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Youth Employment Needs To Be A Top Priority, Says Major Eeo Project

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A youth-to-work plan for every individual young New Zealander to improve their employment prospects and choices is one of the major recommendations in the National Conversation about Work report undertaken by the Human Rights Commission.

The two-year project, led by Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Judy McGregor, represents the views of over 3000 employers and employees working in a wide variety of industry sectors in the 16 regions of New Zealand.

"The high unemployment of young Māori and Pacific people and the current bias against hiring some young people are issues we all need to be concerned about," says Dr McGregor.

"Currently, we are failing too many young people who are not well prepared for their first job. The National Conversation about Work showed there was a need for every young person, not just some, to have access to quality school-based careers advice, the ability to access apprenticeships or other launch pads in their regions. There were great examples of innovation for youth employment in the regions but these are not universally available and funding is often precarious."

The National Conversation about Work identifies a number of priorities to make New Zealand workplaces fairer for everyone:

Youth to work

Develop a national youth-to-work strategy for every young person in New Zealand that has cross party political support and long term funding.

Disabled people Increase the labour market participation of people with disabilities through active employment policies addressing attitudes, access to work and reasonable accommodation.

Migrant workers Develop codes of practice in partnership with industry groups, in particularly dairying and viticulture, to ensure fairness to migrants and to guide employers on best practice.

Looking after the children Ensure children have access to quality, affordable early childhood education in all areas of New Zealand, including active government policies to ensure coverage in provincial and rural communities.

Pay and employment equity Implement pay and employment equity strategies already developed by the Department of Labour across the labour market, and reform and extend the Equal Pay Act to include equal pay for work of equal value.

Older workers Urgently adopt a national programmatic approach managing ageing workforce issues, including models of labour market participation for older workers and transition strategies for different industry sectors.

Adequate standard of living Progressively increase the level of both the minimum wage and benefit levels to ensure universal entitlement to an adequate standard of living.

EEO across all sectors Review existing equal employment opportunities legislation across the public and private sectors, including amending the Employment Relations Act 2000 to include a positive duty to be a good employer.

To progress EEO across both public and private sectors, the Human Rights Commission will offer advice and guidance to business agencies working with small and medium enterprises.

Information about employment trends also need to be disaggregated within regions so diverse cities and towns within a region have a better picture of the job market. + Dr Judy McGregor is the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission. + Go to www.neon.org.nz or www.hrc.co.nz for more information on the National Conversation about Work, regional reports and the summary report.

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