Speedmeeting your way to work

Issue: Volume 98, Number 21

Posted: 6 December 2019
Reference #: 1HA3fN

Throughout August and September, more than 500 students took advantage of the opportunity to find out more about trades and services careers at 14 Speedmeet events throughout the North Island and Christchurch.

Got a Trade? Got it Made! Speedmeet events are one way of connecting young people to the world of work. The events are a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and industry training organisations (ITOs), local councils, chambers of commerce and businesses.

“Nearly 1,700 matches were made between young people and employers. These matches resulted in further conversations between employers and young people about possible careers or pathways, as well as employment opportunities – this is a huge achievement!” says Rose Jamieson, Acting Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Education. 

“For students who did not match with an employer on the day, they were able to see and connect to a range of different pathways through their conversations with employers. The young people get important experience in the first steps to employment, learn new skills, and gain valuable interview experiences through practice.

Rose says there were inspiring moments at every Speedmeet. For example in Christchurch, one Year 12 student who had her heart set on becoming a mechanic, arrived on her own – despite the fact all her classmates had pulled out.

“A Year 12 student from Te Puke was initially scared and shy about coming to the Speedmeet. After he was interviewed by the Navy, he came over and gave his teacher a huge hug and said: ‘Miss, I am going to put in an application tonight!’ His teacher burst into tears. She had worked so hard with him and he pulled it off!” says Rose.

Success for Kamo students

Six senior students from Kamo High School attended a Speedmeet at Whangarei Boys’ High School, with one student already gaining a pathway full-time employment.

The students were keen to find out about trade opportunities, as well as career and work opportunities and said the event gave them a good perspective of industry/work requirements. Two students from the school’s Tourism Management Academy – Izaiah Te Waiti (Year 13) and Zoe Palmer (Year 12) – interviewed particularly well, says teacher Ira Seitzer.

“The day following Speedmeets, Izaiah was offered a 30-day trial position on Fulton Hogan’s road management team. He has been given time to attend school between workdays so he can finish NCEA Level 3 and is on-track to complete his secondary qualification,” she says. 

“Izaiah has acknowledged that this is not necessarily his ‘life-time job’, but right now he is extremely happy to be ending his secondary schooling knowing he has safely secured an employment opportunity. He wasn’t particularly confident about his future, but this year has been a turning point for him, having attained Level 2 and very shortly reaching Level 3. His positive personality, excellent grooming and punctuality – to name a few of his attributes – shone through for him at Speedmeets. I haven’t seen him so happy and proud as that Monday when he came into class after having spent his first day with Fulton Hogan. The sense of achievement and relief was enormous,” says Ira. 

Natasha McDonald is operations manager for Trafix Manpower Ltd who provides work experience for students like Izaiah, who are contracted to work for Fulton Hogan; an opportunity which may lead to full-time employment. 

“The Speedmeet is an opportunity for employers like Fulton Hogan to identify potential employees who are motivated and interested. When they recognise something in a young person, they come to us and we provide the training they need for the job. We employ a lot of school leavers and students in school holidays,” she says.    

Year 12 student Zoe Palmer attended the Northland Speedmeets event with the intention of seeking an after-school job. She was short-listed for an interview at a large supermarket, and also had a request for her CV from a local not-for-profit organisation. 

“Zoe has increased her network of potential employers and is currently in a position of having to choose where she wants to be,” Ira explains. 

Speedmeet opens doors

Employers at the Northland event included representatives from supermarkets, the Armed Forces, IDEA Services, and major infrastructure companies. Ira says that while she had not attended a Speedmeet before and didn’t know what to expect, the event delivered on many fronts for her students. Students liked the interview/discussion timeframes which allowed them to introduce themselves, discuss opportunities and ask questions.

“Students are encouraged and supported to prepare or update their CVs to a professional standard. The learning involved in this alone is enormous! Building confidence and going into the meet with a positive learning attitude were all attributes discussed prior to our attending. Gaining exposure to such a wide range of vocational opportunities is wonderful,” Ira says. 

Watch this space

You can expect to see more of these types of events over the next 18 months. The Government recently committed additional funding so that schools, community partners, employers, industry groups, industry training organisations, vocational education providers, and other organisations can develop events that bring together young people and their whānau with industries and trades. 

Got a Trade? Got it Made! 

According to the Industry Training Federation, there are currently 137,000 trainees and apprentices in formal on-the-job training at 25,000 workplaces. With more than 50,000 workers needed in the construction trade alone, the Speedmeet initiative aims to reposition trades as a lucrative ‘earn while you learn’ pathway with excellent prospects.  

This sector provides jobs for 155,000 New Zealanders, or seven per cent of the workforce. Options include apprenticeships with businesses in the automotive, transport, logistics, industrial textile fabrication and extractive industries.

What are Speedmeets?

Speedmeets are specific events which provide an opportunity for employers and young people (potential employees) to find out more about each other.

Students meet employers from a range of trade and service industries and have ‘speed dates’ with them – a ‘speedmeet’. Each speedmeet is six minutes long. While short, it provides enough time for both the student and the employer to work out if they would like to know more. If they both do, it’s a ‘match’ and a follow-up meeting is arranged for them to continue the conversation about potential pathways and employment opportunities.

Businesses participate from a range of industries and the numbers are growing. Industries include construction, automotive, tourism and hospitality, engineering, manufacturing, marine, fisheries, primary, and retail.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 10:38 am, 6 December 2019

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