Sita has completed her Licence to Work alongside her other school qualifications.
But having a qualification only gets you so far. Employers are just as interested in your employability – your work readiness, self-management, and attitude – as they are in the piece of paper you hand over at an interview.That’s where the Licence to Work fits in.
“Employability has always been a sticking point with employers,” says The Skills Organisation Workchoice manager Shaun Gear. “We’ve found that even people who have university qualifications struggle to get jobs because they lack the ‘soft skills’ such as social skills, communication, problem solving and decision-making that makes them employable.“With Licence to Work we are giving young people the understanding of what they need to do and what skills they need to have to be work ready, which is what employers want.”
Originally developed and successfully trialled in Auckland by education and skills support organisation COMET, the Licence to Work programme has been brought to Taranaki through collaboration between Taranaki Futures and The Skills Organisation, which aims to help New Zealanders gain the skills needed to succeed in the workplace.
Schools and employers in Taranaki are getting on-board and the programme will be rolled out in 2017.
Initially the programme will be open to students who are in the Gateway programme. Each student will have a Licence to Work workbook, which sets out the key competencies of nine employability skills and nine work readiness skills required to be employable. These range from attitude, communication, willingness to learn and resiliency, to work ethic, technological skills, safety, health and wellbeing, having a driver’s licence and being drug free.
Over the course of the programme the students attend workshops with facilitators, do 20 hours of community work, such as taking a sports team or volunteering, and have 80 hours of work experience (one day a week). The work experience employer assesses the student and gives feedback on the competencies
Once a student has achieved the key competencies they are issued a Licence to Work certificate, which can be presented, alongside a qualification, when they apply for a job.“It’s important the employers lead the way on this so they are prepared when prospective employees come to them with a Licence to Work certificate,” Shaun says.
“This has become embedded in Auckland with big corporates and smaller businesses getting involved and seeing the value in it across all sectors.
“Taranaki has a wide range of industries – tourism, hospitality, primary industries, and trades – that will benefit from having this programme in the schools.”