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Finding out where our kids go - release + speech

24 October 2001 Media Statement

Finding out where our kids go once they leave school

A new pilot programme launched today aims to answer the questions, 'where do our young people go when they leave school, and which ones need support to ensure that they get access to further education, training, or a job'.

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey was in Porirua this afternoon to launch the Destinations and Tracking Pilot which is being jointly coordinated by Skill New Zealand and Career Services. He said too many young people fall into a ‘black hole’ once they’re not at school, in training or work. The destinations and tracking pilot programme will help government agencies to ‘get to know’ young people better so that they intervene positively in their lives at the earliest opportunity.

“Helping young people make successful transitions in their lives from schooling, into the worlds of further education and employment is hampered by a lack of information about their aspirations and the barriers to achievement they perceive.

“Household Labour Force Survey results for June show that over 15 percent of people aged 15 to 19 are unemployed. Around 6,000 young people identified themselves as ‘actively seeking work’ but still at school. Given that overall, unemployment has dropped to its lowest point since 1998, these figures are particular cause for concern.

“The Destinations and Tracking pilots being run in Porirua and Christchurch will close the information void on the barriers holding young people back so that more active support policies can be put in place.

“In Porirua the pilot will ask with over 900 senior students from the four local secondary schools about their plans for next year. A further 1,700 students will be surveyed from eight Christchurch secondary schools. CareerPoint (Career Services’ career information and advice freephone service) will follow up with the students next year to ask them what they actually did and provide targeted career information and advice.

“These pilot programmes have been developed in partnership with the Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs. The Government continues to value the relationship we have with the Taskforce.

“Results from this project will be used in schools to enhance career education and will help to identify new ways to assist young people to move into work or further training. A report on the pilot project is due in June 2002 and consideration will be given to a nationwide expansion once this evaluation has been received,” Steve Maharey said.


Hon. Steve Maharey
24 October 2001 Speech Notes

Ensuring young people tap into education and employment opportunities

Comments at the launch of the Porirua Destinations and Tracking Pilot. Pataka Museum of Arts and Culture, Porirua.


Mayor Jenny Brash, my Parliamentary colleague Graham Kelly, and my public service colleagues.

I am delighted to be here with you in Porirua this afternoon. My colleague Graham Kelly continually reminds me that Porirua is often in the position of taking a leadership role.

Today’s launch of a Destinations and Tracking Pilot – one of two pilots that Career Services and Skill New Zealand are supporting in conjunction with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs – is again evidence of Porirua being at the cutting edge in terms of the social and economic development of the peoples of this country.

Towards the end of June this year I announced that the Government, in partnership with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, and following discussions with Mayors Jenny Brash and Garry Moore, would be piloting a destinations and tracking project involving up to 2000 Christchurch and Porirua school leavers.

Christchurch is now underway with their pilot, and today we mark the launch of the Porirua pilot.


Partnership is one of the defining features of these pilots.

At one level this is a partnership between central and local government. Career Services on behalf of the Mayors Taskforce developed the initial proposal for a destinations and tracking pilot for Jobs.

The Mayors Taskforce is a grouping of mayors from throughout the country who have come together to provide a national focus for mayors concerned about the future of work and livelihood in our communities.

In September last year my colleague Jim Anderton and I launched a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mayors taskforce setting out the shared commitment of central and local government to work on reducing unemployment through partnership initiatives.

The Mayors Taskforce is committed to two goals:

 By 2005, no young person under 25 years will be out of work or training in our communities

 By 2009, all people in our communities will have the opportunity to be in work or training

In entering into a partnership with the Mayors Taskforce, codified in the Memorandum of Understanding, central government was committing itself to working with mayors in pursuit of these goals.

Together, in partnership, we are committed to zero waste of our people.

We are committed to closing the divisive and debilitating gaps that have opened up in our society – gaps that have closed appreciably since the Labour Alliance Government came into power, but which still pose a serious challenge to us all – gaps between the skilled and the unskilled, between employment rich and employment poor communities, and between cities and provinces.

We are committed to reducing long-term unemployment.

We are committed to building a working partnership to address unemployment at the local level, through fostering cooperative relationships across all sectors.

