Thursday 14th September


8:30am TOWN HALL

Mihi Whakatau and Whākawhānaungatanga

Please meet outside the Town Hall to be welcomed into our symposium. Women, please go in the front, once gathered in the foyer, men move forward and women move to the back. The Mihi Whākatau will be followed with kai.

9:10am TOWN HALL
Prof. Jarrod Haar, Management and Māori, Massey Universtity

What is good youth employment?

This presentation will explore the work experiences of youth and highlight the challenges younger workers face in Aotearoa workplaces. It will also provide understanding of these challenges and provide potential strategies to maximise the good and minimise the bad.

10:30am TOWN HALL

Chris Bishop, MP, National Party, Jan Logie, MP, Green Party, Benjamin Wylie-van Eerd, Opportunities Party, Tākuta Ferris, Te Pāti Māori

Political Panel

MPs Chris Bishop and Jan Logie, alongside policitcal candidates Benjamin Wyle-van Eerd, Opportunities Party, and Tākuta Ferris, Te Pāti Māori, share their party vision for the future of Good Youth Employment, followed by Q&A from the floor.


11:20am TOWN HALL
Tanya Pouwhare, CEO, New Zealand Ethical Employers

Fair, Ethical & Legal Employment of Young People

In this session, we explore the need for equitable and ethical employment practices for young individuals, to safeguard their rights and well-being, fostering a just and productive future. Fair employment is not just a lofty ideal, it’s a necessity.

Jerome Tairi, Co-Founder & Lead Trainer, South Auckland Youth Entrepreneurs

Uncharted Pathways: Redefining Success

This session will delve into the profound shifts observed in youth behavior and motivation amidst the recent societal challenges. Drawing from extensive engagement with rangatahi, we’ve identified three distinct groups, each navigating their own unique pathways in search of success. We’ll explore these insights, offering a fresh perspective on how to redefine success in today’s context. Furthermore, we’ll bridge the gap between these observations and their invaluable implications for employers. Through interactive segments, attendees will also reflect upon and share their own experiences, forging a deeper understanding of our youth’s evolving journeys.

11:20am MEETING ROOM 2
Sam Jackman, Manager, The Wairoa Star / Chair, Wairoa Business Association

The responsibility of local Business Associations to support youth employment

Local business associations play a crucial role in supporting youth employment by fostering an environment that encourages collaboration, skill development, and job opportunities for young individuals. As key employees within a local community, business associations have a responsibility to contribute to youth employment by advocating for supportive policies, offering skill development programs, facilitating networking and mentorship, aiding in job placement, and collaborating with educational institutions. By fulfilling these responsibilities, business associations can play a vital role in reducing youth unemployment and fostering a skilled and motivated workforce for the future.


1:30pm TOWN HALL
Patrick McKibbin, CEO, Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce

A stepped approach to building cross-sector youth employment partnerships

Talent, or lack of it, continues to be an issue for employers working in the two main industries in the Hutt Valley, Manufacturing / Engineering and Construction and Infrastructure. In their role as the Education to Employment broker in the Hutt Valley, the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce has been working between employers and schools to support rangatahi to discover, explore, connect to and experience their possible futures of work. In this session Patrick will explore what evidence there is to support this industry focused approach, how these partnerships are benefiting employers and rangatahi, and some of the community benefits might be.


Joanna Hall, Senior Policy Advisor, EMA

Insights from the EMA’s 2023 Skills Shortage Survey: What are Employers looking for with Skills, Training and Youth Engagement?

The EMA’s 2023 Skills Shortage survey had over 500 responses from NZ businesses and highlighted some thought-provoking insights around current and future skills needs, skill development and youth engagement. Joanna will present the findings and dig into some questions around what these insights mean for the future of work.


Jono Craig, MTFJ Coordinator, Central Hawkes Bay Council, and Michael Stevens, Relationship Manager, Be. Lab

Untapped Talent: How employing young people with disabilities can benefit your business

In this session we will share stories of the successful inclusion of people with disabilities in real businesses and the benefits, while outlining supports and services available to facilitate this. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to tap into a wellspring of talent that can propel your business to new heights. Join us for “Untapped Talent” and embark on a journey towards a more dynamic, inclusive, and successful future for your organisation.

