Tapping talent market

More than 150 teenagers have already signed for Josh Callander’s Teen Jobs website. Photo: Sharnae Hope.

Youth unemployment rates in New Zealand aren’t pretty.

More than 11 per cent of 15 to 19-year-olds are unemployed – figures that cost the government, and you the taxpayer, $345 million a year.

One of them was Josh Callander, who at 14 was at the lower end of the demographic and already had first-hand experience of the difficulty of finding jobs out there in the market place.

“Established job websites are for older people, and there was nothing for school students looking for part-time work,” says Josh. So he tackled the problem, and an idea was born - something called Teen Jobs.

“It’s a free website, where students and teenagers list themselves and the areas they want to work in,” he explains. “Potential employers and households can simply search and find teenagers to do the jobs they require.”

Josh says this flips the traditional way of doing things, when the onus is on the employer to list a vacancy. “That’s impractical for smaller or part-time jobs,” he says.

Roles cover everything from household work, such as lawn mowing or babysitting, right through to retail and business positions.

And it’s not a fly-by-night idea. The concept came third in the junior classification of the Young Innovators’ Awards and earned plaudits from Google’s head of education for New Zealand and Australia, Suan Yeo.

“Teen jobs really stood out for the thought for the end user,” says Suan. Following on from that success, Josh was encouraged to develop the ideas into a fully operational website.

Teen Jobs is registering teenagers now, building a pool of workers before going fully live to employers and households from December 1.

Visit: www.teenjobs.co.nz for more information.

Josh is still looking for a job, because even as manager of his own website, it doesn’t turn a buck.