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South Auckland companies get local students on board

South Auckland companies get local students on board

Healthcare Logistics and freight company Ryders Customs & Forwarding are helping to open doors for young people in South Auckland by providing work placements and on-site experience for local school students enrolled in a new logistics course offered by the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT).

Warehouse Manager of Healthcare Logistics, Terry Hamilton, says that there are plenty of job opportunities and apprenticeships in logistics and he sees that the company’s involvement as not just a good community idea, but an important practical step to introducing students to his line of work.

“The distribution of goods is the blood flow of the global economy. It is growing and it’s fantastic that MIT has established a specialised course to get future workers interested as early as school age. It would be good if more businesses adopted a student while still at school. The work experience is as valuable to them as it is to us,” he says.

Terry says that the company wants young people to see distribution and logistics as an exciting future work prospect which offers plenty of opportunity. This is especially true for the young people in South Auckland where the Healthcare Logistics warehouse is based.

“This is a way of getting them on board and showing them what is involved. I tell the students that the orders they are processing could go to their Mums or Grandmothers to keep them alive, that’s the importance of the job. I make them understand that the job, even on a work placement, is a small but critical way of helping others.”

General Manager of Ryders, Mark Ryder, says work experience is “an essential step from school to employment. “Students help to load and unload, unpack containers, learn the structure and systems of logistics and often accompany the driver on the road.”

During their 12 week placement, Mark says students have discovered another world outside school, grown in confidence, got to know the job and its challenges and experienced what it’s like to work in logistics.

Students learn what it’s like to handle the specialised goods. During the day they will unload containers, help with stocktaking, pick up a product from an order sheet, pack it into a box and label it and be part of the important checking system.

MIT’s Programme Leader, Vaughan Lovelock, says the course, which is part of a Manufacturing & Technology Vocational Pathway, was launched last year with a pilot programme for 19 students from four South Auckland schools.

At the start of the course, students learn theory at MIT’s campus in Otara to learn everything from stock management, transport types, freighting goods to theft and fraud in retail distribution.

Students then get sent on work placements with firms such as Healthcare Logistics and Ryders to put their theory into practice. This gives students the opportunity to “lift, pick, pack and place” in the real world. The goal for the Year 12 students is 25 NCEA credits in a specialised field and a pathway to a career in one of the most important global professions.

The end result from the pilot course has seen two graduates go on to a Logistics Diploma Course, one student placed in a supermarket position and 10 returned for a second year half logistics/half business course launched in 2015.

“The input from businesses has been hugely valuable to us,” says Vaughan “They have been very generous and have seen the big picture benefit of taking students into a profession which can be largely invisible.”

Arthur Graves, the Ministry of Education’s Group Manager for Youth Guarantee said of the project: “This sort of collaboration between business and education will ensure that school leavers are highly skilled and ‘work ready’. Relevancy in education is crucial, and can only be achieved when industry are actively involved in supporting curriculum decisions. We are encouraging businesses and schools to source similar partnerships around the country. Learning happens both inside and outside of the traditional classroom.”


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