A New Zealand first project of getting young people into work just took a big leap forward with the launch of the Kapiti Youth Passport to Employment initiative.
A group of 40 employers, education providers and community networks met to launch the project which aims primarily to provide young Kapiti school leavers a Youth Passport to Employment.
A lack of co-ordination between providers along with skepticism by employers that young people seeking jobs were not work ready were identified as serious hurdles for young people gaining employment on the Kapiti Coast.
A project team (The Youth Pathways to Employment Strategy Group) was formed and has been working since then to forge an inclusive partnership between businesses in the region, the council, education providers and central government agencies to provide a framework for managing employment pipelines and pathways.
Ann Verboeket – Chair of that Strategy group said the challenge was to make something happen.
"As employers have said, they want less talk – more action. It has been a long but inclusive process and the Youth Passport is the first cab off the rank."
Ms Verboeket said the group made good on their promise to bring a collaborative approach to strategies which would assist employers and be uniquely Kapiti. The Kapiti Youth Employment Strategy Group announced a new partnership with SKILLS and launched a Youth Passport to Work booklet that will serve as a practical guide for job seekers and employers.
"Think of it like a Drivers License – with a number of tasks that have to be completed, assessed and signed off. These tasks have been carefully assessed against national and international employer focused guidelines and include skills that can be acquired or tasks that can be taught over a period of time and signed off either by educators, community organisations, colleges – or a combination of all."
The next major launch will be the formation of a Foundation under the umbrella of the Kapiti Coast Chamber of Commerce. The Foundation panel is likely to be made up of five people (two education and three employers) who will meet three times each year to assess and support youth applying for the passport.
Ms Verboeket said The Youth Passport is just the beginning – "it's a tool to support a journey – an excellent way for employers to reduce risk and have confidence in their choices."