For some rangatahi / young people, finding things they’re interested in or a purpose in life can be difficult. The good news is that are many ways you can help.
Chat with the young person you're helping about what their interests are
Find out about jobs they might be interested in
Make a list of their strengths, skills and passions and compare them to potential jobs
Help them find part time/ full time / volunteer work
Help them write a CV and a cover letter
Praise them whenever they try something new
Lots of changes in people’s lives start with a chat with a trusted person. If you want to help a young person decide what they want to get involved in, you need to hear what their interests are.
1. Ask them to sit and talk with you
Invite them to sit with you and talk about their opportunities.
Create a safe space for them without people who might interrupt. Then they can talk openly about where they want to go and what they want to achieve.
Come up with some ideas to get them talking. Ask questions that get to the heart of what kind of person they want to be, their interests, problems in the world they’d like to solve, and things they might want to do in their lifetime.
Sometimes finding out what they’re not interested in can be as helpful as finding out the things they like.
2. Keep an open mind
It’s important to keep an open mind while talking with them. You might have strong feelings about what you think they should do, but they might have their own ideas.
3. Share your own passions
You can help rangatahi discover their passion by letting them know what you love doing. If you love swimming, tell them why and invite them to give it a go. They might love it too. Something as simple as this could lead to a new hobby or a job they love (e.g. swimming teacher or lifeguard).
If you do work they’re interested in, bring them into work so they can see what it’s like.
Once they tell you what they’re into, find ways to help achieve this goal. Ask yourself: What’s the first step? What could lead to that? What do they need to do to go in that direction?
If you know a young person who wants help deciding what they want to do with their life, here are some questions that might help:
What do you like / what are you into?
Do you like finding out how things work?
What are your talents?
Do you love making music, art or dancing?
What do you enjoy in your spare time?
Do you like chatting with people you haven’t met before?
What's important to you now?
When you imagine your future, what does it include?
When rangatahi understand their interests, values, and talents, they might find it easier to get on the right career path. To help them find their ideal industry, help them make a list to compare strengths, desires, and values to potential career fields.
Youth unemployment is a big problem in Aotearoa. Where they live, the level and quality of their education, the people they and their family know, and how much support they have will impact if, how, and when they find employment.
Give them a hand by:
1. Helping them with professional documents
write a CV and cover letters
approach businesses by email
find people to provide written personal and professional references
2. Get online and explore specific careers
Get online and check out lists of cool careers to see if any appeal to them. For example, if they want to work with food, they could be a chef, dietician or a food scientist.
3. Helping them find an internship
Internships can help rangatahi / young people gain experience while they’re still in school. Most internships are unpaid, but can lead to paid work. A rangatahi / young person can get practical experience in an appealing field, and potential employers will see they’re focused and serious about their career.
4. Helping them find part-time work
Help them find a part-time job using sites like SEEK and Trade Me Jobs. Once they get a job interview, help them practice by running through traditional job interview questions. If you’ve had lots of experience applying for jobs, tell them things that helped you remain calm and do well.
5. Helping them decide
Eventually, the rangatahi / young person you are helping will have to make a decision. This can be stressful and hard, but you can help them by reminding them that:
they’re smart and can make good decisions.
they have time to think.
they don’t need to stick with a job, career, or programme forever and it’s worth giving things a try.
they’ll probably have different careers over their lifetime.