Over 150 workers under 35 years of age have received employment advice, support and/or advocacy this year thanks to the Young Workers Help Centre – a free service that’s now been made permanent in part thanks to union owned co-operative HealthCarePlus.

HealthCare Plus provides TEU members and the wider Aotearoa New Zealand community access to support by way of Charitable Education Grants to use for good. In the first year of Grant for Good, almost $200,000 was distributed to support a wide range of amazing projects both large and small and to help individuals with funding for professional development or hardship.

In 2021, one of the recipients of these grants was the Young Workers Resource Centre – a not for profit organisation based in Kirikiriroa | Hamilton who have used their $50,000 cash injection, amongst money from other funding sources, to make two staff members permanent in their help centre.

Dr Zoë Port, a TEU member and board member of the Young Workers Resource Centre, says the Help Centre is filling an important gap. ‘We know that young workers don’t often know their rights at work, they aren’t sure how to raise an issue with their employer and they generally don’t know about unions. The Centre offers them advice, support, advocacy when appropriate, and in the process, it encourages them to join a union.’

Dr Port credits Grants for Good with playing a significant role in keeping the centre going after MBIE’s initial funding came to an end. ‘They were absolutely fantastic. The grants process was simple to go through. Without them, and the support we received during the application process from TEU, it’s unclear whether this cool little service would have had a future beyond this year. It’s great to know that it will now continue and potentially help thousands of young workers have better working lives and join their union.’

If you or a young person close to you needs employment advice or support, be it help to interpret a clause in their employment agreement or advice about a disciplinary process or performance improvement plan, they can contact the Young Workers Resource Centre on 0800 289 972, via help@ywrc.org.nz, or by visiting https://www.ywrc.org.nz/free-help/.

And keep an eye out in Tertiary Update for your opportunity to secure a Grant for Good in 2022!