Youth Voice – Giving youth a go!

For a school student in need of pocket money, maybe a school leaver transitioning into employment, a university student trying to cover the bills or a graduate starting off a career – searching for work can be a daunting time. 

You’ve got to learn how to write a polished cover letter, put your best foot forward in a job interview and work with a CV that shows no real experience in the working world. It’s a tough task and one that requires a community of supportive employers that are willing to open up doors of opportunity to a younger generation searching in eager anticipation for their big break into an unfamiliar world 

Firstly, for young people it’s important to remember that there has to be a starting point, and sometimes it might not be all that glamorous. I can think back to my first job working in a warehouse placing barcodes individually on ballpoint pens. My nimble fingers worked ambitiously to beat my day’s total number of pens conquered in the hope of overcoming the monotony! Fortunately, locally, there are a number of starting points for work which are a bit more riveting than my first gig. You can be the friendly checkout operator at the local supermarket, deliver pizzas, referee sports games or get exercise packing warehouse orders! 

However, on the other hand, the reality is that there aren’t so many open doors for university graduates looking to start in certain industries. This raises the point of the opportunity to grow the ‘knowledge economy’ on the Hibiscus Coast to provide more open doors for young adults wanting to still have the privilege of calling the Coast ‘home’ and work locally. We shouldn’t have to lose these Coasties to the big smoke!

Another very real challenge to consider is that for many young people finding work can be a mammoth mountain to climb. We really do need to have employers willing to give our youth a go despite lack of experience. I can think of past employers saying ‘yes’ to giving me a go despite a very brief CV. I will be forever grateful for their willingness to invest in my potential, provide mentorship and embrace a bright-eyed girl. I can think of others, whose ‘yes’ in the context of youth work, has quite literally changed the trajectory of their life.

So, while it may seem that the point of this piece is for you to remember the labour of love that went into your ballpoint pen, the real point of encouragement is for employers and managers to consider how you can invest in our local young people. Can you open a door to a youthful underdog who might need a bit of extra mentorship but will benefit enormously by having someone say “I believe in you”? Let’s make the Coast a place where young people have opportunities to thrive.