Fit, young and ready to work

The ‘A’ crew - Braydon Iuli, Cooper Gibson, Corban Laban-Palmer and Grady Forbes in the wheelbarrow.

It was a cracking endorsement – a proof of performance report that any company would welcome, let alone a college student start-up.

“They were the politest young men,” says Karolyn Timarkos, also known as The Nocrastinator on Facebook. “They blew me away. Just beautiful.”

She commissioned a group of “amazing young men” – namely Tauranga Boys’ College’s Corban, Cooper, Braydon and Grady – from website Teen Jobs, where employers and households can search and find willing teenagers for jobs they need doing.

Karolyn had been drawn to a Weekend Sun story on the free website set up by teen entrepreneur Josh Callander. Rather than advertising the potential employer and the job to be done, it advertises the labour force - the people available for hire and what they have to offer.

Karolyn wanted a crew of young men to beat her entire, rather overgrown, property back into shape, and consulted Teen Jobs.

It was obviously a labour intensive task, so she chose Corban, Cooper, Bradyn and Grady because of their rugby playing, surf lifesaving profiles. “They were fit, strong young men,” she says.

“And they were amazing. They turned up on the dot, brought all their own gear - despite my offer to supply it - and they problem solved, consulted and were all about what they could do for the client. They were cool dudes and I couldn’t rate them highly enough.” So much so, that Karolyn is seriously considering calling them back.

Josh Callander’s vision for Teen Jobs was to reduce the teenage unemployment rate. “It’s led to a real interest in why people should employ teenagers and the benefits they can bring,” he says.

For example, teenagers can approach old problems in a fresh way. They are a blank canvas, so employers can influence attitudes and establish good work habits. They also prefer part time work, so it provides a lot more flexibility managing labour requirements, and when saving for a goal, teenagers are very motivated and generally accept lower wages.

Josh has also been working on his project with Priority One, and attended a two-day internship with Cucumber which develops websites and online strategies.

“We have been working on the user experience, with a lot of new feature in the pipeline,” says Josh. “My goal is to perfect the idea in Tauranga and look to expand around New Zealand.”

More than 350 teenagers have registered with Teen Jobs, and have had over 10,000 home page views.

The most popular jobs are babysitting, cleaning and ground care. “Most jobs are ordinary,” says Josh, “but one included sanding down six wooden garden chairs and cleaning an aquarium.”

Josh says he doesn’t think these teenagers would have found jobs, as there is no other simple way of connecting employers and households with the teen labour market.

Karolyn Timarkos is one happy customer. “I have a 45 kilogram bull terrier who thinks a garden rake is a toy,” she says. “My crew quickly worked out that if one of them played with the dog for a while, the other could rake and get the job done.”

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