In 2014 I pledged to become part of a conversation in New Zealand and Australia that targeted youth employment. How as a collective industry we could support both educators and business in closing the gap between expectation and reality.
Most employers that I have spoken with over my 20 years in the recruitment industry tell me that there is a widening gap between what they want as an employee and what they get...and it gets more noticeable when the age range from 16 – 25 applies for work.
There are a number of factors that can cause this issue such as environment, social hardship, location, generational unemployment or low education....but at the end of the day both the employer and employee need each other. Business needs people and people need work!
In 2015 I joined a steering committee, based in Auckland, whose focus was to address the soft skills that our youth were missing to succeed in the workplace.
The YEP: Licence to Work builds on a 2013 study of youth employability in Auckland by COMET Auckland and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, which identified the lack of employability and work readiness skills as one of the main reasons for youth unemployment.
Over 2015 and 2016 YEP was run as a pilot in several Auckland schools and supported by local business. This programme gained traction in other regions as it success spread and the feedback from all 3 parties – School, Students and Business began to see how it was changing the view of the world of work but also the importance of a good consistent education.
In early 2017 a national employability framework was launched from a cross-sector group of government and business that has developed and endorsed an Employability Skills Framework.
What this means is that there is now recognition for a well defined employability frame work to be introduced to the school curriculum.
The Youth Employability Programme lead by COMET Auckland is a cross sector, business-led initiative, designed to respond to business and industry concerns that young people may not be developing the soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace. The programme provides an explicit sequence of learning activities to build the competencies business leaders have said they want to see young people display, and a process to assess and record them.
Who can get involved?
YEP: Licence to Work is designed for all young people; however, it is of particular benefit to:
young people transitioning directly into the workforce from school or training
young people who are on vocational pathways: transitioning into training or trade apprenticeships
young people who are not in education, employment, or training
individuals returning to the workforce.
YEP can be delivered by any organisation working with young people – for example, secondary schools, tertiary institutions, youth service providers, iwi or community organisations. The programme works best when several organisations in a community work together with business, to collaborate on training and mentoring and to find work placements for students.
Applications have now closed for 2017, but send in your interest for 2018, and we can organise training and advice to start building a foundation for successful employability transition in your area.
For more information please contact Fiona Harland Hawkes Bay Regional Coordinator
Or COMET Auckland- Shirley Johnson for all other regions.