It’s an age-old dilemma. You want a job but don’t have enough experience but you need a job to gain experience. 

It’s a problem that a group of tech-savvy Māori students are trying to fix.

And they’re doing that by going to a common stomping ground — the digital space — to help rangatahi look for their first jobs. 

The students, from Ara Institute of Canterbury, who call themselves Team Audacious, noticed there was a need for a platform that allowed rangatahi to move beyond the limitations of the classic CV. 

Student Eli Pohio (Ngāi Tahu) summed up their goal in one sentence. 

We're trying to make CVs irrelevant,” the 19-year-old says. And they're doing that by creating an app called ROYO (this stands for rangatahi opportunities youth opportunities).

The app will allow people to set up digital profiles which includes video content and other documents they could give to potential employers. 

Pohio says there is a need for businesses to find young people to bring in.

Whether they are skilled or unskilled, young people are eager to learn and get into industries but “it's a struggle for young people to find a place where they can get experience”, Pohio says.

The students working on their app called ROYO. Photo: Supplied

He also saw that young people fall through the cracks simply by there being too many applicants for employers to filter through.

"I went on Reddit recently and asked hirers how many CVs they look at, out of all of the ones they receive. On average, they read two out of a huge pile!"

The students came together through Programming Māori Potential (PMP), a 10-week programme where rangatahi are immersed in the world of innovation, and form contacts with industry leaders, mentors and entrepreneurs.

Chante Hakiwai, one of the founders of Programming Māori Potential, says “a lot of solutions that these intelligent rangatahi come up with are aimed at young people, but they’ll actually benefit the wider community - they're intergenerational solutions”. 

The team’s app idea also took out the PMP South Island regionals and caught the eye of investors. 

After receiving funding, the team are now developing the app.

The team with Stuart Nash, Minister of Economic and Regional Development. Photo: Supplied

Team Audacious member, Kiisha-Rose Woodhouse (Tūhoe/Ngā Potiki), 21, says she is excited about ROYO’s future, especially with an investor on board.

"The offer we've received is incredible, truly life-changing. They believe in our ideas and are providing us with fantastic resources and training to help us establish our own company," Woodhouse says.

The team hopes to have the ROYO app developed and ready for market testing by February 2022. 

Top Image: Nervous job applicant waits as recruiters look at their CV. Photo: iStock

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