YEP, training our youth is an economic imperative

YEP, training our youth is an economic imperative

Auckland, March 13, 2020

Image from Comet Auckland website

An Auckland based organisation is advocating training young people as an economic imperative with a major role for businesses.

Youth Employability Programme (YEP) helps 14-24 year-olds to gain the insight, confidence and skills to get work, keep work and create careers. 

An initiative of COMET Auckland- Te Hononga Akoranga, YEP is supported by Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA).

The Programme Auckland Regional Coordinator Alysha Bentley said that with the ageing population and the increase of advanced technologies implemented in all sectors, the role of employers in training youngsters cannot be over-emphasised.

Persistent attitude gap

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,” she said.

The Programme 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. It also enables young people to gain experience in the ‘real world’ so that they understand their responsibilities as an employee and employer’s expectations.

Ms Bentley said that 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. They may not have thought of such opportunities,” she said.

According to the latest EMA Employers Survey, many businesses expressed concerns with the level of work readiness skills among school leavers.

Developing skills

Often, the young person lacked communication, teamwork, positive attitude, thinking skills, resilience and self-management skills.

YEP supports young people to develop these skills, so that they enter or return to the workforce with the ‘Licence to Work’ certificate.

EMA Chief Executive Brett O’Riley said that 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 said.

Youth Employability Programme Facilitators (Image from Comet Auckland website)

Ms Bentley said that 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,” she said.

YEP is currently seeking businesses in the south and west Auckland area. To express your interest contact,;

For more information, please visit Youth Employability.

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