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Licence to Work gained

Over 250 secondary school students, teachers and employers from around Tairawhiti came together last month to celebrate success in attaining employability skills.

Completing its third year, the Trust Tairawhiti Licence to Work programme acknowledged 93 students who participated this year — 69 of whom graduated and 24 who are continuing their journey to completion. The trust also celebrated 54 local employers who offer opportunities for participants to hone their employment skills.

Licence to Work co-ordinator Karen Fenn was delighted to see the students’ hard work recognised: “Students were courageous, looking their best and full of smiles. Their journey to graduation has been significant and not always easy. I am so proud of their commitment and perseverance to succeed,” she said.

A major highlight of the event was Phil Matthews of Universal Engineering offering two apprenticeships. Theo Grzeda and Michael Moles (both Campion College) received a welcome surprise when Mr Matthews, a supporter of Licence to Work since its inception, made the announcement while presenting certificates.

“I encourage everyone to get behind Licence to Work. It is a great programme developing real skills,” he said. “There is a huge shortage of trade skills in our region and students and employers should be getting behind this initiative.”

Guest speaker at the graduation ceremony was Tauranga-based Jason Whitelaw of Inspiring Excellence. His key messages focused on the adaptability of employability skills as “life skills”, encouraging students to apply these in all facets of their life. He also encouraged students to put challenges into perspective inside a frame.

“The most important thing to put inside the frame is yourself. Have confidence and belief in your abilities to overcome a challenge”.

Trust Tairawhiti economic development general manager Steve Breen wanted to specifically thank employers and participating schools. Without them Licence to Work wouldn’t exist.

“We had 15 new employers join Licence to Work this year so the placement opportunities available to students are going from strength to strength and employers are increasingly using it to employ talent in their business.”

For more information regarding Licence to Work and how to get involved next year contact Karen Fenn: karen@trusttairawhiti.nz

READY FOR THE WORKFORCE: Students celebrate graduating from Trust Tairawhiti’s Licence to Work programme. Picture by Canaan Akuhata-Brown