Taupo Proposal for Work Experience for Young People

» 19/08/2011, Posted by Site Admin

Source: 'Grassroots help for jobless youth', NZ Herald, 19 August 2011

A scheme being floated for the tourist town of Taupo is being touted as a model for tackling youth unemployment at a local level.

Auckland-based youth motivator Yvonne Godfrey, a 'buddy' for three Taupo teenagers who have just completed her two-week motivational course, has called a public meeting next week to bring local employers and community groups together on the issue.

She says Taupo is small enough to provide three hours of work experience every day for every unemployed young person.

'There are 1000 businesses in Taupo and 200 unemployed youth,' she said.
'This gives the business 15 hours a week unpaid, and someone in that business pays particular attention to that young person and teaches them some skills. It will give them a richer CV and, if that young person is any good, they will get absorbed into that business or networked into another business. The main thing is it gives them some structure in their day.'

Jordana Thomas, a Taupo 18-year-old who completed Mrs Godfrey's 'Making It On My Own' course last month, said the course was 'an amazing opportunity' and she hoped other young people would pick up the work experience idea. 'It gave me the motivation to pursue my goals and leadership skills, especially money handling,' she said.

She has had some 'tough experiences' in her life, growing up in the forestry town of Murupara until she was 16. She is now back doing work experience on a farm near Murupara as part of an agriculture course at the Waiariki Institute of Technology.

Work and Income recorded 210 people on the unemployment benefit in the Taupo district, including 37 aged 18 to 24, in June. A further 198 people aged 18 to 24 were on the domestic purposes benefit and 127 were on other benefits.

But Jodi Manuel of Taupo's Apopo Trust, founded recently to work with at-risk youth, said there were more teenagers who dropped out of school but were too young for benefits.

'We have a huge number of young people in Taupo that are out of school and out of any form of education and go on to survive the only way they can with the skills they have learned in their families. That's where your drug dealing comes in,' she said.

'I'm hoping employers might say, 'Well, there's something we have that we can offer them.''

District councillor Chris Johnston, who employs 40 people in his cafe, restaurant and catering businesses, said he hoped next Wednesday's meeting would bring businesses and social agencies together. 'It's to try and get on one page all the organisations in our community that are trying to help youth.'

The meeting is at 5.30pm on August 24 at Mr Johnston's Plateau Restaurant and Bar, 64 Tuwharetoa St.

Article by Simon Collins, NZ Herald

Information about the 'Making It On My Own' (MIOMO) courses run by Yvonne Godfrey is available at: