Youth Employability Programme

Delivering young people with the skills and confidence to
​​​​​​​get work and thrive in long-term employment.

The Youth Employability Programme (YEP) gives 14-24 year-olds the skills and confidence to transition into the world of work. It is highly regarded nationally as an employability programme of great worth and impact, that empowers rangatahi to gain the insight, confidence and skills to get work, keep work and thrive in their careers.

YEP equips young people with the seven key employability skills employers regard as essential to making a successful start in the workplace, retaining employment and building a career.

The programme is designed for all young people, particularly those transitioning directly to the workforce from school or training, as well as those returning to the workforce. 

The Auckland programme was evaluated by ImpactLab and achieved a Social Return of Investment of $4.20, which means for every dollar invested, the programme returns $4.20 in social return.

What is the Youth Employability Programme?

The main focus of the programme is the development of the the seven key employability skills that employers say they feel are essential to make a successful start in the workforce and establish a career. 

The programme is composed of two main components:

  • Skill-building workshops
  • Work experience

The practical workshops are delivered by a skilled facilitator and are designed to draw on the student's ideas and experiences in order to position them at the centre of their own learning.

The voluntary work and work placements provide students with the opportunity to get, develop and practice their employability skills in a safe and structured context and connect with their local community.​​​​​​​

The generic programme includes: 

  • 18 - 20 hours of skill-building workshops
  • 10 - 20 hours of community service
  • 80 hours of work experience with a local business
  • Skills based assessment



             7 Key Employability Skills Employers Say They Want

    Understanding the impact of YEP

    Youthtown recently had the Auckland YEP delivery assessed by ImpactLab.

    ImpactLab’s team combine hard data with the human stories to determine social impact. Using their GoodMeasure tool, they apply a consistent measurement framework across the organisations they evaluate to enable fair comparison of social impact.

    ImpactLab quantify the social impact, in dollar terms, that a programme achieves for participants over their lifetime: this is called the social value.

    The social value calculation helps to understand how a programme or intervention helps change lives for the better.

    ImpactLab combine the social value with information regarding the cost to deliver the programme to calculate a programme’s social return on investment (SROI).

    From the information provided by Youthtown, about how YEP works, ImpactLab were able to understand the change journey that the participants undergo. From this change journey, the below outcomes map was generated.


    The below diagram shows how social value is created by interventions such as YEP. It outlines the outcomes that Youthotwn aims to achieve by running YEP, and how these are reflected in the final GoodMeasure 'social return on investment' calculation.

    These outcomes are reflected in the GoodMeasure calculation, contributing to the social value that the programme is calculated to deliver.

    The main areas of social value that YEP is seen to directly contribute to are shown in the GoodMeasure results map.

    Once this social value was calculated, the social return on investment that the programme delivers was calculated, utilising the programme operating costs in Auckland.

    ImpactLab found that within Auckland, the social return on investment for YEP was $4.20. Which means that for every dollar invested in the programme, $4.20 is returned in social value.

    Given the difficulties Auckland faced in 2021, with lockdown and the impact that had on participant numbers and completion rates, ImpactLab felt that the SROI could be even higher in other years.

    What we're doing to support YEP:

    • Developing the programme and its resources to help build employability skills in young people.
    • Supporting YEP providers to deliver quality programmes through national and regional networks.
    • Training YEP facilitators to enable more young people to become work ready.
    • Encouraging the business community to support youth employability, connecting rangatahi to work experience opportunities.
    • Administrating the programme nationally.


    Alexandra Alatimu​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

    "Facilitating The YEP has been a wonderful experience. I love that it gives the participants the vocabulary to confidently explain the strengths they can bring to a role and the space to self-identify areas of opportunity for personal development. On completion of the programme it is evident that participants feel better equipped to step into work environments and become part of a team."

    Chris Davidson ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

    “My role has included working closely with COMET to facilitate the transition of the Youth Employability Programme (YEP) to Youthtown. We are honoured to be selected to take on this incredible programme and are excited to work with our partners and communities developing YEP in the years to come. In addition to my leadership role with the Youthtown team, I will be assisting with youth employability advocacy, programme development and evaluation”

    Gill Higgins​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

    "I have been involved with Yep since 2017 as a Facilitator, Coordinator and now Programme Lead (Tairāwhiti) of the Youth Employability Programme/Licence to Work. In my role I am fortunate to work with an inspiring group of programme facilitators who develop strong connections with the youth they work alongside. Through the programme we share the desire to support our rangatahi to get work, keep work and create careers."​​​​​​​

    If you would like to get in contact about YEP please email [email protected] or contact Alex.

    YEP in the Community

    Bringing our own flavour to YEP in Christchurch, we've just kicked off a programme in partnership with the RAMs Basketball team, combining employability skills training with basketball. This is an innovative way to help young people find their potential and gain some new skills, whilst shooting a few hoops and having fun.

    ZEIL - CV BUILDER ​​​​​​​

    Zeil have created created a free step-by-step CV builder designed for rangatahi to use from an app on their mobile phones. 

    Developed with extensive community input and advice from careers experts and through partnership with MSD, MBIE and the MOE the service is offered free. 

    This is a great tool as an option for the rangatahi you work with. It has over 200 prompts tailored to the age, stage and unique attributes of each user, and includes innovations such as a Video-CV tool.
    You can find the app on Google Play or the iPhone App Store, or find out more about this great CV Builder