exciting careers over time.
Businesses showcase their vacancies and give presentations. Meeting face to face allows employers to get a sense of the energy and attitude of applicants, and to discuss skills and life experience that may be relevant. In this environment, many young people are able to demonstrate work-related skills they have gained through supporting their family, their marae, or their church.
JobFest is a free one-day event created to get young people into employment.
JobFest attracts three segments of young people: those who are work-ready and motivated to secure a job; those who are beginning to explore the world of work and are seeking information about different job opportunities; and those who have little knowledge of the job market or recruitment process. JobFest caters to each of these groups.
Attendees who are unsuccessful in finding work at JobFest, gain knowledge and experience from participating in the recruitment process which prepares them to secure a job in future.
Success and impact
JobFest has increased the commitment and engagement from employers to create more employment opportunities for youth. Employers are becoming more interested in the benefits of employing youth and more intentional about aligning their key recruitment periods to coincide with JobFest.
The first JobFest in 2015 had 40 businesses looking to hire young people, and resulted in 120 young people being employed. The second, in the same year, boasted more than 60 employers and resulted in 150 young people being employed.
In May 2016 JobFest sustained employer numbers and had greater depth of employer engagement. This included employers increasing staff numbers, take-home resources and on-the-day interviews. Although the employment results for the 2016 event are not yet available, the event was attended by more than 2000 young people. This is the largest turnout for JobFest so far.
The economic impact of these events is significant. As a result of the two JobFests in 2015, 270 youth were employed either full-time or part-time. Economic modelling estimates that the average salary for these young people is $20,800 and that the GDP effect of these jobs is $10.3 million.
Critical success factors
A range of factors contribute to the success of JobFest. Wherever possible, the ATEED and Auckland Council team look for opportunities to collaborate with other businesses and organisations to deliver JobFest. The Ministry of Social Development, CareersNZ and NZME have sponsored the event, subsidising advertising and venue costs. Auckland Transport provided free public transport to JobFest, allowing young people from across Auckland to attend. This collaboration keeps costs low for companies to have stalls, and keeps JobFest free and accessible for young people.
Staff have worked hard to build relationships with businesses to recruit them to participate in JobFest and the broader Youth Connections programme. They support businesses to get the most out of their JobFest experience. Businesses are getting good recruitment results from JobFest which keeps them returning to events.
Jobfest keeps growing and developing because of on-going reflection and evaluation. Employer feedback is sought through a number of surveys before, during and after the event. Young people are surveyed on the day to collect insights about their experiences of JobFest and their employment aspirations. These survey results inform the on-going development of JobFest and feed into the creation of new tools and initiatives to support youth employment.