Rangatahi transitions from education to further training and employment

RWPs focus on the need for clear pathways from school to a variety of training options and meaningful employment

All RWPs raise challenges and opportunities for supporting rangatahi in their transition to further training and employment. Related to this is the need to improve careers guidance and the importance of preparing all young people for satisfying and rewarding working lives. As the number of young people of Māori and Pacific heritage grows, it is increasingly important to support their transition. For iwi, hapū and whānau Māori, education and training are seen as the key to correcting disparities by elevating wages and providing options for whānau to move into fulfilling employment.

Several RWPs advocate for whānau-centred provision of careers guidance that reflects the different backgrounds and needs of students, first-hand job experience to inform rangatahi decisions, and pastoral care where needed to support rangatahi. While RWPs note that careers information, clear pathways and transition support are important for people of all ages as they reconnect into work and training throughout their lives, most had a particular focus on rangatahi.

This aligns with the broader Government focus on child and youth wellbeing

Rangatahi transitions also feature in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. One plank of the strategy is children and young people having the knowledge, skills, resilience and encouragement to achieve their potential and enable choices around further education, volunteering, employment and entrepreneurship. This is part of the framework for achieving the Government’s vision for the strategy that New Zealand is the best place in the world for children and young people.

To achieve better employment outcomes for young people, central government agencies seek to support them to make informed education, training and employment choices and experience the smoothest possible transitions. Central government agencies have committed to improve brokering of employment opportunities and careers assistance, improve the quality and effectiveness of pastoral care and mentoring programmes, and increase opportunities for young people to gain the skills they need to transition out of compulsory schooling and into further education, training or employment. Agencies have identified collaboration across the education, welfare and employment systems as key, alongside the need for partnership with Māori and communities.

Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy(external link) — Child and Youth Wellbeing

Work is underway by agencies to provide more information, options and support for young people

National Careers System Strategy

The TEC is responsible for leading development of a refreshed National Careers System Strategy in collaboration with partners and system stakeholders. The strategy will deliver a system that provides information, advice and guidance to support all New Zealanders to make careers decisions and transitions. This is due to be delivered at the end of 2022. RSLG concerns about the lack of consistency in careers advice and inequities in provision are reflected in the themes being considered as the strategy is developed, particularly the need to lift capability across the careers system and establish a central coordination function. The TEC has begun to seek feedback from RSLGs for the refreshed strategy.

National Careers System Strategy(external link) — Tertiary Education Commission

Preparing All Young People for Satisfying and Rewarding Working Lives

Long-term Insights Briefings are future-focused, exploratory documents (not policy papers) that provide information about medium and long-term trends, risks and opportunities that may affect New Zealand and New Zealanders.

MBIE, MoE, MSD and the Ministry for Women (MfW) have drafted the first Long-term Insights Briefing (LTIB), Preparing All Young People for Satisfying and Rewarding Working Lives. This topic is a focus for several RWPs, particularly the need for pathways into sustainable employment. The LTIB explores possible future directions for education and training system reform to reduce the flow of young people into limited employment and to create clearer pathways from limited employment into sustainable work, with key areas of opportunity grouped across 3 life stages:

  • learning, engagement and attainment from the start of schooling
  • preparing to find and secure employment
  • building resilient connections to the workplace.

The LTIB was released for public consultation in September 2022. RSLG members and co-chairs have provided valuable input and central government agencies are grateful for the time committed. The LTIB is now due to be presented to Parliament. The final briefing will be a resource with information, analysis and policy options to help Government and communities respond more effectively for youth at risk of limited employment.

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples is will also lead an LTIB that focuses on ‘Improving Pacific Data Equity: Opportunities to Enhance the Future of Pacific Wellbeing’.

Long-term Insights Briefing: Preparing All Young People for Satisfying and Rewarding Working Lives(external link) — Ministry of Education

The NCEA Change Programme and development of a Vocational Entrance Award

The importance RSLGs have placed on training and employment pathways matches the feedback to MoE as part of the Kōrero Mātauranga and the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Review. MoE is currently implementing the NCEA Change Programme, with one of the changes focusing on clearer pathways to further education or work.

This includes the development of a Vocational Entrance Award (name provisional). Achieving the Award will demonstrate that a learner has undertaken initial learning valued by industry, employers and tertiary education organisations (TEOs), and is ready to transition into higher-level vocational education, including apprenticeships. The high-level design of the Vocational Entrance Award (name provisional) has been developed and preparations are underway for testing prototypes in 2 industries with a very small number of schools and kura in 2023.

