By Hayley Gastmeier
hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz

Preparing the region’s young people to step into the workforce was the aim of a two-day seminar held in Masterton this week.

About 20 Wairarapa career advisors and key figures from some secondary schools and tertiary providers participated in the Youth and Employability Passport – Licence to Work (YEP) programme, which provides young people with skills to increase their employment prospects.

Those who participated in the course at REAP House will teach the 12-month programme next year, when it is piloted in Wairarapa.

The primary focus of the programme is the development of skills including having a positive attitude, communication, teamwork, self-management, willingness to learn, thinking skills and resilience.

It was developed over five years in consultation with government, education, businesses and industry groups.

Bringing the programme to Wairarapa was an initiative of Youth Education, Training and Employment community partnership (YETE).

Tom Hullena, chairman of the YETE partnership for the greater Wellington region, said the identified competencies were valuable in all workplaces, and were the skills employers considered commonly lacking in young workers.

“If a young person leaves school and fails in a workplace twice then it’s almost a fifty per cent chance they will be on some form of long-term dependency, and similarly if they leave school and don’t get into work within that first couple of years the stats are about the same.”

Mr Hullena said the skills would prepare young people for life.

“The whole purpose of this programme is creating mechanisms that will strengthen the young person’s ability to be successful in the workplace, both so they can sustain employment but also be beneficial to employers.”

Creator of the course, Shirley Johnson, was in Masterton training the soon-to-be Wairarapa facilitators.

So far the programme has been run out of three regions around the country, with a total participation of 250 young people.

And next year the programme will be run out of seven regions, with about 1000 students on board.

“It’s designed so it can be woven into the school curriculum and it can be delivered outside of school,” she said.

The year-long programme consisted of workshops, with 20 hours of voluntary work and 80 hours work experience.

“What this does is gets schools, community, family, the voluntary sector and the business sector working together to enable young people to build the skills they need to be successful.”

YETE project leader Josie Whaanga said she was excited about the pilot, which she hoped would eventually be on offer region-wide.

She said businesses and education providers would be crucial for the programme taking off.