Bridging the skills gap with Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga

In 2008, People Central began a long term project of filling the skills gap in Hawke’s Bay and simultaneoulsy raising the prospects for young people to forge meaningful careers and futures in the region.

In conjunction with Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga and Youth Transition Services (YTS), we piloted a scheme aimed at giving young people with little or no idea of where their working lives might begin the kind of thorough people assessment processes normally reserved for high flying exceutives.

Using OPRA’s Occupational Interest Profile (OIP) as the basis for the assessment, we worked closely with YTS through a series of one-to-one sesions, uncovering what each individuals unique strengths were, the kind of careers that would play to those strengths and the educational or vocational training that would be required to get them to meet their potential.  Work placements were also sourced and arranged to give participants a flavour of what working life in their preferred occupations might look like.

The pilot scheme underwent a rigourous validation at it’s close, with general feedback being extremely positive on the impact the process had on individual participants self-esteem, optimism and direction-setting, with several participants continuing their education with a specific career goal in mind and trying out work placements in Hawke’s Bay businesses.

In 2009, we look forward to rolling out the programme to a larger number of participants in partnership with YTS & Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga.  Regardless of current economic cotractions, increasing the number of young people who see a positive future for themselves in the region can only bring benefits to Hawke’s Bay businesses who still struggle to find skilled staff, the participants themselves and the community as a whole.