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New employment programme ‘just the job’ for Canterbury youth

New employment programme ‘just the job’ for Canterbury youth

A unique approach to workplace education will help boost Canterbury’s youth employment rates by giving students the employment edge ready for life after school.

While Canterbury is riding a post-quake employment high, with rises in job vacancies beyond the national average, recent youth unemployment rates indicate an upward trend[1]. A situation compounded by employers’ feedback that young people lack crucial work-related skills, and alarming global statistics, such as 50% of youth believing education hasn’t fully prepared them for the working world.

Amanda Wheeler, Workchoice CEO says while there are some exceptions, most high schools focus on academic results rather than career and recruitment knowledge or transition experiences and connection with the world of work. The result is an unprepared generation of future workers.

“Many young people have no idea how to market themselves successfully and no understanding of the recruitment process. They don’t know about skills shortages, may not realise what one job can lead them into, or that careers aren’t a “ladder climb” anymore, and that it’s okay to try a new direction,” says Ms Wheeler.

In response to these challenges, Workchoice Trust is introducing Life After School - a new practical, skills-based programme that will equip senior students with key skills to successfully market themselves to potential employers. Christchurch students will be the first in the country to benefit from Life After School, with a pilot programme held at Lincoln University on 10th June, 2014. A national roll-out is on the cards for 2015.

Ms. Wheeler says Christchurch is the obvious city to trial Life After School given its unique employment market and willingness of local businesses and schools to change the status quo.

“Life After School is a practical programme with a focus on vocational pathways, so it will perfectly complement current local initiatives to combat Canterbury’s skills shortages in construction and the trades,” says Ms. Wheeler.

“Yet, because the programme offers real insights into todays’ employment market across the board, plus extensive practical advice on marketing yourself to prospective employers, it will benefit all students and support Canterbury’s wider talent pool requirements,” she adds.
The interactive morning session will give students an understanding of the recruitment process and how to best market themselves, as well as hearing directly from local businesses what they look for when hiring youth. They’ll also gain an understanding of what “employability skills” and “workplace norms” are so they can transition with ease from school to employment. Highlights also include mock interviews, job hunting tips and appropriate use of social media.

A panel of industry representatives will reveal what they look for when hiring and how to get the employment edge via two discussion topics: ‘Skills Shortages – where are the jobs for young people?’, and ‘How can young people best market themselves?’ As keynote speaker, Dr Paul Wood will inspire students with his unique story of personal change, plus share his insights into achieving personal goals and overcoming adversity. Speakers, Alisa Bartholomew of Career Dreams Limited, and Alaina Luxmoore of Workchoice Trust, will share their expertise on career planning and preparation and social media as friend and foe.

The afternoon industry visit will give students hands-on experience of the working environment with a range of Christchurch businesses opening their doors, including Canterbury DHB, Countdown Logistics, HamiltonJet and Accor Ibis. The day is guaranteed to help students make informed decisions about their life after school.

In support of the programme, all participating students will receive a Christchurch labour market flyer, developed by Careers NZ in partnership with the Canterbury Development Corporation.

See www.workchoice.co.nz for more information.


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