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NEET youngsters face a bleak future

Jenny Salesa – 

Our children’s future is hampered by poor careers advice.

At the moment, 87,200 young Kiwis are ‘Not in Employment, Education or Training’ (NEET). Young people in South Auckland are more likely to end up as NEET than elsewhere.

A McKinsey & Company international research has found that once young people are out in the job market, only 45% feel that they made the right decisions about their courses of study.

Only 42% of employers thought young people were coming into the workforce adequately prepared with the right skills.

Development opportunities

In our rapidly changing world of work, it is more important than ever that young people are given every opportunity to develop the wide range of skills and attributes that will serve them well throughout their working lives.

Done well, careers advice provides the information, support and experiences that unlock the potential of our young people.

But often, this is still seen as just an add-on to teachers’ overall responsibilities within schools. Careers advice gets delivered by overstretched teachers and the careers resources at schools may be out of date.

Uncertainty around what the world of work will look like in the coming decades is greater than ever and the job of guiding our kids into well-chosen careers must be an integral part of our education system.

Labour’s commitment

Labour is committed to making sure our young people get the best start in life.

To help them in the transition from school into apprenticeships, work or further education, we will (a) ensure that every student has their own, personalised, career development plan (b) professionalise careers advice and integrate it into learning. Every high school will have highly trained, skilled careers advice staff and (c) develop partnerships between schools, businesses and training providers to provide young people with hands on experience in schools encouraging flexible approaches like the ‘Gateway Programme.’

This will mean that every high school in this country will have its own highly trained, skilled staff, working in partnership with education, industry, and training providers to support students from day one – guiding them properly through their decision-making about future careers.

Careers Advice will be integrated into the curriculum as a core part of the mission of our public schools.

Personalised Plan

Every student from Year 9 onwards will have a personalised plan for their future career which they can develop as they move through schooling and ultimately into further work and training and more young people will get hands on experience of the roles and industries they want to be a part of.

This will mean expanding programmes like Gateway.

Once fully operational, this Programme will cost around $30 million a year to deliver.

There is expected to be a phasing-in process, so that these costs would not all occur in the first year of a Labour-led Government.

Some of the resources to deliver this would come from the existing investment in school careers advice services, which amounts to around $5 million a year, and from redirecting funding from other parts of school-to-work transitions allocations that, historically, have been underspent.

Our Careers Advice Programme is also anticipating contributions from the private sector and industry training providers, as we build a new partnership in careers advice services together.

Jenny Salesa is elected Member of Parliament from Manukau East and Labour Party Spokesperson for Employment, Skills and Training.

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