Southland’s workforce is aging. Helping young people start successful careers in our productive industries is essential to our future prosperity.

Southland’s mayors, employers and schools are working together to make it easier for young people to succeed.

What is Southland Youth Futures?

Southland Youth Futures aims to connect young people with primary industries in the Southland region.

What is primary industries?

Agriculture, forestry, manufacturing and support services including the transport industry, rural contracting, farm services, water quality and irrigation and more

Why primary industries?

  • Jobs are varied and exciting
  • You can earn while you learn
  • There is training on the job
  • Can stay and work in Southland

Talk to your careers advisor at school, or email for information here.

Our business partners have adopted youth friendly practices to take on young people.


Young people are more likely to be unemployed than any other age group in New Zealand. In Southland almost a quarter of the job seekers listed in December 2015 were the 18 – 24 age group.

Southland loses young people to other regions every year. We can’t afford to lose their talent and contributions when there are jobs in the region and labour shortages. Research commissioned by Venture Southland identified a labour-force shortage of 4,775 by 2023 increasing to 12,766 by 2031. The Southland Regional Development Strategy (SRDS) Steering group assessed the greatest threat to the region is the lack of people now and projected into the future.
You can read the research report here and the regional strategy here.

Employers Excellence Model

  • A network of businesses have developed an Employers Excellence Model for taking on young people.
  • They are committed to youth friendly standards in their workplace and want to see young people employed in Southland. They value young people in the workplace, and want to ensure young people are placed with a youth friendly employer.
  • They are committed to training, developing and mentoring young staff, working with schools, and linking young people with career opportunities.
  • They also have clear entry level pathways into their business, and can show young people the career progression in their business.
  • They are committed to Employer Excellence Training

For more information about the network of businesses, Employers Excellence Model and training you can contact us here.
For information about SYF you can download our strategic report.

Case Studies