Youth unemployment is a significant problem in Auckland: in the year to 31 March 2017 some 27,200 young Aucklanders were not in education, employment or training. Life can be difficult for these young people. Often they lack confidence and self-esteem, feel economically and socially isolated, and worry about their future.
Youth Connections (YC) is addressing this issue by securing employment for young people and working with employers to make jobs available. Originating from workshops that The Tindall Foundation (TTF) convened to confront youth unemployment, YC has helped over 14,000 Auckland young people to become job-ready and almost 1300 to find jobs in the past five years.
The team at YC, which is run by Auckland Council in partnership with ATEED, has developed employment initiatives such as YouthFull, JobFest, Young at Heart Awards and the Youth Employer Pledge. We are proud to work alongside this talented team.
In 2009 our Founder, Stephen Tindall, challenged Auckland local board leaders to take action on youth unemployment. TTF convened a workshop of leaders in the youth, community and employment fields to help us identify the issues and find solutions. After lengthy consultation and planning, Youth Connections was born as a long-term social change initiative to connect Auckland’s young people with employment, education and training opportunities.
Stephen Tindall has remained closely engaged with the project. He reflects, “By bringing business leaders and employers on board, YC is helping to change the youth employment landscape in Auckland. The team should be proud of what they have done to get young people into work. Thanks to YC they have purpose and hope for the future.”
Katherine Murphy, Programme Director, tells us that The Tindall Foundation’s role as connector, influencer, profile raiser and advisor has helped YC get to where they are today:
Using its influence as a catalyst to bring partners together, the Foundation introduced us to potential employers. Stephen has hosted countless business events across Auckland, attracting people who have the power to make a difference.
Stephen opened the first Auckland JobFest in Manukau in 2015. An overnight success with young people, it has become the flagship youth employment event in New Zealand, providing a direct connection between youth and employers.
It now takes place twice a year, and recent events have had an average of 2000 youth and 70 businesses attend. There were 1238 job opportunities available at the most recent JobFest in May 2017, with over 130 young people landing jobs directly from the day.
Using its connections across social, economic and political communities, the Foundation has helped us access key decision-makers, international experts and government departments. Once the door was open, we have had the chance to discuss our programmes and ideas for creating systems change.
Foundation staff and Trustees have challenged us to be strategic, practical and sustainable in our decision-making. They helped us secure additional funders, supporting our applications and encouraging a collaborative funder approach. We were delighted that The Hugh Green Foundation and Auckland Airport Community Trust came on board as funding partners.
Today Stephen regularly presents at our Employer Pledge events and personally challenges businesses to commit to employing and training young Aucklanders. Seventy employers have signed the pledge. We regularly quote Stephen in our media activity to help raise the profile of youth employment issues, and the Foundation assists to promote and share our good new stories.
The high level of trust from the Foundation has allowed us to test innovative approaches, providing considerable learning and insight. This has helped us achieve success and impact and evolve our initiative to where it is today.