The economic impact of Covid hasn’t been as bad – yet – feared.
It’s certainly been bad enough, though, and the usual folks are going to suffer more than most in the current jobs market: those with low or no qualifications, and those with little or no work experience.
That means: young people.
But a lot of the jobs going for folks with low or no qualifications require at least one basic certificate: a driver’s licence.
The mission has talked to multiple recruitment agencies in the last month, and they all have said the same thing.
One of the biggest barriers for a lot of younger unemployed folk is the lack of (or the wrong type) of driver’s licence.
Over the last couple of decades the rate at which young people get their driver’s licence has dropped.
It might be because public transport is easier to use than a decade ago.
It might be that young people are taking action to help save the climate and reduce carbon emissions.
It could just be that the expense of owning and running a car is too much or the difficulty getting a free park close to school or work.
Or it could be difficulties with reading and writing and the very word-heavy learner’s licence test.
But whatever their reasons, the under-20s are licensed to drive at about half the rate of those in their 40s.
This seems particularly true in Dunedin for young Maori and Pasifika.
But a lack of licence isn’t holding some of them back from jumping in a car to get from A to B!
Which is where the mission is pleased to be helping out.
In collaboration with police, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Otago Community Trust, the mission is providing class 1 learner and restricted driver licence courses in the community.
The mission provides learner courses for Corrections within prison and for those on probation.
The students are largely younger men, who’ve had a brush police.
We’re using the mission’s virtual reality tool to support the students studying for a restricted licence, and the pass rates are better than 90% for the learners’ class.
The students get the right kind of certificate (not a record), and are instantly more employable.
And it’s all possible because Otago Community Trust, police, and the Ministry of Social Development have chosen to work together for the benefit of these young people.
If you would like to support the mission’s work with a donation, please visit www.givealittle.co.nz and search for The Methodist Mission.