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Ready for work

Trust House CEO Allan Pollard, YETE graduate Cleveland Conaghan, and Copthorne Solway Park operations manager Leeann Campbell. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND



Pockets of young people around the region are becoming work-ready thanks to a youth employability programme Licence to Work.

Facilitated by Youth in Education Training and Employment (YETE), the programme connects Wairarapa employers with college students willing to try their hand at work experience in a chosen career.

Former Makoura College student Cleveland Conaghan shared his success story recently at a ‘Business After 5’ event at the Horseshoe Bar in Masterton.

Cleveland, now aged 18, was one of six students at Makoura College who were offered a placement in the YETE programme.

He had an expressed passion for hospitality and a dream of becoming a flight attendant.

He was placed at Copthorne Hotel run by Trust House, where he worked one full-day shift once a week for two terms, gaining hands-on experience and skills in his chosen career path.

He now works there fulltime.

“I’m there five days a week now as a receptionist at the front desk,” he said.

“The Licence to Work programme gives students a good opportunity to see what it is like to work in certain industries, and helps gives them a shoe-in to the workforce in the future.

“I personally find it hard to go into a job and go through all the procedures like interviews, CVs and all of that.

“But this way of just getting in there and doing the work – it just gives you the confidence to actually do the job.”

Leeann Campbell, operations manager for Copthorne, said from the moment Cleveland began working for her, she was blown away by his passion and dedication to the work experience role.

“The YETE programme and the school will find the right placement fit based on the student’s interests and what they want to learn.

“So, the students already have some idea of what they are coming into.”

She said Cleveland’s attitude and work ethic was so “exceptional”, that he was trusted to greet an Australian tour company, “which has extremely high standards”, to the hotel.

“I can actually leave the hotel if Cleveland is working, and I know everything will be fine.”

She said a lot of the time young people were viewed by employers as “having no experience” or viewed as being unfit for the role.

“But, young people’s attitude towards work is great if you let them be themselves and use their own initiative.

“I’m looking forward to the next batch [of YETE graduates],” she said.

For more information or to become involved with YETE, visit www.yete.nz.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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