A new youth employment pop-up opened in the Hastings city centre today, aimed at giving easy access to support for young people seeking employment, education or training. Minister for Youth Peeni Henare and Minister for Employment Willie Jackson attended the opening of the colourful new space located in the CBD Mall on Heretaunga St, West. Mr Jackson said Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst approached the government about the needs of young people in Hastings and put forward a very passionate case for how Central Government could work with local government and other agencies to help the district’s young people. “We love to tautoko kaupapa like this that shows a total commitment to the community. “It can be a challenge working out how to activate some of these young ones especially when they’ve had a dad or koro who was not working. “It requires pastoral care and aroha – all of our rangatahi deserve a bit more support.” Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was exciting to see the pop-up turned from an idea into a reality that would be another tool to help young people get on the journey towards employment, education or training. “This is an amazing project with a lot of parties coming together. While our NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training) rate has fallen from 17 per cent to 11 per cent there are still a lot of our young people who need support whether it be with a CV, extra education or being connected to opportunities.” Mrs Hazlehurst expressed her gratitude to those businesses that provided opportunities to district’s young people. The Hastings District Council’s youth employment team came up with idea of a pop-up in an effort to bring the youth employment service out of the council buildings and make it more accessible and user-friendly for our young people out in the community. The venue will be a shared space for council’s partners and agencies involved in youth employment to work with rangatahi to provide the appropriate support to help them find employment, training or education opportunities. Assistance provided could be anything from help to sign up for a course to support towards gaining a driver’s licence, getting prepared for a job interview and more. One of the council’s partners who will be making use of the space is PurSuit, the brain child of Moira McGarva-Ratapu, offering job seekers support to be dressed and ready for job interviews. Launched in 2017, PurSuit is committed to three main services – dressing and styling, employment preparation and confidence building. Within 23 months of operating PurSuit had seen 320 clients, and had many successes in helping people into employment. McGarva-Ratapu says the pop-up will enable more youth in Hastings to be more prepared to apply for jobs and attend job interviews with confidence through dressing and styling advice from PurSuit. Council youth employment staff will be onsite every week day between 10am and 4pm to assist young people into employment and refer them to other agencies if need be.