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Kawerau: Work Experience gets Glowing Reviews

Work Experience gets Glowing Reviews

29 September 2014

The Work/Life Pathways Programme has been getting glowing reviews from students and employees alike as the first group of students go through the programme and get a genuine experience of industrial work in Kawerau.

The Programme is the brainchild of the Community and Training Group within Industrial Symbiosis Kawerau. Their vision was to provide High School students with an insight into work available in local industry in the hope that they would see a future for themselves in that area.

Deanne Butler, Chair of the Community/Training group and also a Director at SLH Contracting, explained the rationale behind the programme.

“We have a young and hard-working population here in Kawerau and it is one of our biggest resources. We saw a gap - there seemed to be students who were really motivated and bright, but hadn’t considered local industry as an employment option. They thought their options were perhaps simply to leave town and join the armed forces or go on a training course for a something that has limited job prospects here in Kawerau.

“We saw an opportunity that could benefit local industry by introducing new talent and also benefit the students by getting a taste of local real-life work. The programme is an opportunity to give back to the community that we are part of, and also harness the future potential of our own youth right here in Kawerau,” Ms Butler said.

Although the students were matched with a role and an industry partner, they still went through a realistic process including providing an application form and CV, job interview, inductions, health and safety training and even Personal Protective Equipment for work.

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Faylene Tunui, Kawerau District Councillor and another member of the ISK Community/Training group, added to this approach to ensure the sustainability of the programme.

“It was really important to the Group that the options we presented to students were sustainable – it needed to be supported by the family, school and wider community. It was a significant commitment of time and effort by the students and we needed to make sure that they had the full backing of the whānau from before Day One,” Ms Tunui said.

“So we instituted an “uncles and nephews” programme to run in parallel to the actual work experience. We have high-profile and successful mentors from around the community who have good relationships and are in the homes of these students and keeping everything on track.

“It is all about the wraparound support because it is family at the end of the day who need to get the students out of bed, to and from work, and on track to finish the programme. It also opens the eyes of more people than just the students directly involved so that whānau can make good decisions for themselves,” Ms Tunui said.

A group of six students have been recently been matched with mentors and industry partners and ISK expects this number to grow following the success of the programme to date.


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