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Watch: Top UK entrepreneur's advice to young New Zealanders looking for a job

An award winning British entrepreneur, in New Zealand to launch a youth ready employer programme, says getting young people into work has to be a two-way street.

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Jack Parsons is in New Zealand to launch a youth ready employer programme. Source: Breakfast

Jack Parsons, who established his own organisation The Youth Group and is an advisor on youth issues for Buckingham Palace, told John Campbell on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning both youth and employers need to work together and put in effort to reduce the number of those unemployed.

He also spoke about his own challenging upbringing, including being disadvantaged, his mother being an alcoholic and being discouraged by teachers.

"Every time tried to knock down a door it just got put back up in my face," he said, adding teachers gave him a list of construction sites he could work at rather than advising him on where he could go to university.

"That really, really hurt me in my heart because I had no one around me to say 'no Jack, it's okay', but that really gave me a bee in my bonnet to try and make a difference and actually go and get a job."

His advise for young people in similar scenarios was to have confidence, to network and have "a duvet flip", meaning to focus on what gets them out of bed in the morning.

But while the unemployment rate is low in New Zealand at the moment, Māori unemployment is still double the national average.

"You have to surround yourselves with incentives and programmes that help you," Mr Parsons advised. 

"How do you get access to those programmes? By asking questions ... my advise is ask the questions. Go from having all the answers to all the questions.

"When you ask and ask and ask it might be no, no, no but don't give up."

However, he said employers also had a role to play to understand, connect, recruit, retain and develop workers.

"It's a two way flip, yes we need to help get young people become work aware and get them upskilled, but also, there's a big lack of education in employers.

"Companies need to have education, I don't believe there is enough resources and enough support for employers to actually upskill themselves. We always put it on the young person but I think it's a two-way playing field. Bring diversity around the table.

"The effort they make doesn't have to be big effort from day dot, it can be a small effort just to make small changes."