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New gov't program will help workforce adapt

The new Employability Skills Framework will help develop the workforce adapt with work-ready skills

A new Employability Skills Framework launched by government yesterday presents a real opportunity to solve the growing skill gap, says education and skills trust, COMET Auckland.

Job adverts have been growing at the strongest rate in five years and employers have a growing need for employees with the right skills to start work immediately; yet Auckland has 23,300 (9.3%) young people aged 15-24 not currently in employment, education or training (NEETs), which represents a significant problem for our economy.

COMET Auckland’s Skills Manager, Shirley Johnson, is delighted with the launch of the cross-government Employability Skills Framework. “It is a much needed strategy that will enable everyone to have a part to play and recognises that soft skills help young people adapt in a rapidly changing workforce,” she says.

Across six regions 1,000 students are participating in a Youth Employability Programme (YEP) which is aligned to the framework. This includes fourteen secondary schools in Auckland, and regions such as Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Porirua /Kāpiti Coast, Taranaki and Taupō.
The YEP is a cross sector, business-led initiative, designed to build the skills that are identified in the new Framework. The YEP responds to business and industry concerns that young people may not be developing the soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace. The programme provides an explicit sequence of learning activities to build the competencies business leaders have said they want to see young people display, and a process to assess and record them.

As part of YEP, students are required to complete 80 hours of work experience with an employer and 20 hours of community service, to practice the skills they’re learning from their workshops, in a real world environment.

The Youth Employability Programme was developed by COMET Auckland and its partner organisations, including Cognition Education, for use in Auckland schools and youth service organisations. It is governed by a steering group comprising of partners from different sectors: business partners – Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) Northern, Greater East Tamaki Business Association (GETBA), Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Limited (ATEED), SkyCity Auckland Ltd; government – Ministry of Education (MOE), Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK), CareersNZ, New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), Ministry of Social Development (MSD); careers organisations – Career Development Association of NZ (CDNAZ); and recruitment companies. COMET Auckland chairs the group.

Shirley Johnson, COMET Auckland Skills Manager says:
“Early stints of joblessness can lead to long-term unemployment and benefit dependency. It is essential that we support all our young people into employment early with practical, work-focused programmes within the employability framework.”
“The students using this framework are being equipped with the competencies that employers have identified as being critical to securing and retaining employment,” Shirley Johnson says.
“The programme is a great opportunity for high school and university students and employers to use work-related experiences as learning exercises to develop young people’s work skills. These are competencies that employers value and look for in potential employees,
” Shirley Johnson says.

Shauna Eldridge, Deputy Principal Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate says:
“In a very large number of areas and suburbs across New Zealand, [employability] skills are never taught explicitly at school, but through communities, church, parents, family members. It is unrealistic to imagine that students become work-ready by a process of osmosis. Even for our university bound students we found that they were not work ready.”

Robin Staples, Principal Southern Cross Campus College says:
“For the last ten years we have been working to not only raise student achievement in the basics of numeracy and literacy, but also in their ability to engage with employers”

ABOUT COMET AUCKLAND
As a charitable trust and CCO of Auckland Council, COMET Auckland is uniquely placed to drive change in Auckland’s education and skills system. Taking a cross-sector, helicopter view of our education and skills system, we are able to focus long-term on the Auckland’s learning needs. COMET Auckland initiated the robust testing process that included feedback from over 60 employers and employer groups, over 30 educators and 120 students led to development of the YEP process.

Local Gisborne businesses talk about why they are investing in their local workforce
Click here to watch video

For more information on YEP visit our website here


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