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Source: Auckland Council

Youth Employability, an initiative of COMET Auckland, an Auckland Council controlled organisation, is advocating for more businesses to offer work experience to support the next generation of workers.

With the ageing population and the increase of advanced technologies implemented in all sectors “it’s an economic imperative that businesses play a role in upskilling our young people,” says Youth Employability Programme, Auckland Regional Coordinator, Alysha Bentley.

But Bentley says there is a persistent ‘attitude gap’ between employers and young people. “Many employers feel that young people lack the attitude and work ethic they need to be successful on work placement, let alone as employees. So, businesses are not putting their hands up.”

The Youth Employability Programme, which is for 14-24-year old’s, bridges this ‘attitude gap’ by enabling employers to see the value young people bring to the workplace, including “fresh perspectives, new and innovative ideas, and digital skills, among other things. The programme also enables young people to gain experience in the ‘real world’ so they understand their responsibilities as an employee and employer’s expectations,” says Bentley.

Trades, hospitality, retail, IT and logistics are among the main areas of interest for young people on the programme, “but getting employers from a wide range of careers to engage with our young people opens up more opportunities for them. Opportunities they may never have thought of,” says Bentley.

According to the latest EMA Employers Survey many businesses expressed concerns with the level of work readiness skills among school leavers. Often the young person lacked communication, teamwork, positive attitude, thinking skills, resilience and self-management skills. The Youth Employability Programme supports young people to develop these skills, so they enter or return to the workforce with the ‘Licence to Work’ certificate.

Brett O’Riley, EMA Chief Executive, says young people need to be shown how to successfully navigate the journey from school to work. “The Youth Employability Programme gives employers the opportunity to help youth prepare for work by offering 80 hours of work experience,” he says.

Bentley says each year they get a fresh group of young people on the programme who are looking for further training or employment. “Now is the best time to let us know that you are interested in offering work experience.”

The Youth Employability Programme is currently seeking businesses in the south and west Auckland area. To express your interest contact,

For more information visit the Youth Employability website.

Youth Employability is an initiative of COMET Auckland – Te Hononga Akoranga and supported by Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA).