The recent inaugural Teachers' Workchoice Day delivered attending educators clear insights and fresh ideas to help New Zealand's youth become better work-ready.
Amongst other 'essentials', holding a full driver's license and displaying good communications skills gives young job seekers in today's market a big advantage to enter any industry.
Both unpaid and paid work experience is also a great indicator to employers of reliability, responsibility and 'willingness to work' – and makes a difference even if the work experience is unrelated to the role or industry sought after. Evidence of working as part of a team, whether in sport, the arts or as part of other 'after school' interests is also valuable.
Over 150 educators from all over the North Island attended the Auckland event, hosted by the Workchoice Trust together with The Skills Organisation. The event will travel to Christchurch next Friday 23 August and aims to unite education and industry in a bid to avert a looming youth employment crisis in New Zealand.
Speakers from a variety of industries, backgrounds and occupations shared their insights and reflected on their own paths into the workforce, before a panel of industry employers shared their specific recruitment opportunities and concerns. Question time from the audience raised some interesting revelations including the closing gap between 'blue collar' and 'white collar' pay scales along with the idea that the main 'client' of the education system is actually employers.
Attending educators were later given the opportunity to gain 'real-life' insights into industry by visiting various industries and workplaces throughout the afternoon.
Amanda Wheeler, CEO of Workchoice Trust says, "Today's event was an incredibly motivating and realistic look at how we can assist our youth into making decisions that will ultimately ensure their employment.
"With youth accounting for more than one-third of New Zealand's total unemployment rate, it is critical that employers and educators are on the same page. We feel that we achieved that today and are looking forward to doing the same in Christchurch on Friday 23 August."
The Skills Organisation chief executive Garry Fissenden advised educators in attendance that tradespeople are in massive demand in New Zealand. "With the rebuild of Christchurch and the solutions to the Auckland housing shortage, there will be plenty of trades jobs for young men and women," Fissenden said.
"Teachers' Workchoice Day provides a perfect opportunity to allow industry to spell out their needs very clearly to educators. It's an extremely important initiative."