Julia Wikeepa has been the YWRC’s 2019 Educator, and she has taught us a huge amount about compassion, kindness, and the importance of a team dynamic.


As my contract here at the Young Workers Resource Centre (YWRC) nears its end, I thought it would be fitting to share my experience as an employee for this organisation.

For those of you who are familiar with our mahi, we educate young people about their rights in the workplace. You may be wandering what is it like to be an employee of an organisation such as the YWRC? They’re passionate about social justice, but are they a good employer? Do they treat their staff fairly? From personal experience, I can hands down say that the YWRC adheres to their values when it comes to taking care of their staff. In saying that, let’s have a look at what it means to be a good employer.

The Human Rights Commission believe that a ‘good employer’ is an organisation that offers a workplace setting where employees are made to feel valued and respected. A great employer also celebrates difference and encourages diversity; there is active staff engagement, policies and procedures that are transparent, clear complaints procedures, and regular feedback. 

With this in mind, how has the YWRC centre exhibited some of the traits of a good employer? Firstly, from the day I was hired, I have always felt that my contribution has been valued and respected. Being in the educator role, I was able to give my input around teaching strategies, content development, and better-implementing te Tiriti o Waitangi into our policies and procedures. I felt my opinions mattered and that my Maori culture was also valued. In effect, I wanted to perform my best for the organisation.

Secondly, something that I value as an employee is having autonomy and flexibility. The YWRC most definitely allow their staff to practice both. Being a mother that has many other commitments and responsibilities within the community, it has been such a blessing to have that flexibility and arrange workshops that fit into my schedule. Likewise, being given the autonomy to develop workshops in the area of employment and wellbeing has been a satisfying and fulfilling endeavour. 

What are some tips for those seeking employment? 

  • Prioritise seeking out a ‘good employer.’ 
  • Do some research on the organisation – check if they have their values and/or a mission statement on their website. Do their values align with yours?
  • If you get a job offer, check their policies and procedures. Do they look after their staff?
  • Make sure they care about people!

At the end of the day, we want to find as much joy as possible in the things we do. It’s most definitely worth the time and effort to seek out environments that will help us to feel of value and worth and that encourage us to be our best selves.

Thank you to the wonderful committee and staff members at the YWRC that have allowed me to develop my skills and abilities within the organisation. You are wonderful human beings!   

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