Youth Zone allows youth to volunteer with the aim of learning new skills and have fun while organising and creating their own radio shows. OAR aims to encourage participation, information sharing and involvement in community life by providing an ethnically and age diverse programme available for any Otago listeners. There are nine different shows with 44 youth participating and engaging in developing the shows that are produced.
"We are open to the community - Everyone is welcome to come in and create their own show."
Dominic - Most commonly known as Domi has three different roles within Youth Zone and OAR, Youth coordinator, tech assistant and admin manager. He is a strong advocate for community participation and involvement of youth in the development of the media industry in Dunedin.
“Youth are a section of society that are under heard in mainstream media so they have the opportunity to come in and create shows that they are interested in they wouldn’t be able to do that anywhere else.”
Domi’s advice to businesses looking to create opportunities for youth is simple in the fact that youth have to start somewhere. It is all about the stepping stone process. How will they ever get anywhere if no-one gives them their first break, even if it is unpaid volunteer work?
“Take the time to create opportunities for youth that may not have the experience. They have to start somewhere. It's important to create those opportunities - it allows them to gain experience which is the most important stepping stone.”
Caitlin, a high-school student that is a volunteer host at youth zone, loves being involved with Youth Zone because:
“The staff are really engaging and inviting, and they actually want to help you - They give you advice, and they are open to your ideas and are accepting of those ideas which makes it a cool place to work.”
Jodie, the coordinator of one of the Youth Zone shows, said that by becoming a volunteer she has connected with people in the community that she had not previously known.
“It’s a good way to connect people in the community because of the different ages that the shows cater for.”
Do you think that the radio industry is something that you want to try out? Just take Caitlin and Carl’s advice:
“Just come in and talk to Domi - He will help you. Don’t be afraid to get your foot in the door because it will help you out in the long run” - Caitlin
“If you want to get started, a place like this is fantastic. If you are interested in an industry and enjoy working within it, it should feel like less of a job and more of a hobby” - Carl
If you are interested in giving the radio industry a go, you can get in touch with Domi and his team using the contact details on the Youth Employer website. You can also find out what opportunities they are offering by visiting https://youthemployer.nz/employers/youth-zone-at-otago-access-radio .