Developing tomorrow’s talent with Work Inspiration

Issue: Volume 95, Number 1

Posted: 25 January 2016
Reference #: 1H9cyi

Young people who experience four or more interactions with employers while at school are five times less likely to be unemployed.

“This compelling 2012 research finding confirms the importance of creating meaningful work exploration opportunities for school students. That’s why Careers New Zealand is proud to bring Work Inspiration to New Zealand after three successful pilots with Westpac, Toyota, and Grow Wellington,” says Careers New Zealand Chief Executive, Keith Marshall.

Work Inspiration is a new, employer-led programme designed to help 13–18-year-old students learn about the world of work, raise their ambitions and aspirations and ultimately become inspired by their future career.

First trialled by Westpac as part of a partnership between Hornby High School, Hornby youth groups, Careers New Zealand and local businesses in Christchurch (Hornby Connect), Work Inspiration is connecting employers with students to give them valuable insights into how a business runs.

Benefits for Business and Students

Westpac Senior Bank Manager Hornby and Selwyn, Rob Hunt, says the beauty of Work Inspiration is it offers benefits for both students and staff.

“Students engage with smart technology so naturally they were able to teach staff some new tricks. In turn, the students were inspired and motivated by their career conversations with staff and the scope of career pathways available in the industry.”

“Already a huge success in the UK and Australia, Work Inspiration helps students build employability skills to set them up for a rewarding career,” says Keith Marshall.

The starting point for a young person’s career journey is the ability to learn about themselves, become aware of their strengths and weaknesses and understand their personality. Work Inspiration helped achieve this for the 11 students who interacted with customers and staff on the branch floor at Westpac. Students improved their sense of self, and as a consequence, were in a better position to think about where they wanted to go.

One student had no idea what she wanted to do with her future, and felt that her career goals were too far-fetched. She learned a lot about herself and how she can work. Work Inspiration made her future seem brighter, she is more relaxed about her career options, she wants to work harder in class and understands that she can start “small” and do lots of different jobs to set her up on her way.

Another student said she used to lack confidence, and was shy and nervous around people. Work Inspiration boosted her confidence, which helped her deliver a presentation speech at the end of the programme.

A huge benefit of Work Inspiration is that it offers students the chance to learn practical skills that are useful in the workplace, like better public speaking and communication, leadership, resilience and how to be more focused with work.

A Westpac employee noticed the evolution of students over the four-day programme. He said that before Work Inspiration, students had a limited knowledge of banking and workplaces. When the students presented their ideas at the end of Work Inspiration, he could see how they demonstrated new knowledge and understanding of Westpac’s business through their ideas.

From a school perspective, a career advisor involved in the pilot said the students returned to the classroom with improved communication and literacy.

The students themselves credited the programme with influencing their career choices and giving them more insight into what they could do for their individual careers or career paths. This included learning more about different school subjects to help them on their journey, the kinds of qualifications they could take when they finish school, and how different job roles could suit their personalities.

Work Inspiration will be brought to New Zealand schools and employers by Careers New Zealand starting in 2016. It supports and aligns with other career transition programmes like Gateway and STAR by helping to connect students from different communities, ethnicities and backgrounds to the world of work.

Rob Hunt said that for Westpac, Work Inspiration was a great way for them to build strong social engagement with the wider community, and he credits the programme with supporting school/employer partnerships.

Further information

Find out how the programme works in practice by visiting link) and be sure to watch the Work Inspiration in Action video. If you are interested in talking to us about how your school could get involved, email or call us on 0800 222 733.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 10:03 am, 25 January 2016

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