Passport to work initiative launched

From back left: St Kevin’s College principal Paul Olsen, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, Waimate...
From back left: St Kevin’s College principal Paul Olsen, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, Waimate Mayor Craig Rowley, Waitaki Boys’ High School rector Darryl Paterson and Waimate High School principal Janette Packman. (Front, from left) Caleb Jopson (St Kevin’s College), Lily Stock (Waitaki Girls’ High School) Jacob Pledger and Thomas Fielding (Waitaki Boys’ High School), Molly Hurst (Waitaki Girls’ High School) and Waitaki Girls' High School principal Tracy Walker. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN.
Employers and educators have joined forces in the Waitaki and Waimate districts to help young job-seekers enter the workforce and employers with the appointment process.

The "Work Ready Passport", a community imitative developed by the Waitaki and Waimate District Secondary-Tertiary partnership group, was launched at The Business Hive in Oamaru this week.

The booklet has been designed to facilitate more effective communication between employers and young would-be employees.

While at school, or soon after leaving, young people would start working on the passport's checklist.

"Employers are looking past simply the NCEA results, especially if they are a small employer," St Kevin's College principal, and lead principal of the initiative, Paul Olsen said.

Many young people entering the workforce for the first time did not understand the expectations of full-time employment, Mr Olsen said.

Once pupils have completed their passport's checklist with details of work experience, references, driver's licence, team work, life skills, personal wellness, academic achievements, financial management and health and safety at work, it could be submitted for approval.

After being assessed by a panel they could then be awarded a "Work Ready Passport Certificate".

"Our plan around this was to be able to find something that would allow our young people to be able to gain some skills to be able to head out into the workforce knowing that our employers were happy - and preparing them in an appropriate sort of way," Mr Olsen said.

It would benefit all of the districts' young people, from those going into a trade right the way through to those continuing on to tertiary education.

The initiative is also supported by the Waitaki and Waimate District councils, Otago Chamber of Commerce and community groups such as Rotary who will provide access to practice interviews.

"Through the work experience element and practice interviews, employers are welcome to be more involved, which will also help build a relationship between schools and employers," he said.

"We are also hopeful that by developing relationships between youth and employers we will retain more employees in the area.

"There are a lot of opportunities with good firms providing good training and career development locally. Moving away is not the only option."

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher and Waimate Mayor Craig Rowley officially launched the passport and commended the work of local employers and educators in developing it.

The Waitaki District Secondary Schools Secondary-Tertiary Partnership includes Waitaki Girls' High School, Waimate High School, St Kevin's College and Waitaki Boys' High School, Ara Institute of Canterbury, North Otago Literacy, Youth Service and Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu.

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