2:15pm BREAK

2:30pm TOWN HALL
Kauri Tearaura, Senior Advisor Inclusion & Diversity, Department of Corrections, and Charlotte Mitchell, Project Activator Assistant, Seed Waikato

Chance-making: the imperative to pave multiple-chance pathways to meaningful employment

Join Charlotte and Kauri in an engaging story-telling session as they explore the importance of moving away from a one-career mindset. Discover how young individuals can navigate the rapidly changing technological landscape while coping with the excitement and anxiety of endless possibilities. Gain insights into finding purpose amidst multiple pathways and the support needed to understand the meaningfulness of one’s job.


Hilary Karaitiana, Manager, and Joel Bradley, Youth Coach, Number 12

Activating communities to awhi youth employability and employment

It takes a village to raise a child. Same goes to support rāngatahi transition from school to work. Hilary and Joel will talk about what’s needed to get a whole community behind the goal of every rāngatahi getting the opportunities to get a decent job. Here in Te Kuiti, we are isolated, so we need to work together to make things happen. When people can understand how their work connects to others and adds value, it motivates them to be more open in sharing info and resources. Its work in progress, but we are staring to see new collaborations and partnerships and a growing sense of camaraderie and connectedness. From these collaborations we have been able to create new programmes and services which are starting to make a difference for our young people. 

Abe Gorrie-Naus and Tim Cooke, Potentia

Examining recruitment of underrepresented youth and retention strategies

In this session, employment experts Abe Gorrie-Naus and Tim Cooke will facilitate a discussion on recruiting underrepresented youth. They will analyze effective practices, to pinpoint areas of success, and identify retention improvement opportunities.

3:30pm TOWN HALL
Gala Baumfield, Youth Advocate – Creator

Youth Panel

Gala leads a panel of uniquely diverse rāngatahi, all with a mutual love for creative endeavours. They will discuss some of the big issues facing rāngatahi entering our workforce and how they are learning to navigate around the many demands and desires in their daily lives, to make work, work. They will speak to the impacts of being young in a world beset by crises which have put the liveability of the planet at risk and eroded pathways, for them, to healthy, fulfilled lives. They will also speak to their concerns and anger about the escalation of global social discord, climate change, the widening generational wealth gap, and the youth debt burden.

4:00pm TOWN HALL

Mix and mingle

Join us for a mix and mingle with colleagues – cash bar & complimentary nibbles.

6:00pm CLOSE

Friday 15 September

9:00am TOWN HALL

Welcome back

9:15am TOWN HALL

Special Guest

Political speaker

Coming soon …

Dr Louise Cowpertwait, Mind Matters

Supporting rangatahi mental health in today’s workplace

Mental health and wellbeing is a bigger topic than ever these days. With pandemic fatigue, severe weather events, and a cost of living crisis… the messaging out there paints a grim picture: Workers are tired and wired. In this session, clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist Dr Louise Cowpertwait (she/her) instead takes a strength-based approach. Putting a spotlight on the mental health of young workers today, Louise will cover what we know about the challenges and opportunities. Louise will take us on a journey through the features of a mentally healthy workplace, imparting practical tips along the way. With nearly two decades of hands-on experience in the sector, Louise has seen first-hand how the current work climate can act to uplift or erode the wellbeing of young workers and aims to impart some of these learnings in this session. Whatever your role and whatever the times bring, you can play a part in creating a healthier, happier workplace.

Lloyd Martin, Educator, New Seasons

Trauma aware: a brief guide for employers and educators

You’ve decided to take on a young person who has had a rough start in life. This session will explore how to create a supportive work environment that will also help them learn and meet the demands of their new role.


Kath Harrision, Senior Advisor, VOYCE and Albany Lockie, Artist/Advocate

The role of employers and communities in care leavers’ transition to in(ter)dependence

This session will be presented and facilitated from a place of lived experience of the care and protection system. It will draw on research with 23 rangatahi about their experiences of transitioning from care to independence. Attendees will be challenged to think about their role in supporting care leavers within their workplaces and communities. They will be invited to consider what they are currently doing and what they could do better to empower care-experienced rangatahi, to ensure they feel well-supported, have equitable access to opportunities, and can thrive and make meaningful contributions.


