Moving beyond diversity: Spotlight on youth employment

by Rob Perry (Manager – Thriving People)

Youth employment was the focus of SBC’s latest ‘Moving Beyond Diversity’ hui hosted by Downer and SkyCity.

It was incredibly inspiring to hear Megan McNay (National Corporate Social Responsibility Manager) speak about how Downer has built a specialist team which has developed a portfolio over time of 22 training and upskilling programmes. Even more inspiring is the sheer scale of impact their mahi is achieving by providing permanent employment and career development pathways for thousands of young people within the construction industry.  

The inspiration continued when we heard about Claire Walker (Chief People and Culture Officer) and Raewynne Jacobs (Community Trust Manager) talking about Project Nikau, SkyCity’s ‘pathway to employment’ project for vulnerable young Māori and Pasifika. They shared the practical steps they have taken in working with rangatahi and collaborating with government and community organisations to develop work ready skills and provide mentoring support. This programme has delivered individualised learning and development outcomes for 50 young people since its launch in 2019.

So, let me quickly share my three key takeaways that were common to both Downer and SKYCity’s approaches.

  1. Firstly, it’s critical to build strong and enduring partnerships with organisations such as Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry of Social Development and Tupu Tua in designing and delivering impactful programmes. 
  2. Secondly, it’s important to engage and build close and trusted relationships with rangatahi, communities, iwi, hapu and youth groups – not only in co-designing your programme but also ensuring programmes are meeting their needs throughout their implementation.
  3. Finally, our rangatahi need a minimum of two years of support and mentoring for a pathway to employment programme to be successful. So, providing wrapround support to help them get ready for work, to enter and stay in work, and advancing their careers really is mission critical in ensuring they succeed.

As we recently celebrated Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, Anthony Thompson (SkyCity) reminded us of the significance of te reo when he shared the whakataukī, “Ko te reo Māori te matapihi ki te ao Māori”, which in English translates to, “The Māori language is the window to the Māori worldview”. While the literal translation of rangatahi is ‘youth’, it important to be clear in defining what it encapsulates, as from a Te Ao Māori perspective this might differ.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koe.

Get involved – Join our Moving Beyond Diversity Kōrero 

Our Moving Beyond Diversity hui series was established following the completion of SBC’s collaboration, where participants wanted the kōrero, whanaungatanga and knowledge sharing to continue. So, we now hold quarterly hui to foster connection, build a community of learning, good practice and collective problem solving, and share resources to support leadership in cultivating inclusion and belonging within their workplaces based on reciprocity. 

The Group is self-organising, with participants taking it in turns to lead, host and facilitate one quarterly hui.

“The journey towards more inclusive and equitable workplaces is an important kaupapa for us all – but it’s not always an easy journey. When we navigate uncharted and complex waters of change within our respective organisations, it can feel tough and lonely at times. These MBD hui’s create a sense of collective purpose, a safe space of kōrero that helps us feel connected to other waka on the same journey. I particularly enjoy the sharing of insights, ideas and learnings that helps moves everyone forward – to bring in the tides that will helps to lift all waka.” — Martin La’a (Spark)

So, if you are a People Leader, OD/HR lead, or champion cultivating inclusion and belonging within your organisation and would like to join our kōrero or host our next hui, please get in touch with me at [email protected]

29 Sep, 2022

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