Youth employment

Why is youth employment important?

The need for skilled workers is ongoing, and training young people into employment and on-the-job training can no longer be considered as a nice-to-do, but a legitimate strategy for addressing New Zealand’s skills gap. It is important for businesses to engage with youth through schools, universities, associations, and groups to highlight the career pathways you can offer. These areas can be a great way to lift the profile of your industry and of sourcing new talent.

With COVID still impacting immigration and existing low unemployment levels, New Zealand’s persistent skills shortage will continue. Training young people (rangatahi) in the skills we know we will need tomorrow is now essential for addressing the lack of suitable applicants for roles.

Businesses planning to hire young will need a different set of skills and capabilities in terms of both conditions and management style. The EMA has prepared a checklist so you can see what you need before hiring youth.

It is free for you to access here. If this checklist shows you are not ready yet, please reach out to for assistance.

The EMA supports and advocates for:

  • Paid internships
  • Government funding to help train managers to be successful employers of young people
  • A government ‘internship’ scheme, similar to the existing apprenticeship scheme.

The EMA is also on the steering group for Youth Employability Aotearoa (YEA), an organisation that coordinates the youth providers and trainers across the country. If you are looking for youth in your area, we encourage you to check out YEA: