To ensure Southland's future prosperity it is essential that connections are made between young people and productive industry career paths.

Venture Southland established Southland Youth Futures in 2014 to better connect young Southlanders with careers in the primary sectors and associated support industries, and to strengthen the pathway between education and employment.

The programme aims to help reduce the number of young people aged 18-24 who are neither in education, employment or training. A focus of the programme is also to upskill young people so that they can fill the vacancies which will be created over the next 15 years as Southland’s ageing workforce retires.

One of the major components of Southland Youth Futures is employer talks in schools. These are designed to inform Year 10 and 11 students about the diversity of jobs available in the primary sector and associated support industries, as well as providing information about on-the-job training opportunities such as apprenticeships, cadetships and NZQA-approved ITO qualifications.

Another major component of the programme is workplace visits, where Year 12 and 13 students experience a real working environment. These experiences help to form connections between students and potential career pathways.

Tangaroa Walker discusses the Southland Youth Futures Programme

To date Southland Youth Futures has 22 Employer Excellence Partners and 11 Business Supporters. It also has strong links with local training providers such as the Southern Institute of Technology and Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre. The programme also has positive support from all Southland secondary schools principals, careers advisers, local authorities, industry organisations such as Federated Farmers and the Southland Chamber of Commerce, Government agencies, and others.

Industry Connections

  • Dairy and sheep farming
  • Horticulture
  • Forestry
  • Meat processing
  • Dairy processing
  • Wood processing
  • Trades
  • Transporation
  • Contracting
  • Fertiliser manufacturing
  • Rural contracting
  • Rural services
  • Exporting
  • Agricultural vehicle sales and servicing

Southland Youth Futures is one strand within the Southland Regional Labour Market Strategy. In partnership with employers, actions are being developed to meet current and future labour force needs across five categories - female workers, older workers, international education, migrants, and young people.

The Southland Youth Futures Programme will continue to connect young people with careers in primary industries in Southland, and encourage businesses within the region to invest in Southland's youth.

Venture Southland developed a Southland Futures regional economic development strategy and continues to develop initaitives that support the key objectives outlined in the strategy.

For further information contact
Allison Beckham - Venture Southland

Allison Beckham

Youth Futures Coordinator