Helping the ‘silently disengaged’

Career Navigator Community

A group of “silently disengaged” young people are looking for ways to connect with the labour market, says the leader of a pilot programme designed to help them.

Rachel Rodger heads the Graeme Dingle Foundation‘s Career Navigator Community pilot programme which helps 16 to 25-year-olds to find pathways to jobs.

Rodger, who has a background in human resources and joined the foundation last year, said she was surprised to discover an “invisible layer” of youth who had lost connections with the community after leaving school.

Brad Jacob’s mum persuaded him to go along the programme, hoping it would help him find his way.

The 17-year-old, who was not long out of school, and unsure of his future direction, found a job thanks to a worksite visit to Picton Z station as part of the course.

“Communication and customer service jobs interested me quite a bit, so when we met Nigel from Z station, we connected with the job a lot,” Brad said.

“The programme is an awesome opportunity to get your foot in the door with so many different industries. It was a total game changer for me.”

Rodger said it was important to reconnect youth with the reality of the job market.

“We are making jobs sound kind of shiny, it’s like unicorns and rainbows, you leave school, and you get the perfect job, and you’ll be happy every day.

“Realistically, that’s not how the world works.

“We are missing telling the young people that it is a balance between doing what you love and what you’re good at, with what is also available right now on the market.”

Image: Graeme Dingle Foundation programme coordinator Rachel Rodger and Brad Jacob, 17, who has landed his first job in hospitality through the Career Navigator Community programme.

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