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From school programme to full time job

From school programme to full time job

At only 19 years old, Cameron Martin has quickly progressed through the ranks at The Warehouse in Lyall Bay, Wellington and is now a full time Loss Prevention Officer (LPO), and proud of it. His success in the work place is partly thanks to The Warehouse Red Shirts in Schools programme he completed when still at school.

The Red Shirts in Schools training programme is run in partnership with industry training organisation, ServiceIQ, and helps start students on a career pathway to the retail sector.

Students in the programme can earn sector-related credits toward their NCEA and a Vocational Pathways Award in the Services Industries. Importantly, they also get a chance to see what work is like in a real life environment. Last year 2, 500 students participated.

Paul Walsh, Executive GM Community and Environment at The Warehouse explains why the company has such extensive involvement with schools: “The Warehouse has a huge commitment to supporting communities throughout New Zealand and one of the areas we focus on is youth employment. The Red Shirts in Schools programme involves over 2,000 young people throughout the country each year and really helps to prepare them in the transition from education to employment either as part of developing a continuous pipeline of talent for the company or as a source for other employers.”

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.”

The 10 week Red Shirts programme allowed Cameron to get hands-on work experience and earn NCEA credits as part of his school study at Wellington College.

Cameron’s enthusiasm and ability to pick up on training was quickly identified by The Warehouse and he was offered a night job two days a week after school. His shifts fast started increasing and by the end of the year Cameron decided he wanted to take on a full time job.

“When I was at school I loved sport and played football, I was happy but I was just not academic,” said Cameron. “The Red Shirts programme made me realise there were lots of other things I could do really well, and when I started doing my nightshifts I discovered that I was good at dealing with customers. I found being on the shop floor was rewarding as I could help people out and it was social.

“One of the people that trained me had also come through the Red Shirts programme so she understood that I was not that confident and needed help. But what I really liked was that I was being treated like an adult, I was being paid for my work and I was working hard. It made sense for me to use this as a way to start my career.

“And now, as a LPO I have further opportunity to prove myself. My Mum has been supportive of my choices and she and my older sister are proud of what I have done.”

Cameron says he is happy at The Warehouse and hopes to be there for a while so he can earn money for a gap year before returning to build his career.


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