11:00am TOWN HALL
Joseph Tyro, Principal Advisor Workforce, Te Aka Whai Ora Māori Health Authority

Whakarangatirahia: be the best you can be

This session will introduce Pae Ora, the future health strategy for all New Zealanders. The strategy’s aim is to make our health system more equitable, accessible, cohesive and people centred. A central part is the Pae Tū: Hauora Māori Strategy which ensures the reformed health system upholds Te Tiriti o Waitangi and enhances long-term health outcomes for Whānau Māori. The area Joseph will be focus this korero on is how we will grow the Māori health workforce and sector to match community needs, and my role in supporting this kaupapa.

11:00am MEETING ROOM 1

Baruk Jacob, Design Lead, Whānau Tahi

Turning intentions into change

Good intentions are…good, however they are often not enough. How do you turn intention into change? This hands-on workshop will help you make sense of shifting systems within your own organisational/industry context. How do you help your organisation/industry become more open to employing young people? What is getting in the way of this happening? What can YOU do to shift the conditions that are holding the problem in place? Using the six Conditions of Systems Change as a model, Baruk will help you interrogate your specific situation in a safe, engaging, peer-led conversation. You can expect to get insights into your organisation and industry, and get started on steps you can take to initiate change.

11:00am MEETING ROOM 2
Joe Wilson, Lead Social Innovator, Waikato Well-being Project and Michelle Lye, Manager, Youth Services, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

Speaking the same language

This workshop is a story of community innovation and collaboration through the sharing of different perspectives. It is a snapshot that captures the forming of a Waikato based, community led business and youth sector partnership as it happened. Rather than describing it, a video showcases the actual process and will allow ideas, questions, and challenges to arise that could see its next development. Placing the voice and experience of the employers and youth sector workers in the same room will allow us to observe and reflect on the process and the kōrero held between the two groups. The goal is for us all to take insights, share back with the group, and potnetially further develop the next steps collectively with the experience and wisdom held in the room.

11:45am BREAK

12:00pm Town Hall

Salā Henry Samia, General Manager, Partners Porirua

Engaging young Pasifika talent in the youth sector

Henry and team members from Partners Porirua will lead an interactive workshop based on their ROADMAP model. The workshop focuses on how they support their Pasifika rangatahi enter the workforce with strong personal and professional values and skills. The workshop will also facilitate discussion on how employers could get the best from their Pasifika young employees. For example, Improving engagement and retention by demonstrating a greater awareness to their cultural, church, and family commitments, alongside work.

12:00pm Meeting Room 1
Joe Dodd, Owner/Manager, New World Kaikohe

Shape-shifting: creating workforces for our future

Come with us on a journey and discover a Far North taonga (gift), an Employer hidden in the hub of the north that nurtures our rangatahi to believe in employment, to believe in hope and to believe in themselves.

12:00pm MEETING ROOM 2
Tony Henderson-Newport, Chief Kiwi, Rebel Business School

Bringing the hustle to Rangatahi – Self Employment Pathways

Business education for today’s rangatahi equips them with diverse skill sets and knowledge. Having an ‘edge’ in an increasingly complex world will help them to naviagte their future employment pathways. Self-employment is a valid and viable pathway. This session will consider how an understanding of the fundamentals of business, including finance, marketing, management, and entrepreneurship, provides rangatahi with a solid foundation for future success. Not only will we hear the voice of rangatahi during the session, the workshop will touch on the entrepreneurial spirit and ethical behavour as we prepare rangatahi to become informed, responsible, and capable leaders through a touchpoint called business.


1:35pm TOWN HALL

Karen Chhour, MP ACT Party

Political speaker

MP Karen Chhor, ACT Party, shares her party’s vision for the future of Good Youth Employment, followed by Q&A from the floor.

