By: Sue Dudman

100% SWEET co-ordinator Jason Shailer aims to get school leavers into employment with better life skills.

The Work Ready Passport initiative being rolled out in Whanganui aims to get school leavers prepared for employment.

100% SWEET co-ordinator Jason Shailer says about 600 young people leave school every year in Whanganui.

Of those, about 30 per cent go to university and about half do not finish their tertiary training.

“Industry has identified that many students are lacking in life skills when they go into the workforce.

“Through the Work Ready Passport we hope to address that gap. It’s not about the technical skills of a job but the life skills that it’s important to be able to demonstrate to employers.”

The passport covers personal wellness, life skills, communication, academic achievements, managing your money, being drug free, work experience, ability to work as part of a team, understanding health and safety at work, and licences held.

When students have completed the workbook, they will be interviewed by the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce. Successful interviewees will receive a Work Ready Passport that can be shown to potential employers. If a student fails, Mr Shailer will work with them to address any concerns.

“The ultimate goal is to make our community better,” Mr Shailer said.

“It provides some reassurance for employers that the kids have been deemed to be work ready by their peers in the business community.

“The Work Ready Passport has been introduced in some other provinces so it’s an advantage that it is recognisable if someone goes for a job in another area or an employer has an applicant from out of town.

“The big thing I’m asking from employers is opportunities for paid or unpaid work experience for students that I can co-ordinate for them. If a kid does work experience, they will get a scorecard from the employer which gives them some feedback and identifies any areas that they need to work on.”

The roll-out of the initiative has been fairly low-key so any issues can be ironed out, with the aim of making it available to all secondary students in Whanganui in 2018.

Whanganui Chamber of Commerce chief executive Marianne Archibald said she was excited to be part of the Work Ready Passport initiative.

“It’s a way to upskill our community and make it easier for school leavers and for employers to find good staff,” Ms Archibald said.

“Even at a senior level, people can interview really well but may not be the right person for the job. This helps students and employers find the right fit for them.

“The chamber has asked that the new online version of the passport includes digital literacy requirements which will be another benefit to employers.”

Mr Shailer will speak about the Work Ready Passport at the Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast meeting at 7am on Tuesday, September 12. To book a place at the breakfast, contact Ms Archibald at ce@whanganuichamber.net.nz.

Employers who would like more information about the Work Ready Passport can contact Mr Shailer, phone 021 068 3057 or email sweetwhanganui@gmail.com.

Source: Wanganui Chronicle

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