Continuing our investment in youth

January 27, 2021

At GDM we continue to place an importance on investing in our youth and encouraging them to be open to vocational pathways. 

So much so that in late 2020, we opened our doors to Year 13 and Year 7/8 students, along with principals, school careers advisors and parents to show them how we work and the opportunities available to young people in our organisation.

Four of our staff members, Victoria Ivory, Sarah Kirk, Tu Sciascia and Elle Welsh all spoke about their experiences leaving school and the benefits of “earning while learning”.

Sarah was Deputy Head Girl and Dux of Whanganui Girls’ College in 2018 and upon leaving school, decided to continue her education at University. It wasn’t the right fit for her at the time, so she came back to Whanganui to pursue career opportunities. That’s when she found GDM.

Sarah is currently working as a cadet and has gained experience in the projects and finance areas of the business.

“It’s great that there are local businesses out there like GDM who are keen to give young people like me a chance to gain experience in the workforce.”

“GDM has a great network of staff and the benefit of having the different departments of the business all in one location means there is access to learn a wide variety of valuable knowledge and skills in a lot of different areas,” says Sarah.

Meanwhile Victoria came to GDM straight from school and has never looked back. Victoria works as a project coordinator, managing projects for some of GDM’s biggest clients such as The Warehouse Group and Foodstuffs NZ. She recently won the Rising Star Award at the 2020 RED Awards, acknowledging her expertise, communications skills and ability to train others to a high level.

“I started working at GDM as they were the best option I had come across while looking for work for straight after school. They gave me the chance to test out different areas of the business that I was interested in, while working out if this was something I wanted to do long-term.

This was a great benefit for me because I was ready for a working career and was not interested in studying.  The atmosphere at GDM is friendly and I love that there is access to this variety of work in our little Whanganui,”  says Victoria.

Victoria recently bought a house at the age of 22 and she sees a clear career path with GDM. She is being supported and challenged as she seeks to further her opportunities.

“We place a huge importance on investing in young people, so we want them, along with principals, their whanau and careers advisors, to see that coming into this sector is an extension of their education,” says Sandra Eden.

“We take care of our staff and we work with them to pursue their goals, because ultimately the end result is a more effective, successful organisation.”

“It doesn’t need to be an either/or situation, some of our staff are studying while working, while others may be testing the waters before they go onto other things, and that’s ok, at least we have helped them realise what they don’t want to do!”

Over recent years Michael and Sandra Eden have been investing in and upskilling young people in order to future proof the business. Five years ago there were two staff members under 25, while today there are 15 staff under 20, which is around 30% of all employees.

GDM are a strong supporter of 100% SWEET, supporting young people as they transition from school to work, while Michael and Sandra both sit on the board for the Whanganui District Employment Training Trust.  GDM have also been identified as a youth friendly employer as part of the Youth Employment Success Programme.

So if you are a young person considering your career options, give GDM a call today, you never know what may come of it.

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