Home Community Services Working with Business Community Whau Badge – Youth Connections

Whau Badge – Youth Connections

Early adopters of the Youth Connections programme showing a commitment to youth employment are: Lyn Holland, C-Tech; Jo Pilkington, First Scene; Raymond Dobbe, World Moving and Storage; Carl Cheater, Methven; Darrin Hewitt, Spark Waitakere; and Jason Ennor, MyHR with RBA CEO Mike Gibson and Youth Connections Facilitator, Tracy Watts.

The Badge is back

Back in November 2015, Youth Connections and the Rosebank Business Association teamed up to deliver the Whau Badge.

This pilot project was funded by the Whau Local Board and the Tindall Foundation that provided short workshops for local businesses and young people after which completion they were awarded the Whau Badge.

Darrin Hewitt from Spark and Michael Hawkins from Blum were two local employers who got involved in the pilot project. Darrin was involved from the very outset of the project – contributing to its design to ensure it was meeting the needs of local businesses; as well supporting the workshop training delivered to groups of young people and giving them the chance to test out their newly learned skills in mock interviews. Spark went on to employ one of the young people, Badge holder Alison Bourne, “We interviewed three young women who had been through the course. With Alison, I saw everything we’d taught her was coming straight back at my face. She has proven she listened and learned a lot. Taking Alison on has been beneficial to the business,” said Darrin.

All businesses – large and small – can be part of this project.

“You don’t have to have a vacancy for a young person to make a difference – your time, knowledge and experience can make a huge difference to the outcomes of young people in the labour market,” says Tracy Watts Project, Co-ordinator.  Spark, along with Methven, C-Tech, World Moving and Storage, First Scene and Odyssey, provided their time and expertise to give young people a taste of the real world of work. In the workshops, delivered by Youth Service West, the young people were supported to identify their own strengths and skills and then talk about them confidently to an employer in a series of mock interviews. Darrin from Spark commented, “I believe the Whau Badge has immense value. Our goal was to give them an edge. We taught them they just need to translate the things they’ve done to fit an employment perspective.”

International research has shown that young people who have had four or more contacts with employers at school are five times LESS likely to become unemployed. Tracy went on to say, “Mock interviews with real employers give the young people the practical experience they so need and help build their confidence in readiness for the real thing, and the fact that these young people can interact directly with local employers and talk to them about what employers are really looking for gives them a real ‘leg up’ in the labour market.”

The Badge also runs FREE 2 hour workshops for local businesses on the Effective Hiring of Young People covering everything from job adverts to interviews as well as induction and onboarding.  The workshop has been developed by local HR expert Jason Ennor from MyHR.

“Hiring young people who have never held a job before can be a challenge. Most employers rely on asking questions about previous jobs to look for transferable skills, then speak to referees from a list of past employers to get an idea about the candidate’s qualities. But if the job candidate is coming straight from school they don’t have this history to call on,” said Jason.  So, as an employer, how do you find out if somebody has these base level skills and (more importantly) the right attitude for your job?  How do you conduct quality job interviews and knowledge based reference checks when somebody hasn’t worked before? The Badge can help. Jason explained, “The employer workshops are designed to give employers practical skills and tools to help with the efficient hiring of young people. We will provide resources and templates to take away. At the end of the workshop, we expect the employer to be able to hire young people effectively, then induct them into the workforce.” Following the workshop, local businesses can get support with the hiring process including fit-for-purpose employment agreements and support during the first 90 days of their employment.

This is a call to action to all local businesses – if you’re thinking of hiring a young person or feel you can support local young people to become ‘employer ready’ –  contact Tracy Watts: [email protected] or call 021 243 4701


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