Forum planned to help with employing youth on the Coromandel 12 December 2014 A free initiative inspiring and equipping Waikato employers to offer more workplace opportunities to youth will be rolled out in Thames-Coromandel next year. Smart Waikato’s Futureforce™ Action Network (FAN) will launch in partnership with our Council and Smart Environmental at an event on April 29, 2015 for employers, educators and other leaders. FAN events in Hamilton and Matamata have attracted hundreds of leaders, inspiring and equipping them to offer more work experience, jobs, apprenticeships and cadetships to young people. Smart Waikato chief executive Mary Jensen said FAN, with more than 700 members throughout the Waikato, gives employers free access to on-line tools designed to help them offer more work-based opportunities to youth. FAN events create a meeting point where employers network with educators, other employers and agencies and hear about best practice associated with guiding, developing and retaining youth through work and work-related training, Mary said. “There are simple ways employers can improve the experience of work and this is about giving them the tools to do that. Many employers want to successfully offer work opportunities to a young person and the support of FAN helps them make it a reality,” Mary said. Those attending the FAN event, funded in Thames-Coromandel by Smart Environmental and Work and Income, will hear from youth and their employers, network with stakeholders including educators, employers and agencies and receive Smart Waikato’s innovative FAN Quick Guide swatch and associated on-line HR tools to use in their workplaces. “Smart Environmental is a significant employer in the region, we are delighted to participate and sponsor this project. We see this as an investment in our young people, and to provide opportunities and life skills, and to encourage them to live or return here. As employers we have a responsibility to be part of the solution in ensuring that our youth are recognised and enable them to contribute to our region in a meaningful way," says Grahame Christian, Smart Environmental. Smart Waikato is a charitable trust formed in 2009 to enable better linkages between secondary and tertiary education and the Waikato workplace, for the benefit of young people and their whanau. “We value young people on the Coromandel and would love to see more employment opportunities for under 25 year olds. Not only will this enhance the economic viability of the Coromandel, it will encourage young families to stay in the area ,” says Deputy Mayor, Peter French.