1:45pm TOWN HALL
Jessica Te Moananui, Manager, and Taylor-Rose Salanoa, Kaitiaki, Talent Rise

Sending the elevator back down

Jessica’s presentation uses the metaphor of ‘sending the elevator back down’. It is a way of expressing the idea of supporting others less privileged or experienced than you are, especially after achieving your own success. It also suggests you should never forget your own origins, or the people who helped you, and implies a giving-back responsibility to share opportunities, resources, and knowledge to help rāngatahi in their transitions to work. Jessica will provide some insight on the mahi of Talent RISE, including talking about why they focus on rāngatahi from underserved communities, and the social impact they are making. Finally, he will introduce MoE’s Kotahitanga framework as a self-regulatory tool.


Dan Russsell, Schools Success Lead, MyMahi

Employment as Career Development: pathway purpose and ownership

We often think of employment as the end goal of career development – the outcome of exploration, research and growing skills, while the groundwork in careers education in schools often lacks real context of the workplace. In this session we will pair some careers education-based thinking with the purpose of youth employment, and look at how the MyMahi tool can support ownership of the employment process for young people.

Fati Tagoai, Design Lean, Whānau Tahi

Internship Framework – guide to employing youth interns

The Ministry of Social Development partners with iwi/Maori, community & education providers to deliver Youth Service. Youth Service works with young people who are on Youth Payment (YP, Young Parent Payment (YPP) and not in education, employment or training (NEET). In 2021, an initiative was established to employ Youth Service clients to being a part of the Ministry as ‘Youth Interns’. Over the next 10-12 months, the ministry and appropriate partners worked with the young interns to develop work ethics, employment skills and work readiness – the aim was to place them into sustainable employment at the end of their tenure. This session focusses on the learnings of the internship project, and the development of the Youth Internship Framework.

2:30pm BREAK

2:45pm TOWN HALL
Krishan Kumar, Community Development Partner, Outward Bound

Growing Soft Skills for Employment Through Outdoor Education

Do you know what soft skills are? Tertiary Education Commission data reports that 60,000 students will leave school annually in Aotearoa each year, 29% will enter the work force and 8% will become NEET. That is just above 22,000 students transitioning straight into employment or not engaged in employment, education and training. More than 80% of rangatahi surveyed by Outward Bound responded with “no” when asked if they knew what soft skills were. Outward Bound is developing partnerships with communities and employers to bridge the gap for rangatahi transitioning from school into the next chapter of their lives by strengthening their understanding of soft skills in employment and at home. Come and learn about the Whakatipu Programme and the impact it can make on the future workforce of Aotearoa.


Tammie Metcalfe, National Programme Advisor, Mayors Taskforce for Jobs

It’s not just about employment: every interaction matters

Tammie Metcalfe shares her experience on how to build strong and lasting relationships with young people. Every time we interact with young people, through our words, body language, tone and facial expressions; this builds a sense and who ‘gets them’ and if they are willing to trust you enough to move forward. Nurturing this delicate balance between adolescence and adulthood means working with a foot in each reality, this can look like DMing at 10pm at night, or explaining things we take for granted they will know. Tammie will share her experience of working with a young man, with a young family. The challenges her and him faced together, showcasing the high highs and the low lows.

Shannon Seiuli, Senior Youth Advisor and Gemma, Youth Advisor, Youth Inspire

Rangatahi mai ki te Rangatira – Our Youth, Our Future

This session will discuss getting good jobs for rāngatahi who may have left school early and have some life challenges to navigate. Youth Inspire is a values-based organisation committed to principles of equity, inclusion, kindness and making a difference. Shannon and Gemma will share the culture and values, and why these are important to the work they do. The session will dip into the programmes and share the strengths, wins and challenges.  To conclude, they will share their learnings about what good youth employment looks like for the rāngatahi they work with. In essence, it is finding the right balance for individual rāngatahi between meaningful-fair work, an accessible and safe work culture, a supportive employer and a job with opportunities to continue growing. This is never easy, but always incredibly satisfying when the near-perfect match is found.

3:45pm TOWN HALL

The future of YEA with the Stewardship Group

4:00pm CLOSE


Register Today!

This is a unique opportunity for everyone with a vested interest in this sector to come together to share experiences and learn from one another.