In 2016, MoE developed the Employability Skills Framework, which identifies soft skills or capabilities most desired in young people by employers. Employability skills build on key competencies in the New Zealand Curriculum to help students understand how these competencies ‘look and feel’ in the workplace and better prepare to transition into work. While workplace competencies are best developed in authentic contexts, the framework provides a range of ways to contextualise learning and introduce the workplace into the curriculum.

MoE is also enhancing the Vocational Pathways to improve its usefulness as a navigation and planning tool for schools and foundation tertiary providers.

Vocational education and training pathways(external link) — NCEA Education

Employability Skills Framework(external link) — Youth Guarantee

Place-based programmes to support rangatahi into further training and employment

Several RWPs have identified the need for place-based programmes to connect rangatahi to jobs and skills training and support their transition into employment.

The Youth Employment Action Plan emphasises the importance of place-based programmes for rangatahi to support them into further training and employment. Central government agency programmes, such as Pae Aronui (TPK) and He Poutama Rangatahi (MSD), provide funding for local organisations, including iwi, to deliver tailored programmes that improve the education, training and employment outcomes for 15 to 24 year olds, often including pastoral care and wrap-around support (funding opportunities are identified below).

Many RSLGs are already working with central government agencies and drawing on current foundations, including the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ). The MTFJ is a nationwide network of Mayors aimed at improving youth engagement in education, training and employment. They have recently agreed to enter a formal partnership with MSD, resulting in a new $14 million investment in the programme for the next financial year.

The Education to Employment brokerage initiative led by MSD focuses on connecting ākonga to the world of work and helping young people to be informed of opportunities and pathways. The initiative aims to build strong local relationships with businesses and schools through brokers, located in regions right across the country, who act as a liaison between schools and employers to highlight local trades and vocational opportunities for students.

MSD also invests in Youth Service provision, which supports taiohi (young adults) into education, training and work-based learning. Taiohi are provided intensive, tailored support to identify their goals and find the best path to reach them. Youth coaches are employed by a mix of community organisations, iwi/Māori, private training institutions and 2 Work and Income In-House sites. The programmes focus on 3 target groups including youth not in education, employment and training, for 16 to 17 year olds who are either not in education, training or employment or are at risk of dropping out.

Although centrally funded, many rangatahi-targeted programmes are tailored to the particular needs of rangatahi in the eligible regions. For rangatahi Māori, it is important to acknowledge the crucial role that Māoritanga plays in successful participation in the workforce.

The Youth Employment Action Plan

Mayors Taskforce for Jobs(external link)

Education 2 Employment(external link) — Elite Management School

About youth service(external link) — Youth Service Ratonga Taiohi

Central government agencies have identified opportunities to collaborate with RSLGs to support rangatahi transitions

  • Recognising the call across multiple RWPs to raise the visibility of regional employment opportunities through better connections between schools and local employers, central government agencies encourage RSLGs to alert employer networks to existing programmes looking for more employer participation. One example is Inspiring the Future, where role models talk to students in schools about their jobs.
  • Central government agencies can provide updates, via the MBIE secretariat, on work relating to rangatahi transitions that is particularly relevant to each region. In many cases, officials or representatives from funded initiatives may be able to present at RSLG meetings on relevant work.
  • Central government agency funding is available in some regions for regional solutions to improve the employment outcomes of rangatahi aged 15 to 24. Pae Aronui (TPK) provides funding for innovative community-based programmes for rangatahi Māori in South Auckland, West Auckland, Hamilton, Porirua and the Hutt Valley.
  • MSD’s He Poutama Rangatahi programme also has funding available for community-based programmes (see Annex 1). Whakawātea te ara Poutama, launched in September 2022, is a stream of He Poutama Rangatahi that focuses on supporting young people aged 15 to24 who have additional barriers to education, employment and training because of criminal activity and/or gang affiliations. It provides funding for community-based programmes in South Auckland, West Auckland, Northland, Bay of Plenty and Waikato.
  • One of the potential future directions identified in Preparing All Young People for Satisfying and Rewarding Working Lives is identifying and scaling up what works, especially provision outside central government agencies. RSLG insight on successful local initiatives will be extremely valuable. 

Inspiring the Future Aotearoa(external link)

Pae Aronui(external link) — Te Puni Kōkiri

He Poutama Rangatahi(external link) — Work and Income

Annex 1: Additional information on central government agency programmes