Contact Channel Magazine

NORTHSIDE with Mayor Len Brown

Creating Opportunities for Youth

 Over the course of my political career, and prior to it, I’ve been very lucky to work with Auckland’s young people and to be involved in initiatives that empower them to become the best they can be. Getting young Aucklanders into work is also important to me, and it’s important for the growth of Auckland, too. 

Despite signs of an improving economy, youth unemployment in Auckland is still too high. As at June this year, 23,300 young Aucklanders aged 15 -24 are not in education, employment or training, and more than half of this group are Maori and Pacific. We simply can't afford to have so many of our young people at risk of a lifetime of unemployment. 

Last month we held our second Youth Employment Summit at the amazing Zeal youth centre in Henderson. It was part of the council’s Youth Employment Traction Plan launched in April which is all about helping young Aucklanders find practical pathways to training, education and work.

The summit programme included workshops on CV writing, what to expect upon entering the workforce, how to progress entrepreneurial ideas and a panel discussion that set out to bust the myths and misconceptions associated with employing young people. Most importantly, it brought young Aucklanders together and got them excited about getting out there and having a go.  

At the first summit in April we worked with Auckland businesses and focused on what they could contribute to the youth employment solution. It was pretty clear that employers know employing young people is good business sense. 

Businesses enjoy the injection of energy, innovation and diversity, and young people enjoy a sense of achievement and belonging - being valued for what they have to offer. It’s a win-win situation.

Last month the Auckland Council launched the I Am Auckland Strategic Action Plan for Children and Young People. We’re now working with businesses to turn the seven goals into actions that will deliver real opportunities for young Aucklanders. 

There’s also our Youth Connections Programme. Over 700 young Aucklanders now have jobs thanks to the programme and its partners. 

Many young people across Auckland are well informed, aware of the issues and opportunities ahead, and committed to ensuring a sustainable future for themselves and their families. Many aren’t. 

It’s important that all of us – Aucklanders of all ages, our council, our businesses and community organisations, and our young people, too – work to make sure that young Aucklanders have choices and each one has the support they need to reach their full potential.

Without question, the future of our city is inextricably linked to young people. They are our future decision makers - our future leaders. We can’t hope to build the world’s most liveable city without them.

Mayor Len Brown 

by Len Brown