School supports workforce programme for students

09 March, 2018

Waikato students who have been given the chance to work alongside businesses are now making better choices about how to move from school into the workforce.

It's also provided them with a higher sense of value on their secondary school education.

Cambridge High School was one of 22 schools in the Waikato benefiting from the Secondary School Employer Partnership, launched by Smart Waikato in 2016. The partnership aimed to help students make solid school subject choices which will see them successfully move into further education, employment, improve achievement and retention.

The programme was expected this year to reach about 3000 Waikato students along with 170 employers and 100 teachers. Following last year's success, which saw over 100 Cambridge High School Year 10 students and their teachers engage with a range of employers, the school embraced the opportunity to continue its involvement for a second year.

Cambridge High School deputy principal Carol Webb said the partnership initiative fitted well with the school's core purpose to develop young people who can navigate efficiently and competently into life beyond school.

"Students need to see the relevance of what they are learning, and by working alongside business, this becomes obvious. Our Year 11 students who participated last year were overwhelmingly positive about the experience," Webb said.

Student Hinewai Knowles said the experience showed which jobs could be ideal for her.

"It sparked an interest in engineering, and this is a change from what I had been thinking," she said.

A visit to a dairy farm for Troy Bartlett, now in Year 11, made him "think seriously about possible jobs in this industry".

For Josh Stannard, it helped to hear from people in the industry and how they apply science in their jobs.

"For me, it reinforced my interest in science," Stannard said, "I have set my heart on a career in the medical sciences, and now I am more determined."

Smart Waikato chief executive Mary Jensen said it was encouraging to see widespread backing for an initiative providing a framework for employers to engage directly with a secondary school.

"Thanks to support and belief in this initiative thousands of more students will make meaningful connections with employers helping them for the future," she said.

 - Stuff

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