FAN Background


Project history

FutureForce® Action Network (FAN) was established by the Smart Waikato Trust to mobilise, co-ordinate, educate and equip employers and educators to more effectively incorporate young people into the Waikato workplace.

This important region-wide network, and supporting resources, will ultimately result in hundreds more work opportunities (work experience, apprenticeships, internships and jobs) for young people throughout the region.

Launched at the Gallagher Building, Hamilton, in late 2013, FAN is an opportunity to support an initiative making a real and positive difference to young people aged 15-24, the future workforce, the Waikato community and the regional economy.


FAN is designed to reduce growing youth unemployment by creating awareness of the problem and encouraging employers to offer more work experience, internships, apprenticeships, cadetships and jobs for young people in our region.

An in-depth body of background work has been conducted including a global literature search to identify best practice in terms of work experience, internships, apprenticeships, cadetships and jobs for young people.  A large number of interviews with Waikato employers, local Government, Central and local Government agencies, schools and tertiary education institutions have been undertaken.

From this research best practice has been developed and collated into a “quick guide” swatch with links to further information and tools in downloadable form on a website.  These toolkits will be given free to employers with a number of regional contacts and support networks designed to make it easy for them to offer more workplace based opportunities for young Waikato people. 

“Futureforce Action Network is an integrated and collaborative approach to help in resolving the serious issue of youth unemployment.” Jason Sebestian, Hamilton Youth Council chair.

 This work has been Smart Waikato’s response to the following statistics:


  • In 2012 close to 75 million young people worldwide were out of work, 4 million more than in 2007.

  • Graduate unemployment has emerged as a key challenge

            Locally (from Smart Waikato’s survey of more than 280 Waikato employers – April 2013)

  • Fewer than 50% of Waikato Employers offer ANY type of work opportunity to youth  (15-24 year olds)

  • However, more than 50% of all respondents said they would offer work opportunities to youth given the right support.


FutureForce® Action Network tool development working group:

steering group meeting of key stakeholders was held at the Hamilton City Council civic reception Wednesday September 25, with members agreeing Futureforce Action Network provides a robust and well-researched solution to alarming youth unemployment and skills shortages in our region.

About 30 members are on the FAN steering committee including: Young Workers Resource Centre - Tony Stevens, EMA - Jack Ninnes, Deloitte - Stefan Doll, Waikato Chamber of Commerce - Sandra Perry, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce - LesleyAnn Thomas, Gateway Coordinators - Donna Prentice, CATE - Jane Thomas, University of Waikato - Sonya Saunders and Janet Davey, Wintec - Jo Douglas, Emma Patton and Lisa James, PTEs - Sean O'Brien, ITOs - Tania Berryman and Allen Bryce, Te Puni Kokiri - Michelle Paki, Ministry of Social Development - Jackie Theobald, Hamilton City Council - Mareta Ford, Jason Sebastian and Ishana Ageel, Waikato District Council - Clive Morgan, Waikato Regional Council - Tariq Ashraf, Waipa District Council - Peter Carr, Matamata-Piako District Council - Charlotte Belsham or Michelle Hawthorne, Smart Waikato Trust - Mary Jensen, Linda Caie and Sally Birch. Apologies: Te Wananga o Aotearoa - Joe Graham, Careers New Zealand - Brendon Gardner.