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New job plan for our young

Former Makoura College principal Tom Hullena is the chair of The Youth Education, Training & Employment Community Partnership. PHOTO/FILE

By Emily Norman
[email protected]
College students will be given a leg-up into employment with a new initiative aimed at making kids more employable and better equipped for the Wairarapa workforce.
The Youth Education, Training & Employment (YETE) Community Partnership, chaired by former Makoura College principal Tom Hullena, is soon to be launched and is hoped to bridge the gap between school leavers and employment.
A big focus of the initiative is to equip school students with skillsets that were matched to the demands of the Wairarapa job economy, and to encourage employers to give students a “real go” at work experience early on.
“Lots of young people are leaving school and are possibly not being well-prepared for the next steps of their journey, particularly their work journey,” Mr Hullena said.
“You can lecture the young people about the necessary skills they will need to be ready in the workplace, but it isn’t until they’re actually in the workplace that they can develop the skills which will help them reach their highest employment potential.”
He said research showed that young people who did not go straight into training, education or employment after school, were more likely to spend longer periods on a range of benefits than those who move directly into the workforce.
YETE is made up of Wairarapa principals, careers people from schools, WINZ, Careers NZ, the Ministry of Education, councillors, tertiary providers, and Wairarapa employers “with a willingness to help in this space”.
The partnership has six goals which will help bridge the gap, including ensuring students have access to work experience.
Other goals are strengthening opportunities to engage youth and families in career and pathway planning, and building upon collaborative partnerships between school, tertiary education, employers, and local bodies.
Mr Hullena said there was currently no sole agency fully responsible for closing the gap between what happens to young people when they leave school and the next steps in their lives, “so it’s quite crucial that we [YETE] draw the line between the various dots, various organisations that exist in our system, to better ensure our young people are more ready to go into further education or straight into work”.
Wairarapa REAP education manager Tracey Shepherd said YETE would be the crucial link between what employers need versus what is coming out of Wairarapa schools.
“The idea is to reduce the number of kids leaving school either doing nothing, or leaving the region really,” she said.
“I mean kids will go to varsity out of the region, but the ones that do stay, we want them to be really clear about what they’re doing and give them good opportunities.”
YETE was recently given a kick-start thanks to recent funding from organisations including Trust House, Masterton Trust Lands Trust, Masterton District Council, and Greytown Lands Trust, amounting to about $80,000 which would help fund activities and a coordinator for the initiative.
“Now that we’ve got some funding we can really crank it up and get something moving,” Mrs Shepherd said.

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