education.govt.nz

Students’ horizons widened by e2e

Issue: Volume 99, Number 15

Posted: 18 September 2020
Reference #: 1HABHR

A Ministry of Education initiative set up to give students access to career role models has been a silver lining of Covid-19.

Online education to employment events have allowed students greater access to employers.

Online education to employment events have allowed students greater access to employers.

Digital e2e (education to employment) events were set up as a response to Level 3 and 4 school closures to provide students around Aotearoa with opportunities to learn more about the world of work. The digital approach resulted in barriers to access being removed and promoted greater equity. 

“It’s so much more efficient not having to go into the school; I don’t know why this hasn’t happened sooner,” said one employer in response to the new approach.

Unique pathways

Southland Girls’ High School took advantage of the Ministry’s Digital Connection Event to remotely meet with Tupe Solomon-Tanoa’i, a young professional woman in Wellington.

“Twelve of our students engaged in an online forum and were able to find out about how a person’s career pathway had developed from law to working in government policy,” says Liz Dodds, careers advisor at the school.

She says it was interesting for the students to see that everybody’s story (and career path) is different and unique.

“It made the students look further than just law. They might think they want to study law or be a lawyer, but don’t see beyond that. I think some of them think once they have chosen a career, that’s that – they can’t see the pathway or the progression that is available for them. 

“Tupe trained to be a lawyer and works in policy for government but had also worked in foreign affairs overseas. She was very driven and I think it was her journey that they quite enjoyed,” says Liz.

Distance no problem

While the students were a bit shy to ask questions as it was their first experience in an online forum, Liz says she would repeat the experience. 

“What we found useful was that we don’t often get that calibre of talent to talk to the girls because it’s too hard sometimes because of our location,” she says.

“We know we have to travel and go to places – these things are often in Dunedin or Christchurch and they think we can just pop up. It’s a whole day out of the office to get to Dunedin. I also think people have a mental barrier about coming down here as well,” adds office manager Rachael Smith.

Nationwide engagement

In total more than 340 students and 21 teachers from around New Zealand participated in digital e2e events, involving over 20 employers and multiple different industries and pathways. According to feedback forms, students reported feeling more confident in their ability to pursue their career pathways after the digital programme.

“There were high levels of engagement from students. Their confidence and preparedness for transition to further education or work was enhanced by the ability to connect with, and question, mentors and industry experts,” says Rose Jamieson, deputy secretary parent information community intelligence.  

“Students are eager to continue to develop their skills as part of their engagement with employers, identifying communication, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving as the most useful skills,” she says.

Range of events

 The digital e2e activities included:

  • GirlBoss Edge Programme: Digital Healthcare Challenge
    Connecting 250 young women to healthcare careers and pathways across 10 sessions. The programme enabled students to build employability skills such as communication, networking, leadership, and confidence. Sessions were run over Facebook and included guest speakers and mentors. Students also participated in a self-directed health challenge that was assessed.   
  • GrowingNZ Spotlight20 Pilot Digital Connection Events
    One-off sessions to connect students, teachers and careers advisors to explore different pathways in the primary food and fibre sector. Six sessions were run over a month using platforms selected by the schools (including Zoom, GoogleMeet and YouSeeU) and focused on pathways into various areas of the food and fibre sectors, including science, horticulture, dairy and technology areas of the sector. 
  • Ministry of Education Digital Connection events
    These one-off sessions over Zoom connected students and teachers to a range of different pathways including building and construction, technology, engineering, transport and logistics. The Ministry organised all the employers that participated in the events.

Key insights

Employers were as engaged in the digital delivery as they are for physical events and many employers and industries found it easier because their location wasn’t an issue. 

“It’s a very cool initiative and something I wish I had more access to back in the day as a student,” said Stuart Campbell from Datacom.

“Connecting students with industry is so important because you don’t know what you don’t know. My Year 13 daughter is really worried about what to do next year and the more exposure students can get to industry to see what is out there and what interests them, the better,” said Michelle Pye from the Pye Group. 

The Ministry of Education has developed a set of resources that kura and schools can use to run digital e2e events, which can be found on the Ministry’s website.(external link)(external link)

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

Posted: 9:00 am, 18 September 2020

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