Today we stand here – representatives of central and local government – and we say, ‘we are walking the talk’. Today we demonstrate the real meaning of partnership – today we move from important words on paper to practical action.

This is also a partnership between two very high performing government agencies, both of which are represented here today – Career Services and Skill New Zealand. The proposal that I received from the Mayors Taskforce came, as we say, ‘out of season’ – which means it came after we had made all of our decisions regarding expenditure in the current fiscal year. It is to the credit of both Career Services and Skill New Zealand that they were able to find the resources within their existing allocations (and neither organisation could be accused of being over-funded).

I would like to make special mention of one of our Career Services colleagues who is with us today from Te Wai Pounamu – from Christchurch. Judith Backhouse is the Project Manager for the Destinations and Tracking Project and has been involved in this project from the outset.

The model that we are piloting in Porirua and in Christchurch, and which we launch here today, is based on an Activity Survey carried out annually in the United Kingdom. Judith had first hand experience with this model as a Careers Advisor in the UK, and when approached by the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs saw the opportunity to develop a similar model for piloting in New Zealand.

And this is a partnership with schools, and with teachers, and with pupils, and with parents. And through all of you, it is a partnership with your community.

Today, our focus is on helping young people make successful transitions in their lives from schooling, into the worlds of further education and employment.

We have identified a “black hole” that too many young people fall into between school and later life –they are not at school, they’re not in training, they’re not in work.

Household Labour Force Survey results for June show that over 15 percent of people aged 15 to 19 are unemployed. Around 6,000 young people identified themselves as ‘actively seeking work’ but still at school. Given that overall, unemployment has dropped to its lowest point since 1998, these figures are particular cause for concern.

The solution is providing a variety of accessible pathways to work and further learning with an appropriate level of support and linkage.

Progress is being made: Government initiatives are strengthening pathways for students - from school to tertiary education, from school to the workforce, and from the workforce back into the education system.

Good results are being achieved with current investments in smooth transitions for young people, these include programmes like: Gateway, Youth Training: Rangatahi Mäia and Tupulaga Le Lumana’i, and Modern Apprenticeships.

Destinations and Tracking Project

This Government wishes to further increase these programmes’ effectiveness, by ‘working smarter’: having better information on young people’s aspirations and needs.

There is an information void, which is one of the challenges that must be overcome on the way to this goal.

Systematic data on young people’s goals and their destinations when they leave school is not available. Some schools track aspirations and goals for their own use, but others don't at all. There is no substantial or centrally held data available to illuminate this “black hole” that some young people fall into.

We need to ‘get to know’ young people better: more about what they think, what they aspire to, and the barriers to achievement they perceive. This information is central to shaping quality initiatives.

The Destinations and Tracking project being launched today in Porirua is one of the initiatives helping close this information gap and ensure young people have the skills to tap into the education and employment opportunities the knowledge society offers.

This project will track the destinations of a sample of school leavers. It is a collaborative initiative between Career Services and Skill New Zealand, and is supported by the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs.

At this point, it is a pilot project, working with over 900 students at Porirua's four secondary schools and more that 1,700 students from what I understand will now be eight Canterbury secondary schools.

Porirua schools involved in this project are:
 Aotea College
 Bishop Viard College
 Mana College
 Porirua College

In the first stage of the project each Year 11 to 13 student at these schools will complete an Aspirations Questionnaire indicating their plans for next year.

This is more than an information gathering exercise: CareerPoint (Career Services’ career information and advice freephone service) will complete the second stage next year. CareerPoint's advisers will follow up with the students, and ask them their actual destination outcomes. They can then identify and deal with the student’s career information and advice needs.

It is hoped that the results from this project will be used in schools to enhance career education, and help to identify possible tools and approaches that can be used with young people.

The data will provide valuable information to a wider range of agencies working with school leavers who have not entered ongoing training or employment. A report on the pilot project is due in June 2002.

So let me again congratulate everyone involved in this pilot project to date.

Most of all congratulations to the community of Porirua for once again taking the lead in piloting a project that I am absolutely confident will be a success, and will benefit members of our wider community of citizens throughout Aotearoa.


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