Licence to Work ‘real deal’

'The most exciting tool I have seen that actually works': Karen Fenn.

'The most exciting tool I have seen that actually works': Karen Fenn.

EDUCATION TO EMPLOYMENT: Year 12 student Hunter Shields pictured on work placement at Universal Engineering Ltd. Hunter completed a Licence to Work this year with dream results – an official apprenticeship offer at Universal, starting this summer. Picture by Cinema East

Activate Tairawhiti’s Licence to Work (LTW) programme is taking students from placement to employment.

After more than 20 years working with youth in employment, councillor and Activate Tairawhiti Licence to Work co-ordinator Karen Fenn says LTW is the real deal.

“I am passionate about this programme because it is the most exciting tool I have seen that actually works.”

LTW celebrated a successful second year with 75 graduates in October from 11 different local schools and training providers.

Among them was Gisborne Boys’ High School student Hunter Shields, who completed his placement at Universal Engineering Ltd before being officially offered an apprenticeship starting this summer.

“I decided to do Licence to Work because I was interested in metalwork. I had some experience with it at school and decided to get some proper work experience, so I went to Universal,” he says.

“What I like about Universal is just the atmosphere. The people are good and friendly, and all the machines are nice to work on.

“I am Year 12 and I do not really like school, so I wanted to get a trade. What I want to do when I leave school is machining — I like the precision side of it.”

LTW came out of the regional Youth Employment Strategy as a solution to bridging the gap between education and employment.

It is funded by the Todd Foundation and managed by Activate Tairawhiti. It is also an action under the “growing our people” section of Te Huarahi Hei Whai Oranga, The Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan.

Aimed primarily at 15 to 18-year-olds, students participate in 18 hours of employability and work-readiness sessions, 10-20 hours of voluntary work with a recognised voluntary organisation and at least 80 hours of work placement with local employers.

The combination of work placement, volunteering and employability skills training enables youth to gain and potentially retain meaningful employment, and make informed decisions about the future.

Along the way students are assessed to ensure they are work-ready by the time they graduate.

Hunter worked primarily under Universal Engineering Ltd co-owner and operator Phil Matthews and his team.

“As a business the programme appeals to us because it gets future employees ready for work,” says Mr Matthews.

“The community service and hours they do in the workplace, really gets them motivated and sets them up for the future.”

Universal is one of 56 Tairawhiti Gisborne employers on the LTW roster. Between that and this year’s 75 graduates, the programme’s impact has essentially doubled in its second year of operation.

For Mr Matthews it’s a no-brainer.

He says Universal recognised “quite a few years ago” that to grow their skill base they needed to train.

“We are a Gisborne company, we do work all around New Zealand but we like to employ local people.

“We are training between five and seven apprentices every year and part of the pathway into an apprenticeship is the work experience through the LTW programme.”

The process of placement to employment is a dream result for Hunter.

“I am stoked to have this opportunity.”

A Licence to Work video featuring Mr Matthews and Hunter can be found on Activate Tairawhiti’s Facebook page.

Activate Tairawhiti’s Licence to Work (LTW) programme is taking students from placement to employment.

After more than 20 years working with youth in employment, councillor and Activate Tairawhiti Licence to Work co-ordinator Karen Fenn says LTW is the real deal.

“I am passionate about this programme because it is the most exciting tool I have seen that actually works.”

LTW celebrated a successful second year with 75 graduates in October from 11 different local schools and training providers.

Among them was Gisborne Boys’ High School student Hunter Shields, who completed his placement at Universal Engineering Ltd before being officially offered an apprenticeship starting this summer.

“I decided to do Licence to Work because I was interested in metalwork. I had some experience with it at school and decided to get some proper work experience, so I went to Universal,” he says.

“What I like about Universal is just the atmosphere. The people are good and friendly, and all the machines are nice to work on.

“I am Year 12 and I do not really like school, so I wanted to get a trade. What I want to do when I leave school is machining — I like the precision side of it.”

LTW came out of the regional Youth Employment Strategy as a solution to bridging the gap between education and employment.

It is funded by the Todd Foundation and managed by Activate Tairawhiti. It is also an action under the “growing our people” section of Te Huarahi Hei Whai Oranga, The Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan.

Aimed primarily at 15 to 18-year-olds, students participate in 18 hours of employability and work-readiness sessions, 10-20 hours of voluntary work with a recognised voluntary organisation and at least 80 hours of work placement with local employers.

The combination of work placement, volunteering and employability skills training enables youth to gain and potentially retain meaningful employment, and make informed decisions about the future.

Along the way students are assessed to ensure they are work-ready by the time they graduate.

Hunter worked primarily under Universal Engineering Ltd co-owner and operator Phil Matthews and his team.

“As a business the programme appeals to us because it gets future employees ready for work,” says Mr Matthews.

“The community service and hours they do in the workplace, really gets them motivated and sets them up for the future.”

Universal is one of 56 Tairawhiti Gisborne employers on the LTW roster. Between that and this year’s 75 graduates, the programme’s impact has essentially doubled in its second year of operation.

For Mr Matthews it’s a no-brainer.

He says Universal recognised “quite a few years ago” that to grow their skill base they needed to train.

“We are a Gisborne company, we do work all around New Zealand but we like to employ local people.

“We are training between five and seven apprentices every year and part of the pathway into an apprenticeship is the work experience through the LTW programme.”

The process of placement to employment is a dream result for Hunter.

“I am stoked to have this opportunity.”

A Licence to Work video featuring Mr Matthews and Hunter can be found on Activate Tairawhiti’s Facebook page.

Since Licence to Work began in 2017:

  • 177 students have participated
  • 108 students have graduated, with 41 still completing the programme
  • 48 secured employment (including two apprenticeships and two cadetships)
  • 17 students are in training or higher education
  • 2 referrals to Workbridge for supported employment
  • 41 employers participated in 2017, increased to 56 employers in 2018
  • 10 providers participated in 2017, increased to 11 in 2018.
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