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Collaborative effort to help school leavers

Collaborative effort to help school leavers be better prepared for the workforce

Run and led by industry and designed to help school leavers become ready for work, the Work Ready Passport programme is seeking interest from employers to take part.

The Manawatu Chamber of Commerce in association with Talent Central is launching the Palmerston North and Manawatu programme designed and administrated by Skills.

Participating students are required to collect evidence of their skills and experience in support of ten employer identified work ready skills, before being assessed by an industry based panel.

The ten skills are: Work experience, communication, driver’s licence, team work, being drug-free, life skills, personal wellness, academic achievements, managing your money and workplace health and safety.

Work Ready Passport, Business Development Manager, Bruce Morgan says the programme was developed over several years after conversations with about 600 employers to identify what is work ready.

“Today, students at school have about 1600 NCEA units they can choose from, and for employers that is confusing – Work Ready Passports will help overcome the confusion. And, the programme meets NZQA requirements and NCEA Level Two outcomes.”

“It’s about ensuring locals are ready for the local workforce, so employers don’t have to look to bring people in, and so youth can stay in and contribute to the communities where they are from,” he says.

Manawatu Chamber of Commerce Acting Chief Executive Amanda Linsley says all too often employers are faced with the unknown when employing youth and CEDA’s foundation research project late last year yet again reiterated talent supply is a significant limitation to growth.

“It can be really expensive when it goes wrong. This programme will provide many benefits for employers, particularly in the challenging area of recruitment and induction.

The programme includes:
• Recruitment and induction tool for identifying those with a ‘work ready’ attitude
• A facilitated relationship with training providers focused on employer needs
• Cutting down the productivity gap (from trainee to employee)
• A tool for recognising work experience placement and community projects
• A bigger pool of people joining the workforce with ‘work ready’ attitude and experience to prove it.

Ms Linsley says initially; we’re targeting areas of high employment such as distribution and logistics, civil engineering and the primary sector, with the service sector to follow – we’re inviting those interested to a showcase to hear more about the scheme and how they can be involved.

Talent Central’s Director of Student Futures, Kelly Gay has worked with schools and training organisations Manawatu and Palmerston North on the project.

“To be successful, it has to reflect the needs of employers, so that schools can more accurately target skill development in those student’s wanting to transition into employment. Matching existing school curriculum is an added benefit to schools delivery of NCEA credits and qualifications.”

The programme provides suggestions for youth to develop and prove their work ready attributes. Help offered includes mentoring and work experience matches with local companies, guidance writing a CV and an industry panel that signs off the completed passport and congratulates each person who completes it, or makes recommendations on how to become work ready.

Mr Gay says in the next few months, the first group of students to take part are gathering evidence and later this year interviews will be held. Eventually, several hundred students will got through the programme each year.

“It’ll be valuable for all students, including those who are on training programmes for at-risk youth. Often students don’t’ value skills they have, so that passport gets them to systematically report those skills to industry, while also providing evidence of ‘soft’ skills such as team suitability and drive,” he says.

“Often, if you don’t grow up knowing someone working in the sector you want to enter, then you won’t know what is required and can fail at the first hurdle. Work Ready Passport is about giving everyone the chance to succeed, while also signalling to industry their interest and experience to potential employers” he says.

Mr Gay says a Work Ready Showcase has been created with two events in Palmerston North and one in Feilding.

The Work Ready Passport programme was designed by Bruce Morgan through Skills. It is currently underway in Kapiti, and five other regions are in discussions about rolling out the programme.

“It’s a regional programme,” says Mr Morgan. “It has to be run and led by local industry working with local schools in order for it to succeed. I have been very impressed with the support and commitment of Talent Central and The Manawatu Chamber of Commerce and leaders from industry and schools who are championing the programme. With this level of support, it’s going to be awesome,” he says.

Work Ready Passport Showcase
When: Monday 31st July – Time 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Where: CEDA Offices (Level 1)
478 Main Street
Palmerston North
A second presentation will be held for schools and education providers on 1 August and a third session will be held on 9 August in Feilding.
RSVP’s to liane@manawatuchamber.co.nz

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