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Canterbury employers set to give teachers a workplace educat

5 August 2014
Leading Canterbury employers set to give teachers a workplace education

Leading Canterbury employers have stepped up to help the region’s teachers boost their students’ job prospects.

As part of Teachers’ Workchoice Day – a unique ‘workplace education’ initiative coming to Christchurch on 29 August - teachers and career advisors will get a rare opportunity to access the cream of Canterbury’s business talent.

Through a series of insightful addresses and informative panel discussions, experienced business leaders will share thoughts on recruitment trends, successful models of transition and talent needs. The aim is to give educators good perspective on the careers and skill-sets their students should be considering, and where employment will be most likely.

A highlight of the day is an afternoon workplace visit to an industry of choice. Youth employment charity and event organiser, Workchoice Trust, says the response from the Canterbury business community has been phenomenal. A broad range of leading organisations have stepped up to help teachers give their students the employment advantage, including Christchurch Airport, Countdown Logistics, City Care, Jade Software, Tonkin & Taylor, Canterbury District Health Board and Child, Youth and Family.

“We’re completely overwhelmed by the reception from Canterbury business, indicating a strong desire to address the skills gap that’s compounding the region’s youth unemployment rates and adversely affecting business and the economy,” says Workchoice CEO, Amanda Wheeler.

“With a range of organisations involved from ICT, media and health, to hospitality, logistics and agriculture, the region’s educators can’t afford to miss out on this rare opportunity to help their students become better work-ready. Registrations are still open and we urge schools to act now to reserve their place,” adds Ms. Wheeler.

Adrian Watson, HR General Manager for City Care – which will open its doors to teachers during Teachers’ Workchoice Day - also encourages educators to sign up.

“City Care is honoured to be included Teachers’ Workchoice Day. It’s a fabulous opportunity to provide employment context for teachers, and builds on important long-term relationships we have with a number of local schools,” says Mr Watson.

Teachers’ Workchoice Day was launched as a proactive step in the fight against youth unemployment and aims to connect educators and employers - the key stakeholders in our young people’s futures. While the Canterbury job market is booming with an 8.9% annual increase in employment[1], the region’s NEET rate (young people not in employment, education or training), rose by 22% in the last quarter[2]. A situation compounded by employers’ concern that young people lack crucial work-related skills.

“Canterbury now has New Zealand’s highest employment rate, so it’s tragic that despite a buoyant job market, the region’s young people continue to be lost in the transition from school to work. We need to get educators and employers on the same page to help today’s youth - who are ultimately tomorrow’s employees - become better work-ready,” explains Ms Wheeler.

Organised in conjunction with industry training organisation, The Skills Organisation, Teachers’ Workchoice Day, willarm teachers with the tools, confidence, knowledge and experiences to become ‘career advisors’ to their students in the subjects they teach.

The event comes on the back of a successful pilot programme in 2013 and is themed, ‘Mind the Gap: Connecting education with industry’. Teachers can expect fresh content, engaging new speakers and current labour market information.

The Skills Organisation chief executive, Garry Fissenden, says initiatives like Teachers’ Workchoice Day are vital in giving educators accurate information on skills shortages, for example, the predicted increase in demand for trained tradespeople.

“It’s important to remember that only 29% of students go on to university. We would hope schools use their influence accordingly. Wise schools will present all options equally to students, so young people - and their families - can make informed decisions about the future,” says Mr Fissenden.

The trades and apprenticeships are a focus of Teachers’ Workchoice Day, along with a broad range of other potential career paths. The event boasts an impressive lineup of business leaders. As keynote speaker, Warwick Foy, of Taranaki Futures, will reveal insights into the ‘Build A Bach’ programme, which is successfully building sustainable pathways for priority learners across vocational pathways and aims to retain young people in the province.

Jimmy McGee, Chief Commerical Officer, Trade Me Jobs, will share the company’s market update and hot tips for youth recruitment. Denva Wren, Countdown’s South Island Logistics Manager, will reveal desired attitudes, practical skills and vital attributes required by school leavers to be work-ready. Adrian Watson, City Care HR General Manager, will talk about the industry’s need for talent.

Jan Carter, Careers NZ Career Consultant and Hornby Connect project leader, will share her experience in forming Hornby Connect - a successful example of how education and employment partners can unite to improve career outcomes for learners, contributing to the economic development of the local community and Christchurch City.

Teachers’ Workchoice Day takes place in Christchurch on 29 August at Addington Events Centre.

The event is an excellent form of professional development for secondary school teachers, career advisors and senior management. Registrations close 20 August. To register visit


Notes to editors:
Event sponsors:
Major partner: The Skills Organisation
National sponsor: Careers NZ
Regional sponsors: City Care, Countdown

Workchoice Trust:

Established in 1994, Workchoice aims to bridge the education to employment gap by working closely with schools, businesses and young people, through a programme of unique, practical events. As New Zealand’s longest-standing youth employment charity, Workchoice has worked with 155,000 senior secondary school students to date. As Workchoice Trust celebrates its 20th anniversary, the current youth unemployment crisis, means its work is more relevant than ever.

The Skills Organisation:

The Skills Organisation is the government-mandated and –funded Industry Training Organisation (ITO) for 21 industries, including 11 specialist trades.
The Skills Organisation works alongside New Zealand industries to help people gain the skills they need for development and success in their workplace. It focuses on supporting its industries in developing skills to improve workplace performance by providing training management and support through a range of networks.
Opening Speaker – Warwick Foy, Taranaki Futures
Warwick Foy is the co-ordinator of Taranaki Futures, as well as Head of Student Pathways at Inglewood High School.

Taranaki Futures seeks to understand regional business and industry needs and ensure clear pathways exist and are understood. Warwick will share insights into the Taranaki Futures ‘Build A Bach’ project, which aims to build a sustainable pathway for priority learners across vocational pathways.

• priority learners are groups of students who have been identified as historically not experiencing success in the New Zealand schooling system
• a vocational pathway means a learner has developed the skills and knowledge in areas that employers’ value
The programme provides a guided, vocational programme with emphasis on pastoral care.
An experienced teacher, Warwick has worked in a range of secondary school subject areas and careers information and guidance.

[1] MBIE Quarterly Labour Market Report, May 2014
[2] Statistics NZ Household Labour Force Survey, Canterbury NEET rate (15-19 years) 2014 Q1, against 2013 Q4.

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