Throughout their lives, children and young people will make many different transitions. Deciding to remain in education or take up employment or training opportunities can be one of the most important - impacting long-term social and health outcomes.
Child Poverty Reduction Minister Jan Tinetti (who is also the responsible Minister for the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy) visited an initiative aimed at helping young people to find their future pathways, earlier this month. Taupō Pathways provides young people with the skills and experience they need to transition into meaningful employment, education and training.
Taupō Pathways Manager Gaeleen Wilkie says the organisation started six years ago after recognising there was a disconnect in the Tāupo workforce between young people and employers, “Our young people thought they needed to leave Tāupo to find a good job and our employers were looking for staff outside of Tāupo.”
The team launched the Tāupo District Careers Roadshow - a platform for employers to showcase their sector and for young people to explore career pathways and opportunities within the district.
Tāupo Pathways grew from there and now hosts a range of other programmes covering apprenticeships, professional careers and developing soft skills.
“Our vision is ‘empowerment to employment’. Lack of confidence and knowing what the workplace expects of them are the biggest barriers to successful transitions. We are here to help them every step of the way,” Gaeleen says.
One of the programmes supporting the development of soft skills, ‘Licence to Work’ was visited by Minister Tinetti.
“The data shows that our young people can get jobs but struggle to hold them. ‘Licence to work’ is all about developing those soft skills and expectations in a work environment. It’s now run around the country and is the most robust pre-employability programme in New Zealand,” Gaeleen says.
Another successful programme run by Tāupo Pathways is ’Pathways Connect’ which sees all Year 11 students from the two high schools in Tāupo visit workplaces around the region.
Tāupo Pathways recognises that none of this mahi would be possible without the support of local employers, Gaeleen says. Recognising this, they created a Youth Friendly Employer Award.
“Whether it’s workplace visits or providing 80 hours of workplace experience, we’re so grateful to the employers who are helping us to create career pathways for young people here in Tāupo.
“The award is just one way of showing our appreciation. It’s awesome to see the young people coming through our programme developing. They just need someone to believe in them and guide them.”
Read more about Tāupo Pathways here.