Prepping our young people for the workforce

Column Articles
Friday, October 16, 2015

Getting that first job after you’ve been in training or study can be a challenging experience.

New graduates eagerly seek work to gain valuable experience while employers often feel reluctant to take on new untested talent.

The holy grail of education is to bridge that gap. Provide more students and apprentices with industry experience, skills and connections so that they become more attractive to employers.

Jobs are out there – we’ve seen 69,000 more jobs created over just the past year on top of 11 straight quarters of job growth, but we’re working on improving young people’s employability.

One way we’re doing that is through trades’ academies – specifically, the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. Trades Academy Students here can specialise in areas such as horticulture, kiwifruit growing, orchard skills, as well as skills in chainsaw safety, business skills, quality assurance, tractor and forklift operations.

The Government will boost Trades Academy places by 600 next year, on top of the 340 announced this year, bringing the total to 6,190 places.

Trades Academies have a strong appeal because learning is directly relevant to their career aspirations. They also have proven a real success in supporting students stay longer in education and improve their results.

A skilled workforce is the engine-room of a thriving economy. Skills academies will go a long way in helping secure both the future of our young people and our region.