Good Practices

Youth 2 Work Wairarapa

Youth 2 Work Wairarapa (Y2WW) work collaboratively with rangatahi, employers, whānau and educators to ensure ALL young people aged 16-24 years in the Wairarapa have the opportunity to have successful pathways into education, training or employment.

Y2WW evolved from the YETE programme (Youth Education, Training and Employment) which was launched in 2013

Y2WW Project Manager Maria McKenzie and Y2WW Employee Facilitator Kylie Brady work together. They have recently employed two part-time supporters due to the growing demand.

Maria says they receive referrals from a variety of different sources, such as schools, career advisors, the Ministry of Social Development, Social Services, Family Start and Connecting Communities, but a lot of the referrals come from word of mouth because it’s a small community. “If you’ve done a good job with one, they will tell another person. The other thing that’s important is it’s the parents, it’s the teachers, it’s the adults, the support people around those young people that tend to be the doorway or the portal in which we connect with those young people.”

Y2WW take a “very personal approach” when connecting with the young person. “We don’t have a referral form or a wait time, a cost. We try and make the door as friendly as possible. We will go to them, I meet in cafes, houses, side of the road, anywhere they are, we will go and we try and make it as simple as possible for them to get in the door.”

Maria McKenzie (Y2WW project manager) 

Adam Butler ( employed at Comvita in an Apiary apprenticeship)

Kylie Brady ( Y2WW Employee Facilitator)

Adam attended a secondary schools careers event in May 2021 to pay it forward and support others entering the workforce after getting support from Y2WW in November 2020.

Y2WW Fulton Hogan Business partnership

Craig Bebbington (successful Y2WW employee)

Jocko Jeremy Harp (Fulton Hogan Maintenance Divisional Manager

Maria McKenzie (Y2WW Project Manager)

Michael Chadderton. Maintenance Divisional Manager

Darren Courtnage Wellington regional manager

Dale Williams Y2WW Governance Chair

On the programme they work with each young person on their strengths and barriers, along with them participating in the Youth Employability Programme which gets them work ready. You can read more about what Y2WW offer young people here.

One key aspect of Y2WW is connecting with local businesses so they can work collaboratively with the young people. Maria says Y2WW established a ‘Partnership Agreement’ with employers, which businesses agree to:

  • Support and champion Youth 2 Work Wairarapa
  • Promote employment opportunities and benefits to Wairarapa youth
  • Work together in the spirit of Partnership
  • Share resources and celebrate achievement

The aim of the partnership is to work together to have all Wairarapa youth engaged in education, training and employment.

Maria says the best ways to ensure businesses know about the work of Y2WW and what they have to offer is networking, whether it be by connecting with local business groups, speaking at business summits and providing promotions in the newspaper.

Some of the businesses Y2WW works in partnership with is Fulton Hogan, the District Council, New World and Juken New Zealand.

Tips from Maria:

Engaging and supporting young people

  • Work individually with the young person, because everyone is different and unique
  • Look at their strengths. Maria says one young person was plastering for a year, but realised he actually wanted to help people, so he trained in Early Childcare Education.
  • Create real-life experiences such as mock interviews, asking employers questions about the workplace or asking for a workplace trial.

Engaging and supporting with employers

  • Create partnerships with businesses and also support their short and long-term goals.
  • Prove your worth. If you have success with one organisation, then there will be a positive word of mouth happening.
  • Ensure you keep supporting and offering advice to your young person while they are employed. The employer and young person will appreciate this.

“Young people are the solution to all of our problems. They’re not the problem. I’m passionate about seeing young people as positive. They will be solving the climate change problem and coming up with innovative ways of running businesses etc. They are very different to any other generation that we have ever had. It’s actually up to the older generation to utilise that resource,” says Maria.

Written by Rebecca Toms.