Rangatahi – Ensuring sustainable & equitable education & employment outcomes for youth

Tāmaki Makaurau has a far more youthful population than the rest of the country, with almost 70% of its population falling in the 15-64 age group.

Supporting young people to find work and discover career pathways is crucial for the region's recovery from the pandemic and the long-term prosperity of Tāmaki Makaurau's people, businesses, communities, and economy. With a growing youth population, hiring, training and developing young people helps future-proof businesses and industry productivity across the region.

Regional Economic Profile | Auckland(external link) — Infometrics

COVID-19 and Auckland's Youth Workforce [PDF, 2.88 MB](external link) — Knowledge Auckland

However, with 14.1% of young people (15-24 years) not in employment, education or training, it is important to support initiatives that create career opportunities and brighter futures for the region's youth. The labour market is currently failing to do this.

Regional Economic Profile | Auckland(external link) — Infometrics

The Attitude Gap Challenge Report for Auckland, commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), used a co-design approach to better understand the differences between young people's and employers' expectations of work readiness. The report highlighted the impact of the significant differences for youth under-employment, such as not having ease of entry into the workforce or work stability that their parents had. The report also indicated that there is greater demand by employers for soft skills and qualifications.

Attitude Gap Challenge(external link) — Auckland Co-Design Lab

I am Auckland - Annual Report 2022 [PDF 4.8MB](external link)

Barriers to youth employment(external link) — Employment.govt.nz

While Tāmaki Makaurau has a much lower proportion of people with no qualifications compared to national figures, it has a much higher proportion of those with post-school qualifications. This highlights Tāmaki Makaurau's critical role in transforming the nation's largest labour market by improving basic skill levels, enabling its people to achieve better skills and good jobs, enhancing prosperity and equity across the workforce.

Regional Economic Profile | Auckland(external link) — Infometrics

The impact of COVID-19 on young people in Tāmaki Makaurau has been significant, and unemployment for this group has likely increased at twice the rate of older cohorts. This is partly due to young people often working without permanent contracts – for example, in Retail, Hospitality and Construction, or very early in their careers.

COVID-19 may have increased levels of disengagement and participation in education and the labour market for young people overall. In 2021, the annual youth not in employment, education, or training (NEET) rate in Tāmaki Makaurau was at its highest since 2010, with the largest annual increase being between 2020 and 2021. It is now higher than the national NEET rate.

In almost every forum the RSLG has attended there have been questions and criticism on the lack of a comprehensive, functioning careers advice service for all populations, especially rangatahi (at or following on from school), those with disabilities, and older workers. However, Tāmaki 10,000 has been endeavouring to establish a careers advice arm as part of its programme. Furthermore, RSLG is aware of the closure of the standalone Careers Service and the shifting of some of this role into the Tertiary Education Commission.

Free career advice service(external link) — Careers.govt.nz

Auckland – NEET rate

A line graph showing the rate of people not in employment, education or training or NEET in Auckland compared with New Zealand. The period is 2013 to 2021. Both lines are generally flat, staring at just under 0.15 in 2013 and ending around the same point in 2021.

Source: Infometrics

The inadequacy of the current web-based careers advice system has been raised by Māori, Pacific Peoples, rangatahi, disabled workers and secondary school teachers in discussions with them. The evidence points to face to face provision, delivered in communities with aiga, as most effective in supporting confident, thriving and resilient Pacific young people.

For Tāmaki 10,000 and other groups, careers advice goes together with pastoral care and medium-term support for rangatahi and others once they are in the workplace. For the region’s polytechnics (MIT and Unitec), careers advice is linked to improving retention and achievement gaps for Māori and Pasifika learners.

Key labour market and workforce insights

  • 11.9%, or nearly 1 in 8 rangatahi Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau aged between 15-19 are not in employment, education, or training.
  • 25.8%, or 1 in 4 rangatahi Māori aged between 20-24 are not in employment, education or training.
  • As a result of the closures of childhood education centres and schools during the lockdown, there are potential risks to rangatahi outcomes in education, especially in South Auckland, where disparities might be increasing.
  • There have also been reports of many young people from South Auckland secondary schools leaving education to enter employment during the lockdown because of the need to earn money to support whānau who may have lost their jobs. The impact of this could see some rangatahi Māori leave schools and vocational education permanently.
  • There have also been reports of increasing numbers of casual jobs, short-term contract work, and part-time work for many young people due to the impacts of COVID-19. Many of these individuals have dropped out of school to work in entry-level jobs, or jobs for a short period, negatively impacting long term educational outcomes for the region. This also leads to a loss in job quality in terms of casual work and may not facilitate advancement or development opportunities.
  • Having positive connections with employers is vital for building ambition and networks for young people.
  • The process of applying for jobs can be demotivating for young people who do not understand what employers are looking for and employers get frustrated when young people present poorly at interviews. In addition, the recruitment process is costly.
  • Employers are also increasingly looking for 'soft skills' (arising out of personal attributes) in behaviours and attitude in their employees. Rangatahi may not possess these skills when entering the job market for the first time, which is a challenge for employees and employers.

COVID-19 and Auckland's Youth Workforce [PDF, 2.88 MB](external link) — Knowledge Auckland

Coronavirus: Fears teens working to support families won’t return to school(external link) — stuff.co.nz

Rangatahi actions

  • The RSLG will advocate for secondary schools, vocational education institutions, Ministry of Education and Māori and Pacific to address the large numbers of South Auckland rangatahi leaving school without qualifications during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Regional Public Sector Commissioner (RPSC) has invited the RSLG to participate in a regional/youth return to education initiative.
  • The RSLG supports secondary schools to prototype initiatives that encourage young people across Tāmaki Makaurau to stay and complete secondary school before moving into high-quality tertiary education, employment or enterprise. (Economic Development Action Plan 3.1.4).
  • The RSLG promotes enhancing careers delivery pathways beginning at school. It also acknowledges the region’s people are on a career continuum and face-to-face post-school learning is vital with a focus on regionally led solutions and career job support and pastoral support.
  • The RSLG advocates for strengthened careers advice and bringing stakeholders together to design and implement a purpose-built careers advice ecosystem for Tāmaki Makaurau. This includes ‘by and for’ structures for Māori and other groups disadvantaged in the labour market.
  • The RSLG supports Māori-led delivery of support and pastoral care to rangatahi and whānau to make subject and employment pathway choices, while understanding future workforce opportunities.
  • The RSLG will review the recommendations from the Youth Employment Action Plan and will incorporate these, where appropriate, into the ongoing work of the RSLG.

Auckland Economic Development Action Plan 2021-24 [PDF 3.9MB](external link) — Auckland Council

Our Youth Employment Action Plan - Setting our young people on a strong pathway to fulfilling working lives [PDF, 725 KB]       

Addressing rangatahi education: Challenges after Covid-19. A partnership report by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Koi Tū(external link) — Informed Futures

Regional Skills Outlook(external link) — Infometrics

COVID-19 and Auckland’s Youth Workforce Research Report(external link) — Auckland Unlimited

Coronavirus: Fears teens working to support families won’t return to school(external link) — stuff.co.nz