Pilot programme helps Tararua youth find direction

Posted on 2016-11-04 by CM

Article from Tararua's online newsletter - Talking Tararua 


A new ‘youth initiative’ pilot programme being run between Tararua Alliance and Dannevirke High School may help more young people into employment. Earlier this year the Ministry of Education approached Tararua Alliance to see what they could do with local schools, to help pupils get work experience, and gain some direction as to what they wanted to do when they left school.

Dan Gerrard, Tararua Alliance Operations Manager says they were keen to help and as a result were put in touch with Dannevirke High. Since then he has been working closely with Lloyd Parkes (Student Support) at the school, on developing the programme. “He was looking to place kids who weren’t involved with the Gateway Programme, and who weren’t sure what they wanted to do when they finished school. One thing we decided between us was rather than try and develop a programme, that had all the answers before the kids started, we’d do a trial with one of the boys. Since then we have had one student who comes in every Wednesday and I float him around between all our crews, so he is getting a lot of experience on different aspects of our business. He’s really enjoying the work experience and doing well. He is now going to work fulltime for us throughout the Christmas holidays and I’ve made a commitment to him and the school, that at the end of January I’ll give him a job interview. If all goes well I’ll then sign him up on the Modern Apprenticeship Programme where he will basically receive a paid free education, and earn as he learns.”

Mr Gerrard says in their industry it is really hard to attract skilled people, and that he struggles to find skilled staff. By targeting schools and building a relationship with them he believes it may be possible, to bring in two or three students a year who will eventually become employees. “Because we find it hard to attract skilled workers I have a mindset now that I have to grow them, and you might as well start them off from that school age, year 12-13. So I’ve got some ideas of where I’d like this programme to run and I want to try and get this developed into a formalised programme.”

Mr Gerrard says since they took on the student they currently have, they have had enquiries from other students who want to know more about it. “It would be nice to create opportunities for these kids moving forward, even if they come out here and just do their work experience with us, it’s going to be an experience for them and hopefully help them in the future.”

Dan Gerrard

Dan Gerrard, Tararua Alliance Operations Manager